Mariners Analysis

Thursday, July 31, 2008

M's strike out again

I predicted on this blog a week ago there would be little activity for the M's at the deadline. I didn't expect much based on our interim GM, lack of talent on the team and past history at the deadline.

The Rhodes trade was a no brainer. We all knew he made perfect sense to be moved, and he was. Give the M's credit for having a pulse.

Washburn was noted as being a pitcher that was oft-talked about but when push came to shove no one wanted to give anything of significance for him. The M's are stupid to have not traded him when they did. By assuming the only team who showed a willingness (Yanks) will casually pick him off waivers is risky, risky business. Don't be shocked when Washburn clears waivers, but don't be surprised to hear no one is taking on his contract because we are in a new month.

Ibanez was also a long shot. We all know the club over values its gritty veterans and were going to need to be blown away to trade him. They weren't and they didn't.

That's it. One minor trade and some talk. The worst team in the AL had a chance to use the trade deadline to make improvements and they chose to pass.

Did we hear rumors of the M's shopping Lopez? Yuni? Anything that required creativity and forward thinking beyond shopping the usual veterans with short contracts?


In this day and age when news is leakier then ever, we heard crickets from the Mariner camp beyond the usual quick fixes. How about floating a Brandon Morrow name out there to see what it would bring back? Am I advocating trading him? No. But I am advocating learning what the worth of your players truly are.

Who were the Mariners targeting from other clubs? Who did they go get?

The Mariner brass stood in front the cameras and said everyone on this team was expendable if it made the team better.

Today we see the results of their action.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trade Washburn now!

A number of writers have jumped in on the Mexican standoff. Some believe the Mariners have every right to stand up to the mighty Yankees and should hold firm. Just because the team is far and away the worst in the AL doesn't mean it has to act like the farm system for the AL East. Or so the thinking goes.

Here is what's wrong with that argument.


What Lee Peler... Pelaa... Pelahughalophus errrr our GM is missing is the value the Yankees are already offering by agreeing to take on the Mariners salary obligation. Many fans think the Yankees need to offer up a serious prospect like Gardner or Melky to make this worth while for the club.

But they already are. What the Mariners should be doing is dancing in the aisles over ridding themselves of Washburn with the knowledge they have $14 million back in their pocket!

What would the Mariners receive for Washburn? Whatever $14 million can get you. A revamped outfield, a new first basemen, a new starting pitcher, a car for Chuck and Howie... whatever the team wants. Even in todays world, $14 million gives you a lot of flexibility. If nothing else, you could use that money as your "Latin bonus fund" and go wild on a few guys. The Yankees are literally giving you multiple prospects by offering to take Washburn off your hands.

If the team thinks Washburn will be easily picked up off waivers in August, put down the crack pipe and get some fresh air. Every day that clicks off the calendar is reducing the impact a guy like Washburn can provide. In August the Yankees might get Hughes (and Wang in Sept) back- maybe they don't bite on Washburn. And teams like the Cardinals are much less likely to take on $10 million in salary for next year when they are only getting 4-5 starts this year.

Trade Washburn now. Don't think about it. Just do it.

The Mariners continue to show why they are the worst run team in baseball.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ibanez replacement

I've noticed recently a trend. If Willie is actually not playing and gets inserted late in a game as a pinch runner (like last night) he is often moved to LF and Ibanez is benched. The obvious plan is to upgrade the outfield defense.

The first question that comes to mind is why did it take so long? It's such an obvious move you wonder why the M's weren't doing it years ago.

The second question is why now?

Ibanez has always been terrible in LF defensively. He was awful last year, and the year before. Why all of a sudden, for the first time since he joined the Mariners, is Ibanez suddenly being replaced in LF?

I wonder if the recent trade discussions has anything to do with it. Do you think the team called up organizations like Arizona and were shut down when they wouldn't entertain acquiring him because of his defense? Do you think teams said "we like his bat but he can't field his position any more" or "he is only a DH" at this point in his career? I know this may not be a consensus for every team, but it's certainly possible some bright teams are being brutally honest behind closed doors and telling the M's they have a really crappy LF on their hands who is all bat and no glove.

I'm wondering if perhaps this led to the organization viewing Ibanez differently. If this has been discussed else where or we already know the answer, please send me a link as I'd love an explanation. For now, I'm just guessing as to why the light bulb went off after being dormant for so long.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joba Chamberlain will pitch tonight

Will Brandon Morrow?

For those that think Morrow can be a successful starter, would you like to ask the Yankees if they are happy with the decision to start Chamberlain?

Do you think the Giants are happy Lincecum is a starter, or do you think they would prefer he be a set-up guy or closer?

We have heard from multiple sources there is disagreement within the Mariner organization on whether Morrow should be groomed for a starters role this season. I will submit any baseball executive (or fan) within the Mariner organization who believes Morrow is better served shoring up the bullpen is displaying irresponsible behavior and is unfit for office.

If you believe the 8-9th inning in any Mariner game this weekend is more important than the 2009 starting rotation, you are an idiot.

Trade Rumors

As expected the annual hype about possible Mariner trades is in full bloom, despite the fact rarely even one tenth of the rumors ever pan out. The biggest thing keeping the Mariners in the rumor mill is mostly due to the Yankees.

If NY were in first place, I doubt we'd be hearing anywhere near the current interest in players like Washburn. The fact the boys in pinstripes are currently chasing two teams in their own division and face the very real fact the Twins OR White Sox could own the Wild Card makes them a little desperate (and should be making every Mariner fan smile for obvious reason).

Say for example the current rumor of Cano for Kemp/Lowe actually took place. If Pelekoudas was smart, he would be offering Lopez and/or Vidro or Yuni as a solution to the new found hole in the Yankee infield. A lot of scenarios that could involve the Mariners will spring up if any of the major trades involving other teams and the Yankees take place. I hope our GM is talking with Cashman every day trying to get in on the latest trade possibilities that are about to become real.

So here's a recap of what we know is taking place right now:
  • The Yankees are 100% certain to make a move. Too many teams between them and the playoffs; they seem dead set on making changes.
  • Washburn most likely to be traded. He doesn't have any fan appeal and Howie and Chuck will support a trade that saves them money and creates the appearance of action.
  • Ibanez isn't going anywhere. A good GM would explore it, but the team will ask for the moon and other GM's aren't that stupid.
  • Rhodes is still an option to be traded, but other lefties like Sherill are getting all the attention. If Rhodes is moved the return will be so nominal it will hardly register on the excitement scale.
  • Lopez and/or Yuni aren't going anywhere barring a huge deal between other teams. This only reinforces why the current team can't be trusted this winter as both should be actively shopped right now. The fact your not hearing much about either is unfortunate.
  • The Mariners aren't going to get excellent prospects from the Yankees without throwing money into it. The teams not going to shed salary AND get prospects. The Yankees are not the idiots the rumors would make them appear.
No one is getting traded over the weekend. I suspect many of the teams on the fence are waiting to see how the weekend series go and teams like the Braves will jump start the process when they finally make a move. It's like a series of dominoes and by Tuesday the first one will have been knocked over. How many more fall depend on the size of a trade. A big one will guarantee action for Mariner players.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Casual fans get reminded of Bavasi mess

When beat writers and columnists write about the teams future, they tend to get carried away on options that are actually obtainable. For example, many casual fans might get the impression that Washburn's recent success has created a market. Read enough of the PI and Times and you might think the teams going to be a big player come the trading deadline.

And then that world clashes with reality.

Exhibit A in this alternate universe reality check is reports Washburn MIGHT get us a Kei Igawa or something of that ilk. Of course even the most casual of fans know to turn their noses at that thought!

It helps to keep guys like Washburn in perspective. The timeline might look like-

1) Washburn is signed by Bavasi for four years and $37 million. The next highest offer is for 1/3 the money and two years
2) For the first two seasons, Washburn is completely untradeable and a poster child for ovepaying for mediocrity
3) Washburn generates modest interest in a pitching-poor market when the remaining money owed Jarrod goes from "Zito-esque" to simply ridiculous
4) Washburn now enters the territory where he is exchangeable for other teams mistakes

In other words, instead of being completely untradeable enough time has gone by that the money owed might (i repeat MIGHT) generate enough interest to get a team to try to dump some crap on us.

That is what the Bavasi era has brought us. A series of maybe trades that will generate little in return.

That is how this team spent $117 million and has so little to show for it.

As I've said multiple times, don't expect much activity or return next week. Regardless of what espn or the Times tries to tell you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who will be traded?

With the deadline fast approaching, and the Riggleman era looking more and more like the McLaren era, the team is going to have to make a move shortly. There is no way the team can continue to send out the same collection of players as it marches towards 100 losses after canning its manager and GM. Changes have to be made, if only for appearances sake if nothing else.

Other than the Sexson firing, which might never have happened if Ritchie hadn't thrown a fit, we haven't seen significant player moves since Bavasi's removal. Lee is going to want to show his potential bosses he can be a GM, so let's look at what we know for certain is at work here:
1) The team wants to show the fans it's doing SOMETHING
2) The interim GM wants to show SOMEONE he is trying to do SOMETHING
3) Bedard's not going anywhere
4) Chuck and Howie will have a major say in any player movement

I submit those are four things we know for sure are true between now and July 31st. Something will happen, but it will have to involve Chuck's blessing and it won't involve Bedard.

Raul is the face of the franchise, according to Chuck and Howie. The biggest surprise about Ibanez is simply that he hasn't been extended already. Who would have thought Raul would be heading in to the off season as a free agent? Clearly something is amiss... either Raul won't sign or team management isn't... no, that can't be right. Regardless, Raul isn't going anywhere. Chuck won't approve it.

The smart move is to dump him. He suffers a lot from the Ryan Franklin syndrome. Even when he doesn't give up runs he loses. Eventually the team needs to move him if for no other reason he never wins any games. Casual fans think Washburn has made a change or is pitching better. He didn't and he's not. He is still the same pitcher that should be making 1/10 of what he's being paid. That's all. It's impossible to believe a team has actually made an offer and the team has turned it down. Chances of moving: Extremely high. (If Washburn is still on the team, it meant no one was willing to part with anything and he may clear waivers and still be moved before September.)

No one would ever trade for him, and he will likely remain with the team the rest of the year. His option won't vest and he's not throwing a fit like Sexson over not playing. Logic says if the team was going to release him it would have happened already.

Not going anywhere. Has value but team has no replacement. Would be shocked to see him go, but all bets are off next year at this time (doubtful he will resign here)

Team should be actively shopping, but teams aren't interested (for all the obvious reasons).

Team should be calling the Dodgers 15 times a day. Highly unlikely he will be moved, but he should while he actually has value.

Under normal circumstances would be certain to go. Lack of trades this year has me wondering how many teams really want to trade for a pitcher as specialized as Rhodes.

Not going anywhere.

That's it. I'd be surprised if anyone else is traded. Can't see Reed going anywhere, Clement etc... The most likely to leave is Washburn, and that is 100% contingent on some team actually wanting him and his contract.

The team is in a tough spot. They want to make a move, but the moves are all painful. It's what happens when you are one of the worst teams in baseball. No one wants the players you would be willing to give up, and your situation isn't improved by having an interim GM.

The other factor coming in to play is the large number of teams still competing for a wild card but not many moves have been made. When the Brewers acted, the Cubs immediately reacted. The AL has been quiet, and teams haven't felt the need to one-up their rivals. A few trades that altered the landscape would really help the M's cause and might contribute to some actual interest rather than the casual calls they've received.

I don't expect much to happen between now and next Thursday, but I do know Morrow will be available if any save situations do come up...

Morrow was available if needed

If any of the Seattle fans who attended last nights game were wondering, Morrow was available if needed to save the game. Therefore, you don't need to feel bad about the team losing, because our "save" guy was ready just in case we actually needed a save.

Don't worry about next year. That's a long time from now. The important thing for this franchise, right now, is to keep it's bullpen in order. You can't expect a veteran coaching staff like the Mariners have to figure out a plan if Morrow was moved to the rotation. It's just too hard on everyone, so it's best to stick with the status quo.

So get your tickets to tonights game, and maybe, just maybe, you'll get to see Brandon Morrow pitch.

Unless Willie and Cairo are both playing, and then you probably won't.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More on why the Mariners are screwed with Morrow

Lots of emails on the Brandon Morrow situation. Do you leave him in the closers role or send him somewhere/anywhere on the planet now to start figuring out how to pitch as a starter (basically undo a lot the things he's been taught while being a 1-inning pitcher)?

Here's the biggest fly in the ointment for the Mariners plan to work.

Innings pitched.

Let's say you buy the crazy Mariner logic that Morrow saving 1-2 games a week for the rest of the season is more important than anything that could happen next year and beyond (what some fans refer to as "the future"). And let's say we accept the idea Morrow will be magically ready to start in 2009 and will be effective (what some fans call a "pipe dream").

How long will you let him pitch? August 1 or 31st, 2009?

Your prized arm, who will be starting his third season as a Mariner in 2009 will have to carry a significant pitch count limit. There is no possible plan that could realistically see him exceed 175 innings pitched next year. So even in the best case scenario, where Morrow is exceedingly effective and regularly pitches 6-7 innings a start, he'll be shut down before the team reaches September. The only thing that would save the club from having to make the hard decision on when to shut him down will be injury or ineffectiveness. Hardly the scenarios you hope for if you envision Morrow helping the club win next year. (that future thing again)

Last year the Mariners made Morrow pitch in Spring training, the entire 162 game schedule and then play winter ball. If the Mariners insist on repeating this awful treatment again don't be surprised to hear the word "dead arm" next year.

The ONLY logical, reasonable move for the Mariners is to start stretching out Morrow RIGHT NOW. As a Mariner, in AAA, AA, whatever. He needs to start learning to pitch more than one inning and he needs to learn when and how to throw other pitches while going through a lineup.

Let Fields, Lowe, Putz and whomever close out games this year and beyond. The Mariners could have Fields signed and pitching right now but are letting a few dollars delay his professional development.

It will be interesting to see how Morrow's future plays out, but every day the club delays his transition makes it harder and harder to see him being an effective starter for the Seattle Mariners.

Even Steve Kelley is noticing...

In a some what shocking development, Steve Kelley of the Times wrote an article that was dead on- link

It's about time a more prominent local writer began hammering the M's for their ridiculous lineups. Anyone who reads the local team blogs knows hardcore fans have been tearing their hair out watching the lineups being run out there. Cairo, Willie, Joh, Burke et al are simply embarrassing for a team spending over $100 million. Never has so much resulted in so little.

It's quite obvious when the worst team in the AL still draws 100k+ fans in a weekend series the gate is not being solely determined by wins and losses. Rather, the sun and beer have more to do with the fun being generated at Safeco, so why not start looking seriously at the future? When even Steve Kelley is noticing your flawed plan, the rats have long jumped ship.

Still, while Kelley occasionally wakes up and notices the game being played I'm still not sure where Baker stands- latest blog

In attempting to explain the differences between RRS and Morrow, I readily admit Geoff is in a no win situation. It's a little bit like having your debate team tasked to defend Bush's energy policy. You struggle to come up with a coherent argument.

Even so, gems like this don't help any-
"Until Putz is ready, which may not be until mid-August, you need a competent late-innings guy out there."

Strike one.

" would be in an uproar if this team were to keep blowing late-inning leads, especially after making them sit through the first 2 1/2 hours or so."

Strike two.

"Not many options for the ninth besides Morrow."

Strike three.

I like Geoff Baker and love his blog. He really knows how to stir the pot when it comes to generating controversy and I begin to think more and more he writes stuff just to increase interest in his posts. But I am also getting concerned on his learning curve. I really thought he would be more open to ideas after a disastrous winter.

Quick recap. Over the winter Baker said:
- Oakland would be bad because everyone at espn said so
- Texas sucks, because they always suck
- Defense is overrated and Ibanez is fine in LF
- Mariners never have to rebuild because they have money (dollars = reload)
- Vidro is a proffessional hitter who has adjusted to the league and will be productive
- The Mariner offense will be fine because we lost Guillen but the drop off to Wilkerson will be slight and everyone else is the same, therefore the offense is fine
- McLaren deserves to be the manager because last year was not a good time to judge his actions and now he has his staff and his players so let him play the year before we judge
- Seattle will challenge Angels for division
- Pro-Bedard stance, almost to an extreme
- Bedard is an ace, and when you have an ace you don't have losing streaks
- Bedard is an ace who makes the entire pitching staff better
- Bedard is an ace who makes the bullpen better
- you get the idea...

For a writer who really couldn't have been more wrong about the season he sure takes the teams side over and over. It's refreshing to have a counter argument and I don't want him to parrot everything LL and USS Mariner prints, but I also don't want him to mislead casual fans who read the Times at lunch.

The Mariners completely screwed the pooch on Morrow. The people who follow the team closely saw they were screwing it up and complained loudly while they were doing it. Continually trying to prop up whatever poor argument the team might float out there is not doing anyone any service.

Cleveland just took two of three from the team. Morrow was a non factor. How about more articles that state the obvious, and less looking like a debate challenge?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

M's deserved to lose game

It's not often I can say a team deserved to lose a game, especially one with my favorite pitcher on the mound. But the lineup our manager ran out on to the field was so poorly thought out and so terrible I fear it sends the wrong message to the team.

Here's a look at the lineup last night against Cleveland with Felix on the hill-


Take any list you want to put together with whatever scouting/numbers system you choose to use and the four worst hitters on this team are the same- Cairo, Johjima, Burke and Willie in whatever order you want. (Vidro would be just above these guys)

After coming off the All Star break, with every player rested and ready to go, our Front Office managed to put in our 3rd string catcher while simultaneously sitting our two best prospects currently on the team- Reed and Clement.

Instead of keeping even a slight eye to the future of the team, the two players with the most question marks sit on the bench while Willie and Cairo collect useless at bats.

Who cares if Reed and Clement are left handed? Do you think the team cares that Ibanez can't hit right handers worth monkey-poo but all of a sudden "stats" matter for the kids?

I'm glad Felix got the win, but honestly I don't want this team to be rewarded by continually putting absolutely terrible lineups on the field.

If you disagree, then I think we should all kindly tell you to go to hell when you complain about the offense collecting 3 hits when a real pitcher is on the mound...

BTW- Cleveland looked TERRIBLE last night.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don't expect much change

Trade Bedard, get rid of Beltre, dump Vidro... writers, fans, bloggers alike all talk about possible changes the Mariners could do before years end.

I've been saying all along don't expect much.

Consider the recent talk of trading Ichiro and compare with Mariner actions-
  • Signed Johjima to a 3 year extension despite terrible play and aging pattern of 32 year old catchers
  • Let Sexson play terrible baseball for a year and half before finally releasing him for "body language" issues and not for being the worst first baseman in the game
  • Still carry Vidro
  • Hit Vidro 4th
  • Play Willie reguarly
  • Play Cairo at all
  • Still let Ibanez "roam" LF
We could go on and on. And now we should consider trading our best every day player? Consider something the Mariners could have done after dumping Bavasi (finally).

Interview a GM candidate.

Does it matter they won't make a final decision until fall? Is there a rule in baseball they can't start the process now?

Of course not. Instead of getting some informed information from potential GM's the team continues to agonize making the most mundane decisions. Remember when they wouldn't even interview Dusty Baker when he was available back in the day? That mind set is still evident today.

Consider another simple plan. Cut Vidro.

It's really that simple. But the team won't do it.

So why in the world would we expect the team that does nothing to actually make a smart decision on Bedard, Ichiro, Beltre ect...??? We don't trust them to make smart moves, and frankly the more non-moves the better until someone who knows something about baseball is in place.

Ichiro is one of the best reasons to watch the Mariners. Why some one would want to deny me that pleasure is beyond comprehension when the team has 100+ other, simpler issues to resolve.

Bedard's not going anywhere. Ichiro's not going anywhere. This season needs to end before real changes are made unfortunately.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great All Star Game

New York definitely knows how to throw a party. While many will complain about the game for one reason or another, I thought it was a huge success and Selig should by given a rare compliment.


Because of the things I didn't see.

The game didn't end with no one winning. The game didn't end with a dozen player kids spilling on to the field and running around the bases. The game didn't feature players hugging each other between innings when taking the field.

Instead, we actually saw two teams trying to win a game. It wasn't easy, as the managers had to balance the difficult act of getting everyone in the game and still possess a backup plan if the game continued.

I don't know about you, but I would loved to have seen a position player have to take the mound if the game continued. This stuff happens during the season (e.g. Burke) and there's no reason it can't happen in the All Star game.

Exciting baseball, and Selig making the game count for something deserves credit for it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bedard not going anywhere

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The odds are very slim our "ace" is going to be traded before the deadline. It may mean teams wouldn't mind having him, and it will mean you'll see lots of articles speculating about teams acquiring him but those are different then an actual trade.

The ideal scenario for the M's if they did trade Bedard would be at least two major league ready replacements who could fill the many holes that need to be filled next year. The problem is no team is going to make that deal. Instead the Mariners will get prospects, and that means realistically help for the team in 2010 and later.

Let's say for a second the team got a strong offer with some nice AAA players in the mix. Does any Mariner fan feel the front office for this team is ready to plug in rookies in key positions next year? The same current front office that can't get Reed in the game on a regular basis is now ready to trade Bedard for a bunch of rookies to play in 2009?

Until a new regime is in place that embraces youth and understands how and where to play rookies, I just can't see a Bedard trade taking place. The team that sends Bloomquist on the field and struggles to find a proper reason to explain why they dumped Sexson is in no place to trade Bedard.

And besides, would we even trust the current team to get proper value for him?

I don't expect to see Bedard traded, and given what I've seen from the current FO I think that's a good thing.

Say no to trading Bedard, at least for now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sexson gone

One the biggest disappointments for me as a fan of the Mariners has been watching their handling of Ritchie Sexson. After his numbers plummeted last year, any organization with half a brain would have either-
1) Traded him (eating all of his salary if necessary, or getting something equally distasteful in return)
2) Kept him, but have a backup plan ready to go

The team picked neither of course. Instead of executing a plan, Bavasi rubbed his lucky rabbits foot and hoped and prayed last year was an aberration. When it proved to be a repeat of last season, a replacement was no where to be found.

All teams in professional sports deal with players who no longer produce- football, lacrosse, soccer... it doesn't matter. It's not even an age thing necessarily. Some young players (Yuni) regress even though they are not at an age where one would necessarily expect it.

Sometimes the best thing for a player to break out of a slump is a change of scenery. It's good for the player and it's good for the club. The more the pressure increases at home, the boos start, the kids start hearing about it at school... it's a game played by humans and we shouldn't act like these things don't matter.

But the Mariners chose a different path. While some might call it loyalty, I think it's a disservice to the player, the organization and the fans.

How much money did the Mariners "save" by waiting until now?

How much fun did fans have watching Ritchie strike out at the plate?

How much fun did Mariner pitchers have watching balls scoot by a statue at first base?

The team thought they were being loyal, but instead of dealing with a problem they ignored it. Like the mom who won't acknowledge dads drinking problem, the Mariners chose to ignore the history of 6' 8" first basemen who hit their thirties and lose what little bat speed they have. Their ignorance should not be commended.

I hope Ritchie goes on and plays well for a new team. I think there is little chance of that happening, but someone will give him a shot. I won't be surprised if he's out of baseball within a year.

What I would really like to see is the Mariner organization learn something from this debacle and not ignore the warning signs the next time it happens.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pitching wars (or why Silva is teh suck)

Lots of fun today in the Mariner blogosphere as Baker defends his position on comma... err sinker ra... err mechanical adju... err I'm not really sure what he's defending.

It's been written many times you cannot rely on pinpoint command as a requirement for being a successful pitcher. You just can't. I keep coming back to golf because anyone who's played can relate.

Let's say the US Open is about to begin, and an analyst says for Player A to win, he needs to hit every fairway and green in regulation to have a chance. In other words, perfect command of where the ball is going.

But is that realistic? Certainly not. Look at the winners of major golf championships and you'll see even the champion misses 3 of 10 fairways over the course of 4 days. To expect perfection is ridiculous. We've all seen Tiger Woods crank the ball over the gallery and land on a cart path with his driver and still par the hole. He possesses the talent and ability to overcome a mistake.

It's no different for a pitcher. You can't expect perfection on every pitch, or some sort of extreme movement brought on by a simple adjustment midseason that is so great it can't be measured! Pitchers leave balls over the plate all the time. Hell, watch Brandon Morrow throw fastballs basically right over the middle of the plate multiple times during an appearance. When the batter swings and misses it's a great pitch. When they hit a home run the analyst says he made a mistake!

Now Morrow possesses movement and speed on his fastball that a guy like Silva or Washburn can never match. We understand not all pitchers succeed in the same way. But we can categorize pitchers into those that have stuff and cause hitters to miss, and those that try to let the batter put the ball in play and get themselves out. Silva and Washburn are clearly in the latter group, and no amount of command or simple adjustment is going to transform them midseason.

Do we really believe GM's are looking at Washburn and saying "Gosh, I'll ignore the lousy offenses he's faced and the fact he's a pitch to contact guy who'll always be streaky, instead I'll look purely on the results of the past X games and cross my fingers..."

Who believes clubs are calling and giving the M's legitimate trade offers for Washburn and the club is turning them down?

Instead, a more realistic scenario sees GM's call the M's and say "I'll give you my bag of crap for yours" or "I'll take that bag of crap off your hands if you include a bunch of money..." type of conversations.

We all remember Jeff Cirillo. He was a complete disaster in Seattle, but the club traded him. If Cirillo can be traded, certainly Washburn can too. But it won't be because he had a few good starts in a row- teams in baseball not run by Bavasi are smarter than that. They'll take him off our hands if we bring his pay more in line with what it should be- say $1 million or whatever a Ryan Franklin type pitcher should be getting (certainly not $48 million like Silva)!

The reality is fans today aren't going to fall for the old "banana in the tailpipe" trick any more than they are "Silva is a Transformer!!" type of articles/analysis.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bedard unlikely to leave team this summer

For a team that refuses to release Sexson, it's hard to believe they would trade Bedard and get only pennies on the dollar compared to what they just gave up to get him.

For any GM, whether incoming or incumbent, you face the same problem.

Does the player (s) you get in return beat having a lefty starter in your rotation next year with a sub 4.00 ERA?

If not, then you don't make that trade. While it's true the team has huge holes, trading Bedard only opens another. Who replaces him in the rotation next year?

The only way the team gets Bedard off the roster is if a team is desperate and throws a ton of major league ready prospects at them. (Basically give the Mariners what the Orioles got for him this past winter.) But how likely is that?

To get an All-Star caliber reliever. A starting CF who is dirt cheap and gets better by the week. And three additional prospects including the best pitcher in the farm system. That is a HAUL.

In other words, we would need a Bavasi out there somewhere who is so desperate he gives up the farm for Bedard.

I'd put the odds of Bedard being traded this month at about 5%.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pretty sure offense matters too...

Whenever the team trots out Bloomquist in center field and can't score runs, I'm reminded of the silly comment casual fans like to say-- "pitching wins championships." It sounds like something Yogi would say. Kind of like "good teams beat bad teams" or something similar.

Over at the excellent Replacement Level Yankees web site, they have been going over each position in the AL to see where they rank respective to their peers. Needless to say, the Mariners are not faring too well.

Dead last in the AL for their position:
Vidro- DH
Lopez- 2nd
Johjima- C

Near the bottom-
Betancourt- SS bottom half
Ibanez- LF 4th worst in Al

So five of the nine positions and the Mariners are running dead weight out on the field on a consistent basis. The report isn't done yet for first base. Any ideas where Ritchie might fall?

Think about. The Mariners are running the worst players in the AL at 4 positions!!! Most teams couldn't suck that bad at roster construction if they tried. Dead last, some by quite a bit.

The only player ranked near the top is Adrian Beltre. (I'm guessing Ichiro will be middle of the pack at best.)

The current team management continues to run out some of the worst players at their position, and appears incapable of doing anything about it. They are the laughingstock of baseball and continue to earn our scorn until they actually try to improve this team.

M's deserved to lose 15 inning game

As a Mariner fan you never want to feel like your team threw a game away, but really the team did not deserve to win. Any time the Front Office puts a lineup on the field that includes Sexson, Cairo, Bloomie, Burke, Vidro etc... they simply don't deserve the W.

In a sad way, I actually fear the team winning when the put lineups like this on the field. If management continues to think Willie and his "grit" are the keys to winning, they will continue to make poor decisions on future rosters.

This team has three catchers. Why?

This team continues to let Sexson embarrass himself. Why?

This team continues to play Vidro at clean up. Why?

The team lost last night, almost on purpose. Sorry if you paid good money expecting a miracle.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Morrow continues to impress

Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez are far and away the two brightest stars on this team. Ichiro is fun to watch and his quotes are hilarious, but he is infinitely more interesting when hitting well over .300 in games that matter.

Felix we all know about.

Morrow is the guy we want to know about but the team won't let us. How would Morrow do pitching in the 6th inning? Can he maintain his fastball and dial it up whenever he needs to like Chamberlain? Are his offspeed pitches really coming along or just show-me pitches to keep the hitters off balance? Can he be a dominant starter? Can he be relied upon and avoid injuries?

We don't know, and the timetable for when we do is still a long ways off. Instead of pitching in the minors like he should, Morrow pitches exciting but useless games during a lost season. The biggest enemy facing Morrow's development as a major league starter is innings.

Let's suppose you are in the camp of letting Morrow get a crack in the starting rotation next spring. Sounds reasonable enough, and is likely what the club is thinking too. But Morrow has never pitched 100 innings before. Is the club going to put Morrow in the starting rotation next year and then shut him down when August rolls around? If Morrow is as effective as his supporters think he will be, his season ending innings total would easily approach 200 innings. There's no way the team can let him get close to that number.

The knock on Lincecum was he was an injury risk and threw too many innings in college. The upside was he was major league ready. Morrow is in many ways the mirror opposite. He never threw many innings in college so he needs work as he builds up to a 162 game schedule. How exactly will that happen by pitching 1 inning a game?

By keeping him in the bullpen and only pitching an inning at a time, you get Morrow really gaudy stats but you make the long term picture murky. Send Morrow down or figure out a plan to get him more innings on the club right now. The current plan is bad for the team and for Morrow's future.

Free Morrow and get him out of this fun to watch but useless one inning role.