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Friday, April 30, 2004

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, how many times will Dan Wilson fail to get the bunt down before they see he can't bunt. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I know, RBI is a poor stat, because it is dependent on a lot of team variables. That said, John Olerud is on pace for 32 RBI's this year. This is not good.
Well he's worthless if you're gonna use him to run a baseball team, but since I don't own a team and don't really have the money to buy one, I'm going to buy Lincoln and have him do menial tasks around my house. Once he starts not showing up to the office, the Mariners will be forced to replace him as CEO. I'm currently the high bidder in the E-Bay auction for Lincoln at $1,025 and I'm willing to go up to $1500 to get my man...
By the way, Grand Salami has personally inspected the auction lot, and determined it to be utterly worthless and completely unreliable. The $800 bid is almost certainly too much. The money is better spent on back issues of the magazine, please email for details.
Check this out before E-Bay takes it down: you can buy Howard Lincoln!
I wish we here at Grand Salami could take credit for this. A tip of the hat to the mysterious Seth for this sale. Part of the evidence for the continuing education of the Mariners fan base.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Jon, I agree that you really shouldn't expect Thornton to improve his command now that he's in Seattle - like I've brought up a couple of times already, he's about a year out from Tommy John surgery. Most pitchers will struggle with control in the first year back, but do OK long term. I think his call-up is less about his performance and more about not starting the arbitration clock ticking for some of the better pitching prospects. Which is a good thing. Again, I'd be awfully surprised to see Thornton get into anything but a blowout. Of course, we've seen a lot of those lately.
Tuesday's Seattle Times reveals that Kevin Jarvis was actually fired by Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, who was traveling with the team in Texas. Lincoln told Bob Finnigan, "I knew we had to do something, and I didn't want to wait until Wednesday or Thursday. We can't have that kind of thing."

What kind of thing is Lincoln talking about? The embarassment of giving up three straight home runs? Off Jarvis's performance before Sunday's game, his performance in spring training and his numbers in San Diego last year, everybody should have known before Sunday that he was garbage and had no business being on the team. All I can say is thank god Jarvis failed so loudly on Sunday, giving up those three straight dingers in front of Howard Lincoln or apparently he'd still be pitching for the M's... Never mind that the pitcher that replaces Jarvis on the roster, Matt Thornton, despite his "standing" as one of the top prospects in the organization, isn't ready for the major leagues. A guy who walks 12 batters in 14 innings in Triple-A isn't suddenly going to find his command upon being recalled to the bigs. Hey, it'd be great if Thornton does well, but it's not like he was at all impressive in spring training, like Travis Blackley, Clint Nageotte and Cha Seung Baek were...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Check out my article about Edgar.
This is laughable --- over at the Mariners official site the headline is "Mariners Players Make All-Star Push" and then there's a photo of Randy Winn and 7 other M's players. Yeah, I think I'll vote for Randy Winn. He's certainly playing like an All-Star...

Breaking News: The Mariners won't lose today --- their game vs. Baltimore has been rained out! It'll be interesting to see if Bo Mel skips over Gil Meche's turn in the rotation -- Meche was supposed to start today.
According to the San Antonio Express News Rafael Soriano will make another appearance for the Missions so it looks like Thornton might be up a little longer than expected. As much as the team needs Soriano, they need a 100% Soriano and I applaud the organization being careful and not rushing him back (this time).
Well Hallelujah, the M's have designated Kevin Jarvis for assignment and recalled Matt Thornton (KOMO calls him "Thronton" in the headline) from Triple-A Tacoma. Thornton has been all over the place this year in Tacoma, with 12 walks and 12 hits and a 7.07 ERA in 14 innings in three starts. Obviously Thornton has no business being in the majors right now, but I'm not gonna get all worked up about it -- Soriano is due back in another day or two so Thornton's time with the team is likely to be very brief. It's possible they just wanted to give Thornton some time with Bryan Price -- and the only way to do that was to bring him up for a couple of days.
Welcome to the newest Mariner: Matt Thornton. For those of you who haven't heard the name, he's a lefty starter up from AAA with a shiny new ulnar collateral ligament (Tommy John surgery). In 14 innings at AAA, he has given up 12 walks, but has 11 strikeouts. He misses bats, just not always in a good way. Anyway, he's not likely to get in a game, being the FOURTH lefty and all, and he clears Jarvis the hell out of here.

On a more positive note, Thornton is almost certainly the only major leaguer from Three Rivers, Michigan. Go get 'em Matty - southwestern Michigan is proud of you.
Interesting bit of research by Jeff Shaw at San Shin on Bill Bavasi's record as GM of the Angels. It seems that the Angels sucked during Bavasi's time as GM -- in six seasons, they finished more than 20 games under .500 in three of them, he never made any big acquisitions, save for the Mo Vaughn signing (and we all know how that turned out) and he rarely made any trades of note. He acquired a lot of veterans at the end of their careers to see if they had anything left (they usually didn't). Jeff also learned that Bavasi fired manager Buck Rodgers 39 games into his first season as GM(!) and that he acquired and traded Bob Melvin away as a player. Go over to San Shin now and read Jeff's full post.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

I wish the Mariners could send Kevin Jarvis back-to-back-to-back to the Padres!
Bo Mel's done it again. The Mariners climbed back from a 9-2 deficit today to get within three runs in the sixth inning, 9-6, but who does Melvin put in the game? None other than Kevin Jarvis, who proceeds to allow four runs on a double and back-to-back-to-back home runs to the murderer's row trip of Laynce Nix, Rod Barajas and Adrian Gonzalez (his first major league HR) and the game is seemingly out of reach at 13-6. Coming into the 2004 season the three had a combined total of 19 home runs in the majors.

The only good thing that will come out of this game, which is likely to result in the M's fifth straight loss (and a record of 6-13) is that it should finally put an end to those delusions in Bill Bavasi's head that some other team would be willing to take Jarvis and pay any of his salary. With Rafael Soriano due back any day now and the team needing to create a roster spot for him, it's obvious that the M's next move should be to release Jarvis. Knowing Bavasi and the other clowns in the M's front office, they might still be too stubborn to do it, but the evidence is clear: Kevin Jarvis doesn't belong in the majors, let alone on a pennant contending team (which is what this Seattle team hoped to be before the season began).

While some say it's too early to panic, I say it is time to panic -- it's time to do something to shake things up. Fire the manager, make a couple of big trades, send Ben Davis down to Tacoma. Do something! The Mariners are being swept by the Texas Rangers, who are clearly a better team than the M's are. If the Mariners don't make some moves soon, this team will end up in last place and will be trading off pieces at the trading deadline in the beginning of their rebuilding effort.

Friday, April 23, 2004

John McGrath at the Tacoma New Tribune recounts Randy Winn's struggles and calls for Bob Melvin to move Ichiro to center field, Ibanez to right and put Winn back in his "comfort zone" in left field. I second the motion.

Grand Salami semi-irregular Rainiers report v.1.0:

Who is the winningest manager in Tacoma history? Raise your hand if you chose Dave Myers.

The Rainiers beat Las Vegas 8-4 last night behind a couple of homers from Bucky Jacobsen. Man, he crushed those balls, one to the opposite field. The organization doesn't really seem to have any great plans for him, and they probably shouldn't. He does look like he's eaten up by good pitchers. Still, he's fun to watch. Like a AAAA version of Mark McGwire.

The Tacoma defensive alignment last night was bizarre, and says a lot about their plans for the different players. They had Jose Lopez at third, Justin Leone in left, and, wait for it, Luis Ugueto in center. Starting with the last, the M's seem to be taking the Charles Gipson approach to Ugueto's career: being able to suck at a variety of positions trumps being able to hit at any one spot. Ugueto is no closer to being a major league hitter than he was in 2002. Begging the question how he sat on the MLB roster all year. He's no threat to be a useful defensive outfielder any time soon, either.

Leone looks rough at the plate, even though he homered last night. He's still at about .200 for the year, and has been hitting as low as eighth in the lineup. Projecting him as the starting third baseman this year is looking more and more like wishcasting on the part of the faithful. His defensive game is not really strong, either. Especially troubling is the 1 for 6 on SB to date.

Jose Lopez is almost certainly on the fast track to a job in Seattle, although it is not clear who he's slotted to replace (oh please, let it be Willie B). He's not off to a great start, but hits the ball hard when he gets to it. If we believe his listed age, he's young for the league, which helps. He is as close to a hitting prospect as they have in T-town, a phrase that is as painful to write as it is to read.

Wiki Gonzalez's full name is Wiklenman. He is named, like many kids from Venezuela, after a German singer. Really. He's off to a good start, hitting for average and power, and hustling more than advertised. He also is a Hector Villaneueva in the making - he'd probably help his long term chances by striking out at the buffet a little more often. For some reason, he is splitting 50/50 with Pat Borders. At $2 mil or so, it would seem like he should get every chance to prove he can play at the MLB level. Other than being a local fan favorite, playing Borders has no benefit to the organization. I wouldn't be too surprised to see Gonzalez steal Ben Davis' job in mid-season like he once did in San Diego. I'd be more confident about this if he hit from the left side of the plate.

Matt Thornton gave up more walks than hits for the second straight game. He's got a long way to go in reestablishing his command after TJ surgery last year, but worth keeping an eye on. I'd consider him a logical mid-level prospect to throw in a mid-season trade. He's getting a little old for a prospect, and needs a shot soon, if he's ever going to get one. He won't get it here.

Thursday is dollar beer night at Cheney. Come on down and show your support by drinking until you puke, which we locals call 'driving to Fife'. Good seats are now available. Tell 'em the Salami sent you.
Great lineup yesterday --- Cabrera at second base and Willie F Bloomquist at first base. Why didn't Bo Mel just wave the white flag and send everyone home and just forfeit the damn game? As Jeff Shaw at San Shin points out, Bret Boone kills the left-handed Mark Mulder to the tune of .379/.438/.621. Why not rest Boone against the right-handed Hudson the night before? Bo Mel just doesn't have a clue - he must be fired, sooner than later. Goat horns for Thursday's game for Jamie Moyer and Randy F Winn, who clearly can't play center field. Oakland heroes? I'll go with Eric Chavez and Mark Mulder.

Here's Jason Michael Barker's updated Randy Winn profile -- this will appear in the May issue of The Grand Salami print magazine, which will be out on May 4th, when the Minnesota Twins come to Safeco:

Here’s a fun game you can play at home—or at the ballpark—while watching the Mariners this season. Simply count the number of times you find yourself saying, “Mike Cameron would have caught that” on balls hit in Randy Winn’s direction. Between Winn’s poor throwing arm, questionable range and slow offensive start this season, the drop off from Cameron to Winn has been larger than most of us ever imagined. For those of you screaming, “Yeah, but at least Winn doesn’t strike out!” consider that as of late April, he was on pace to fan well over 100 times this season and still doesn’t have Cameron’s home run power. Hey, we’ll let this one go once everybody realizes how underappreciated Cameron was during his time in Seattle. That goes for both his bat and his glove, mister.
Tremendous piece by Paul at Ahoy the SS Mariner about why, we as fans, don't care if the players the Mariners sign, like Raul Ibanez, are good guys are not, we just care how they do on the field. I couldn't have said it better myself. It seems that before making a trade or a free agent signing the M's do more background work on what charities the player contributes to and whether they have any good recipes for the Wives' cookbook than how the player has performed ON THE FIELD and how he'll perform in the future ON THE FIELD.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I don't really get too yanked about All Star voting. It is a showcase for the casual fan and particularly for the kids. Fact is, it is probably better for the game to have Ken Griffey in center than, say, Milton Bradley. I'd venture that to most of us who really get lost in the baseball season, the All Star game is just a goofy, half-hearted exhibition game. Of course, now it matters to the post-season, which does bother me some..
Is anyone else amazed / disgusted that the All-Star balloting has already begun on MLB.com? Teams have only played about 15 games apiece. This just rubs in the fact that being an "All-Star" is more about popularity than deservedness and it pisses me off.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Jeez, Bob Melvin looked positively suicidal in the post game interview. Hey Bob, it's OK. It's just a game. Hell, maybe you learned something about using your worst pitchers in a tie game.

If Tim Hudson is on the mound, there is a runner on first, and less than two outs, he should just automatically be awarded a double-play. This would get help eliminate the spectacle of another Mariner spiking his helmet after the inevitable.

The goat horns tonight go to Mike Myers for his leadoff four-pitch walk in the ninth to Eric Byrnes. Special mention to Bob Melvin for having Myers facing a right handed leadoff batter, when he's about 50% likely to end up at first base. Give the hero to whomever you like. To hell with it. It shoulda gone to Dave Hansen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Great job by Mike Thompson at the Seattle P-I blog on the Mariners Decision Tracker, a chart that shows how current Mariners are doing compared with players we attempted to sign over the winter, players we could have signed and players we let go. I hope Mike updates this regularly. It's interesting to note that Raul Ibanez is now hitting .261 with 4 doubles, 4 homers, 9 RBI and a .364 OBP while Vladimir Guerrero is hitting .263 with 4 doubles, 4 homers, 10 RBI and a .333 OBP. Guerrero seems like he got most of his numbers against the M's -- and it's not because the other team are pitching around him -- he has just 6 walks and 57 AB's while Ibanez has 8 walks and 46 AB's.

And the Angels, who are 5-1 against the M's, are now 2-6 against the rest of the league for an overall record of 7-7!
Good to see some life in the home team. After not being able to find the plate with Mapquest in the first couple of innings, Franklin settled down and held the A's nicely. He's been pretty hit-lucky these first few games, but he hasn't been the disaster a lot of us feared. If he has a good first half, I'd still consider him to be prime trade bait for the extra bat the boys will need if they stay in the race.

Our hero tonight is, for the third straight game, Raul Ibanez. With Boone and Edgar scuffling a bit (thanks to Ron Fairly for pointing this out), he's really been close to a one man show during this streak. I'm still skeptical about his long term numbers, but it's nice to see him being more KC c.2001-3 than Sea mark 1999.

I'm giving the horns to Ruby Durazo for leaving the sacks full in the first. Warning track power is not going to get it done, slugger. He is still waiting for his first 2004 RBI. Hopefully, he and Chavez will stay asleep a few more days.

Congrats to Ben Davis for his hit tonight. We were going to add a Big Ben clock to keep the time from his last hit in early March to the site, but never got around to it. I like Davis, and think he's got an upside (dumb word - how about potential instead?) that is worth sticking with him. He's taken a lot of heat in the papers for his struggles, and I hope he doesn't need a change of address to get it together, but I fear he probably does.

After struggling against the back of the rotation, things could look pretty grim against Hudson and Mulder. Enjoy the winning while you can, M's fans.
Tim, glad to see you posting on here! I agree that fans should not interfere with potential outs, but, I don't really think Ichiro really had a shot at that ball. I think the camera angles we saw on TV made it look closer than it actually was.
Co-goats for yesterday's game could be Randy Winn, for failing to manage anything more than a weak popup when the A's were playing 5 infielders and 2 shallow outfielders in a desperation move; and the woman in row one of the right field bleachers, who, while not technically interfering with a ball in play since this occurred on her side of the fence, may have prevented Ichiro from catching Jermaine Dye's home run. Perhaps there should be signage in front of every seat in row one of the right field stands that says "Let Ichiro catch the ball."
HERO & GOAT FOR MONDAY'S GAME
MARINERS 2 A'S 1

FREDDY GARCIA AND RAUL IBANEZ

OAKLAND PITCHER JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER

Wow - talk about anti-climatic. The A's basically had to give us that one! But, I'll take it. I would give the hero award to Freddy. He pitched an awesome game: 7 IP, 7 Ks and only 3 hits (should have been 2 - Winn should have caught the ball that HIT HIS GLOVE!). I can't count the number of times I've already said "Cammy would've had that one."

Monday, April 19, 2004

Just as I suspected. On an Ibanez homerun off a lefty, the M's nurse a 1-1 tie into the 14th. Jarvis slams the door on the top of the order. Then the Q comes through with a clutch base hit, and comes around to score the winning run on a balk. I've been watching baseball since 1972 (so listen here kids!), and I've NEVER seen that type of balk called.

For those of you keeping score at home, that's three of the what we thought were the worst acquisitions of the off season coming through to win the game. We here at the Grand Salami would like to publicly acknowledge Bill Bavasi for his roster management. Apparently, he foresaw exactly this scenario. Bill, you've got twelve hours of amnesty. After that, we're back on your ass for the duration of your brief tenure.

Tonight's hero: I'm going with Jarvis. This may have been his last major league win. The horns go to Justin Duchslerchelrdorfernshnied. C'mon Justin, does that move ever work? And why in the hell did they have that bizarre defensive alignment when a DP gets you out of the inning?

A special tip of the cap to Fox for showing Q's anemic line from last year right before the key hit. A nice touch of irony that even the Curmudgeon couldn't top.
Why does Fox not show the gun when Jarvis pitches? Does it not register below a certain speed?
Now that Ryan Christianson has been released, I would like to nominate a new “catcher of the future.” His name is Dennis Blackmon, a junior at Barton College in Wilson, NC. Blackmon, who also plays both corner infield positions, is a 6’2”, 185lb righty doing his best Barry Bonds impression with a 1.458 OPS. I don’t know how much difference there is between Division I and Division II – much less the difference between each conference. I also don’t know about his defense, if he does voluntary community service or has good cookie recipes, but any way you cut it, this kid can M*A*S*H!
Blackmon wouldn’t be the first Barton Bulldog to play in the Mariners’ organization. Although I can’t find any other evidence, the Barton College Web site says that Greg Fulton played with the 1986 Mariners. Keep an eye on this kid, I’m sure some team smarter than the Mariners will nab him this June (or next).

HERO & GOAT FOR SUNDAY'S GAME
MARINERS 4 RANGERS 2

LF RAUL IBANEZ
2-run HR

P ERASMO RAMIREZ
BS, Loss

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Actually Matt, Ibanez's HR was the big hit of the day. Not only did a turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, but it was shocking to see Ibanez get the big hit, especially off a lefty. I half expected Bo Mel to put in Jolbert Cabrera as a pinch-hitter. The problem we face now is that even if Ibanez struggles from here on out against lefties, Bo Mel will remember that Sunday afternoon against Texas when Raul got a dinger vs. a lefty....
Memo to Jim Street: Is it really necessary to kiss Dan Wilson's ass this much? Street writes about Wilson's hot start, offers a quote from Bob Melvin that the team needed to get Ben Davis in there today and then, for some insane reason, said that the reason Wilson wasn't used as the DH in todays' game was because the team is only carrying two catchers. Not because we have a designated hitter, Edgar Martinez, who is a much better hitterb than Wilson (he actually hits a home run every now and again), but according to Street's logic, if the team were carrying three catchers, Dan Wilson (and his hot bat) would have been today's DH instead of Edgar Martinez. Has Wilson ever started a game at DH in his career?

It was nice to see the club hit three home runs today, for a total of seven on the season. As much fun as it is to point to 8 or 10 major league players and say "that guy has more homers than the entire Mariner club", they needed to get a few longballs -- and they resulted in a win today as all the M's runs were scored on home runs. Ibanez and Spiezio hit their first and Boone hit his fourth. First time all year the club has won two games in a row!

Hero of the day: Even though it wasn't the big hit of the game, I'm going with Raul Ibanez. Grand Salami was riding him like Trigger at the game last night for having no homeruns, so it was nice to see him hit one off a lefty.
Goat of the day: The horns go to Jay Powell. My heart goes out to any Rangers fan watching this guy come in from the bullpen. He's a bad pitcher, only around because of his ridiculous contract. He didn't lose the game for them, but he sure didn't help.
Pinero got through the game OK, but I have to wonder when his command will come back. He's now walked 11 people in 16 1/3 innings (when is ESPN going to stop calling 6 1/3 innings 6.1? This really offends my delicate sensibilities). Fact is, he's been shaky since the middle of last year. I have to wonder if his elbow is OK - he's really not the pitcher he was when he first came up.
Soriano is starting for the Rainiers tomorrow night. Come down and show your support. The Rainiers will likely be gone in the next year or two, if Reno gets it together and attendence continues to be low in T-town.
Actually when we did Hero and Goat of the game (which I'm hoping to have back here soon), the Hero was from the winning team and the Goat was from the losing team. There were some rare exceptions to this: I remember specifically giving Piniella the goat horns for some incredibly foolish move that nearly lost a game. So Raul Ibanez probably wouldn't get the goat horns, it'd likely be Ramon Nivar. And I'd probably have had Moyer and Spiezio sharing the Hero honors...

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Man, those Rangers outfielders really suck. They should have had both of the M's extra base hits; hits that came dressed as routine fly balls. Extra credit goes to Ramon Nivar's pathetic throw to second-and-a-half base after Dan Wilson's warning track fly ball, I mean double.

Time to revive an old Grand Salami web site tradition: hero and goat of the game. The hero is easy - Mr. Moyer throws eight innings of three hit ball, and looks sharp doing it. Extra credit for Scott Spiezio for a couple of hits. The horns are tough. Maybe they go to Raul Ibanez for bunting through a couple of pitches in the seventh. If he is such a bad hitter against lefties that you've got him bunting the runner over from first with a 4-1 lead, this begs the question why he got a three year deal. Wear the horns proudly, Raul. I bet you'll have them a lot over the next few years.

That's two wins in the last three. Mabry things are going to start to turn around for Mr. Melvin.
Jack Cust cleared waivers. I guess the Mariners didn't realize that he's better (and younger) than current Mariners minor leaguers, A.J. Zapp, Ryan Balfe and John Lindsey.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Well I'm sure Levrault must be a "World Class Human Being" or something like that. Maybe they think they're gonna need a crappy pitcher on the staff to replace Jarvis when (if?) they trade him...
The Mariners signed P Allen Levrault to a minor league contract. The 6'3" righty will turn 27 this season and is crappy by any measurable standard. The past couple years, he's been bouncing around between the Brewers and the PCL before pitching 28 innings for the Marlins last season and then signing as a minor league free agent with the Cardinals last November.

Minor League totals: 4.83 ERA, 738 IP, 604 K, 255 BB
MLB totals: 5.61 ERA, 170 IP, 110 K, 81 BB

Sometimes, I just don't understand the Mariners.

Sure it might not have been Finnigan's fault but these kind of errors occur with shocking regularity in both Seattle newspapers. I recall during the '95 playoffs, having moved to Seattle in '94, being horrifed with the sports sections the papers were putting out. Yes, they were putting out special sections every day, 15 to 20 pages on baseball instead of one article on baseball and a six page sports section. But each day they'd have 10 or more factual errors in both papers. One day it got so bad I actually called up the sports editor of the P-I and offered to come down there and proofread his sports section (this was the year before I started The Grand Salami). These were inexcusable errors, like Jay Buhner being referred to as "the Mariners left fielder" in one Laura Vecsey column. How did she come to write that in the first place and how did it get through? The sports editor at the time, Glenn Drohsendahl, was apologetic but basically said there just wasn't enough time to make sure errors like that didn't make it into the daily paper.
Well, there's a good chance that Finnigan had nothing to do with the bottom of his column. His name comes before that "info box." But WOW - how did that slip through the copy desk? Regardless, Finnigan is to Seattle sports writing what Kevin Jarvis is to the Mariners' bullpen. Did anyone see this guy on TV the other day? In case you missed it, he looks like an adult version of Alfred E. Newman and he talks like an autistic robot.
Nice work by Bob Finnigan of the Seattle Times in today's article detailing the Mariners 6-2 WIN over Anaheim tonight. At the bottom of Finnigan's article, this chart ran:

The Mariners' 1-8 start is the worst in club history. The team's worst records after nine games:
W-L Season Record
1-8 2004 ??
2-7 1990 77-85
2-7 1982 76-86
2-7 1981 44-65*

*Strike-shortened season

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Two more things on tonight's loss. Firstly, 1-7 is officially the Mariners' worst start in their history (after eight games). Secondly,. Julio Mateo, brought into the game in the ninth inning tonight, apparently isn't very good at holding runners on base. Opposing teams stole ten bases in ten chances with Mateo on the mound last season...
Add another to the list of players that won't be coming to Seattle anytime soon. Chicago's Magglio Ordonez has apparently rejected a four-year contract extension from the White Sox, saying that he has to have a five year contract (at $14 million a year, his salary this season) because "This is going to be my last big contract and I have to take advantage of that." Ordonez pointed out that once a player reaches 34 or 35, teams are willing to offer only one or two-year deals.

Ordonez is a very good player but he's no Vladimir Guerrero. And it seems he's insisting on the same contract Guerrero got from the Angels. I doubt Ordonez gets more than four years or more than $10 million on the open market next winter. Instead of acting insulted by the Sox offer, Ordonez should be asking where he should sign before the team changes their mind. Given these demands, it makes Ordonez an extreme long shot to be traded to Seattle anytime this year (or anytime in his career, for that matter). About the only way the M's get him is if Chicago falls out of the race and is willing to give him away for no prospects and the M's are willing to view him as just a rent a player. Seattle is one of the only teams that has the money to afford Ordonez's contract but they've never been one for rent a players and if they wouldn't even talk about signing Guerrero there's no way they give that kind of money to Ordonez.
Another day, another loss for the Mariners, who are now 1-7 on the season. This one was lost in the bottom of the ninth, despite Seattle tying the game off Troy Percival (and almost taking the lead) in the top of the ninth. But what was Bob Melvin thinking in that ninth inning? Down 5-4, Dave Hansen led off with a single and was pinch-run for by Willie Bloomquist. When Hansen was up, Melvin had Quinton McCracken in the on deck circle to hit for Ben Davis. After Hansen got on base, Bo Mel sent Dan Wilson up to hit for Davis, ostensibly to bunt.

Never mind that Wilson couldn't get the bunt down (for the second time this season in such a situation) and never mind that Wilson actually got a hit to tie the game (he'd been 1-for-13 lifetime vs. Percival). A cardinal rule in baseball is that you don't play for the tie on the road! Yet here was Bob Melvin playing for the tie on the road -- with Vladimir Guerrero leading off the bottom of the ninth for Anaheim! This guy is unbelievable and he's unprepared; he just might be the worst manager in the majors since Maury Wills got his walking papers from the M's in May of 1981.

It's interesting how Anaheim got the winning run tonight. They didn't have a hit in the inning, but used the speed of Chone Figgins to win the game. After Hasegawa walked Guerrero on five pitches, Figgins ran for Guerrero (who was battling a knee injury). Figgins stole second and third easily off Dan Wilson and scored on a deep fly ball to right field. This should be a lesson to Bo Mel, who used speedy Jamal Strong as a pinch-runner several times late in the '03 season, but neveronce let Strong, who's every bit as fast as Figgins, attempt a steal. Melvin choked down the stretch last season and he's choking this year in April. Bo Mel's firing can't come soon enough for me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Seattle Mariners entire team 2004 season: 3 HR's, 2 SB's.
Mike Cameron 2004 season: 2 HR's, 4 SB''s.
Well, ol' Bob Melvin lost another game for the M's tonight. As we pointed out in a post on Saturday, Rafael Soriano is far from 100%. His fastball is barely reaching 90 miles an hour. John Hickey ran a notebook piece in the P-I on Monday offering up the opinion of an AL scout that Soriano, because of the time he missed in spring training, wasn't ready to pitch in the majors and should probably be down in Tacoma getting into game shape.

Melvin was asked about this by the Seattle beat writers and naturally pooh poohed the whole thing, claiming that Soriano would only be throwing 92 or 93 MPH in the colder weather early in the season so it wouldn't be that much of a difference. Pitching coach Bryan Price said that he expected Soriano and Eddie Guardado, who also missed most of spring training, to be at full strength after "five or six outings".

Soriano needs to be down in Triple A Tacoma getting his arm strength back. He's now pitched three games this year, has an 0-2 record and has allowed seven hits and a walk in two innings. This is a guy who absolutely dominated last year, allowing less than a baserunner an inning. The organization has a tremendous amount of pitching depth. It's not like they don't have a couple of major league ready arms (J.J. Putz, Aaron Looper, who was reacquired yesterday) at Tacoma who could step in for two or three weeks until Soriano is at full strength.

The biggest problem is not only that the M's are keeping Soriano at the major league level, it's that they keep putting him in situations where he can lose the game for the club. Soriano has been getting hammered and the team has other options in the bullpen. Julio Mateo, at 100% deserves to be in these games before Soriano. The club is now 1-6. If Melvin hadn't forced Soriano into these two games, the team might be 3-4, just barely under .500. Another interesting thing is that these same Angels, who have now beaten the M's four straight, lost three of four to Texas over the weekend, allowing 31 runs in the series.

Another thing is that in the first inning tonight our first two hitters got singles, bringing up Bret Boone with Edgar Martinez (14-for-27 vs. Escobar lifetime) on deck. The team had two stolen bases all season (none for Ichiro) and Melvin has Ichiro and Randy Winn try a double steal. Ichiro was thrown out at third. Boone then hit a slow roller to third and Edgar gave the M's a 2-0 lead with a home run, the club's third of the season (same amount as Vladimir Guerrero has). If Melvin doesn't force the double steal in that situation, Edgar's home run gives them three runs...

Then in the eighth inning, down three runs, Melvin has Dan Wilson bat against right hander Francisco Rodriguez -- I was screaming for Dave Hansen to come in to pinch-hit. Never mind that Wilson got a miracle walk, they need to pinch-hit for Wilson in those kind of situations. OK, so Hansen pinch-hit for the next batter, Willie Bloomquist, but there were still two other left handed options on the bench, Quinton McCracken and Ben Davis to hit for Wilson. And even the right handed Jolbert Cabrera would have been a better option. Did Melvin want to win the game or what?

It's interesting that the Mariners have not picked up Bob Melvin's option for the 2005 season. How many games out do they have to get before Melvin gets the ax?

On another note, Anaheim owner Arte Moreno threw out the first pitch before tonight's game. Think about this for a minute: If Howard Lincoln ever threw out the first pitch at an M's game, would he make it out of the stadium alive????

Saturday, April 10, 2004

I have to head out to the game but a quick post before I go -- Jack Cust has been designated for assignmen t by the Orioles. Even though Bill Bavasi and Co. don't seem to think that they can tell anythingfrom minor league stats, the M's should make the call and trade for Cust, the perfect successor to Edgar Martinez as DH. The O's have ten days to release or trade Cust. They could send him to the minors but only if he clears waivers, which he should not do...
A couple more things -- as Matt mentioned, I spotted a Reds scout in the media dining room prior to the A's-Mariners game tonight. Griffey had another home run today and now has two for the year, twice as many as the entire Mariner team combined.

The other thing that struck me as I stood taking photos next to the M's dugout tonight, about 30 feet from Bob Melvin. If Rene Lachemann's supposed to be his bench coach, why does he not talk to Lach while the game is going on? Paul Molitor, who was added as the hitting coach this year, sat next to Melvin the whole game (along with Bryan Price) and seemed to be doing what the bench coach would normally do, coming up with ideas and acting as a sounding board for the manager. It's not like Melvin didn't hire Lach himself and the organization forced Bo Mel to take him -- we ran an interview with Lach in our September issue last year and he made it clear that it was Melvin who'd hired him to be the bench coach. Just wonderin'...
I'm down in Oakland for the series so I'm close to the action -- and I've got a few observations.

Tonight's loss was pathetic. It's becoming pretty obvious that Bob Melvin is incapable of managing a major league team. People look at the 93 wins the team had last year and assume that Melvin must have done a good job. But anybody could have managed that team -- it was basically Lou Piniella's team, a veteran team that policed itself, worked hard and knew how to win. This year's team is missing a handful of the veterans from the Piniella years, Cameron, McLemore, Rhodes, Nelson to name a few. These guys were leaders in the clubhouse.

Now that some of the vets are gone and it's Melvin's team it's obvious that he's no manager. A frigging computer could manage the team better than this clown. Here's a few examples from tonight's debacle:

Bo Mel had Jolbert Cabrera pinch-hit for McCracken after "Q" had two lousy at bats vs. Mark Redman and then Cabrera played left field, where McCracken was playing. But the next time Cabrera's turn came up, he put up Raul Ibanez to hit for Cabrera, despite the fact that right hander Chad Bradford was struggling (having given up a double to Aurilia and singles to Boone and Wilson) and lefty Chris Hammond was ready in the A's bullpen. Melvin had to know that if he put up Ibanez that Oakland manager Ken Macha would bring in Hammond. It's clear that we'd have been better off with Cabrera against Bradford (especially the way he'd been pitching) than Ibanez vs. the left handed Hammond. Ibanez struck out (this reminds me of one of Bo Mel's worst moves last year, when he pinch-hit for Greg Colbrunn with John Mabry -- and then left Mabry, a .103 hitter vs. lefties in '02 and '03 to face the lefty (with the game on the line).

It's been pretty obvious from Rafael Soriano's two outings this year that he's not close to 100%, that he's nowhere near the pitcher he was in 2003. His fastball reached 98 last year, tonight he was barely throwing 90 MPH. After 3 of the first 4 hitters reached against Soriano (including a couple of blistered doubles) it was time to make a move. Julio Mateo was ready in the pen but Melvin left Soriano in to allow another couple of hits. Then he went with Mike Myers --- and made the same dopey mistake he made last year when Rule V kid Matt White was briefly on the team. He had Myers face a lefty, Mark Kotsay, who he retired. With the score 7-6 and switch-hitting Bobby Kielty coming up it was time to get the lefty specialist Myers out and bring on Mateo, who was still ready. Yet because Bo Mel wanted Myers to face the next hitter, lefty Eric Chavez, he allowed Myers to face Kielty, who put a dent in the center field wall, missing a HR by inches. The A's had their insurance run and the score was 8-6.

Another stupid thing Melvin did tonight (this one didn't hurt him but if he keeps it up it will burn him down the line). He's so obsessed with the lefty-righty thing, that with Mateo finally in the game and first base open, he let Mateo pitch to the hottest hitter in baseball, Jermaine Dye. Dye should have been walked but since the next hitter was left handed (the oh so dangerous Scott Hatteberg) and Mateo is right handed, Bo Mel's brain wouldn't allow him to give Dye the intentional pass. The M's will get screwed by this obsession with lefty-righty matchups, just as they did last year time after time.

So we're four games into the season and Jolbert Cabrera, who we traded two pitching prospects for, has yet to start a game and has one at bat and has played two innings in the field. This seems like a similar usage pattern to how Greg Colbrunn was used last year before he got hurt. Is Willie F Bloomquist so much better than Cabrera and Dave Hansen that he needs to start every game?

What's it gonna take for the organization to fire Melvin? They haven't picked up his option yet for 2005 so he's already a lame duck. If the team loses its first 9 games of the year will that be enough? Four games into the year and the M's are already three games behind both Oakland and Anaheim.

Friday, April 09, 2004

According to our Grand Salami approved source, a Reds scout is at the game tonight. I hope he was up getting a beer when Winn dropped the fly ball. This Griffey rumor may have some merit after all. On the other hand, the A's are probably about to fleece them for Adam Dunn.
Note to Bob Melvin: you let power hitters swing 3-0. Dan Wilson is not a power hitter. Even Dave Henderson was on Melvin about this. While we're on the subject of Willie and Bomel, someone better get skip some video of last season. Wilson proved last September he can't get a bunt down. I've been trying to give Melvin the benefit of the doubt, but I'm starting to change my mind.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Daily Mariners doggerel:
Today I heard the saddest words that have ever been
"Runners on second and third, here comes Big Ben"
A further four words make a nervous wreck
For Niehaus says "Bloomquist is on deck"
Thanks, I'll be here all week.
A favorite Grand Salami whipping boy is at it again. Dave Myers cost the M's at least one run in the first by waving Randy Winn into the second out at the plate. Another run was cost by not sending Boone to second on the play. Mr. Myers, you can submit your resignation to our home office in West Seattle. Please cc a copy to Chris Snelling and his surgeon.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Bad news on the hopes of a potential trade. According to David Cameron at USS Mariner, one prospect the Mariners might have moved in a deal this year, pitcher Rett Johnson, is not pitching at Tacoma as expected, but still working through the personal problems that caused him to leave spring training for five days. It's hoped that he'll return to competitive pitching some time this season...
Some random thoughts from tonight's game:
- It looked like there was a lot of empty seats there tonight. Maybe it's because ticket prices went up...again.
- The Angels can MASH! They sure don't make Safeco look like the pitcher's haven it's made out to be.
- Is Kevin Jarvis the worst pitcher in the majors?
- Soriano vs. Guerrero is worth the price of admission. Soriano also looks a little beefier and should definitely be a starter.
- It's not just our team that's old and declining. Niehaus is losing it as well. He was screaming at the top of his lungs for Boone's fly out to CF and also yelled "The throw's online" for Ichiro's throw to home that was about 4 feet offline. Mix in Ron Fairly, who sounds like a Saturday Night Live sketch of an annoying announcer - except he's being serious, and it kind of makes me nauseous. I swear, one of these days, Fairly is going to say something like If Moyer goes out there and throws a no-hitter, the Rangers are going to have a tough time getting a hit!
- I think the M's offense might lead the league in fly outs to the warning track.
- The Mariners are looking sloppy: Ichiro getting picked off / caught stealing, Aurilia dropping that pop fly, Randy Winn and Ichiro making bad throws to home, Boone botching two plays...
- What the hell is that overlapping pitcher thing? That's pretty cool. I'd like to see a pitcher's first pitch and last pitch overlapped to see how much their delivery changes over the course of a game.


Willie F Bloomquist was just on KJR with Dave Mahler as part of a weekly show that's called "Tuesday's with Willie", replacing the "Tuesday's with Nellie" program that ran the past couple of seasons on Softy's show. Asked about Dan Wilson's attempted steal of second yesterday (with Willie at the bat), Willie said he thought that "Dano had the green light since I got down in the count 0-2". He went on to say, "it's a no-lose situation, "if the catcher throws the ball into center field (which is pretty much what would have to happen for Wilson to be safe), then he's in scoring position. If not, then I lead off the next inning with a fresh count. It's no big deal."

No big deal? Gee, who would you rather have leading off the next inning, Ichiro or Mr. Automatic Out, Willie Bloomquist? This guy's not just a bad player, he's an idiot!
Steve Kelley from the Seattle Times also writes about the fans booing Aurilia and writes this: "Some of the boos he (Aurilia) heard yesterday were directed as much at the Mariners front office as they were at him." Again, I wish it were true, but I don't think so.

Yeah, M's fans apparently have their booing and cheering mixed up. They boo Aurilia in his first at bat and cheer for the stupid, annoying, still not funny or even slightly amusing (the list goes on and on) dancing grounds crew.
This just in: Willie Bloomquist pretty much admits in Wednesday's P-I that his RBI double off Bartolo Colon (which was really just a pop fly that fell in) was basically luck. He's that poor of a hitter that he couldn't tell if the pitch was a fastball or a breaking pitch? Are you kidding me? While Bloomquist did make a fine defensive play on Jose Guillen's slow roller, it's getting a little tiring reading all these feel good stories about Bloomquist. Gee, isn't it cool that the local kid got a hit, even if he couldn't tell what kind a pitch it was. Ha, ha, ha... Bloomquist's personal punching bag (aka the only pitcher Willie can hit), Jarrod Washburn is on the mound tomorrow night, so he'll be in the lineup but after that I think it's time to give Jolbert Cabrera or Dave Hansen a couple of starts at 3B.


Asked if his double off hard-throwing Bartolo Colon was off a fastball or a breaking pitch, Bloomquist couldn't quite say for sure: "I'm just trying to see ball, hit ball and get some good contact on him. "He made a good pitch, and I guess it was just bad placement on that one."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Since moving to Seattle ten years ago, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about how classy the fans are here, that we have the most polite sports fans in the country. Well, I'm sorry, but that's just a bunch of BS. Rich Aurilia, playing in his first game with the M's, muffs a DP grounder in the first inning, then can't handle a rocket throw from Ichiro in the second inning. So he comes to bat for the first time as a Mariner ---- and he gets heartily booed by the Safeco "faithful".

The booing probably had more to do with the lack of baseball knowledge among fans at Safeco. Heck, 3/4 of the fans at today's game have probably never even heard of Rich Aurilia, let alone are unaware that he's a solid major league veteran who will give the M's more this season than Carlos Guillen has the past few seasons. But hey, Jamie Moyer came off the mound today after giving up 3 bombs and 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings and from the ovation he received, you'd have thought he was leaving the game with a shutout. As Jason at USS Mariner correctly points out, if Freddy Garcia had left a game with the pitching line Moyer had today, he'd have been booed.

Art Thiel writes about the fans booing Aurilia in his column in Wednesday's P-I. Thiel seems to think that the booing is a backlash of sorts from fans frustrated that the M's sign "B-list" players like Aurilia this off-season while the Angels were signing the likes of Vladimir Guerrero. I'd like to think that the average M's fan is sophisticated enough to be pissed off like that, but I doubt it. As Thiel himself writes, the M's only lost some 500 or so season ticket holders from last season.
Norm Charlton just threw out the first pitch. Unfortunately, he'll need to have another surgery to repair the damage it caused. Oh well, at least it didn't get hit 450 feet.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Eddie Guardado is questionable for opening day after leaving today's game vs. the Padres without throwing a pitch. He's reporting shoulder stiffness. With Soriano not quite 100% (it seems), I'd bet on Shigetoshi Hasegawa getting the nod for closing duties until Guardado is ready.
Milton Bradley's been traded to the Dodgers, who didn't give up much more to get him than they got from the Mariners for Jolbert F Cabrera. Once again Paul DePodesta shows why he should have been hired as Mariner GM instead of Bavasi. He took advantage of the Indians desperation to trade Bradley and only gave up an outfielder from A ball and a player to be named later. Really, that's not much more value than giving up A ball pitcher Ryan Ketchner and ready for the majors reliever Aaron Looper. Go Bavasi Go!
This just in from the Tacoma News Tribune: The M's were offered Milton Bradley by Cleveland but passed because of his lack of respect for authority figures. The article goes on to add that if the M's could have traded Randy Winn straight up for Bradley they would have done so but the Tribe wanted young pitching. So they went and traded some of that young pitching for Jolbert Cabrera? Huh?
Initially I had the same thought about this move, that there could be a silver lining cause Willie B would go down to Tacoma when Spiezio comes back. Then I realized that by the time Spiezio comes back they're likely to be down to 11 pitchers. This deal ultimately means that Ramon Santiago gets buried in T-Town all year. And they don't need 12 pitchers, they're just keeping 12 because they're under this insane delusion that they can get someone at some point to take Kevin Jarvis and his crazy salary. How many games will Jarvis lose for us before he's released?
While I agree with everything my man Jason over at USS Mariner says about the trade, I think that there is something positive about it, as well. As a lot of us males can testify to, if you wait until the 24th of December to go Christmas shopping, you are stuck with what you can get. And you have to overpay. To go and get Cabrera right now, the M's are admitting that Wee Willie Bull@&$# is not much of a player. This to me says that Willie goes when Spezio comes back. Even if they overpaid to get his replacement, I'm happy about this. In a poor offseason, this looks like one of the better moves. Yeah, they overpaid to get him, but Cabrera immediately becomes the best hitter off a poor bench. The six HR's he put up in 300 AB's last year are about 5 more than you'd expect Willie to put up. An OPS+ of 100 is pretty good for a utility guy, and something they'll need if they really plan on being a contender this year. I've been drinking Ouzo all night, and I'm a little confused, but this looks like a step in the right direction going into the season.
As much as nobody in Seattle seems to like the Jolbert Cabrera deal, they're none too happy about it in LA either. Perennial grump TJ Simers of the LA Times, under the headline "This is Dodgers Idea of a Blockbuster Trade" pans the deal and says that at times last year, Cabrera was the Dodgers best hitter.
Bo Mel's Lovefest with Willie F Bloomquist continues in today's Seattle Times. Bloomquist has hit .219 this spring with zero home runs, but Bob Melvin believes he's "coming around". "The last few days he has swung the bat a lot better, which is good," Melvin said. "Some guys who don't hit well all spring, all of a sudden when the bell rings there's some hits in their back pocket. All it takes is one or two to get you ignited." This is a nightmare -- when Willie Bloomquist is your starting third baseman, your club is in trouble. What's worse is when your field manager doesn't realize that it's a problem. Hits in his back pocket? That's just nuts...

One more note on the trade to get Cabrera --- it's likely that the M's could have sent LA another prospect instead of Looper, but they needed to trade someone off the 40 man roster in order to make room for Cabrera. And perhaps they traded Looper as a favor to his dad, the M's VP of player development and scouting. He'll get more of a shot with the Dodgers than he would have in Seattle.
The M's have finally made a trade (not for Milton Bradley) and as Jason at USS Mariner aptly points out, Bill Bavasi has been fleeced again, this time by new Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta (you know, the former Oakland assistant GM that the M's didn't even bother to talk to about the GM job...). Bavasi traded two pitching prospects, right-hander Aaron Looper and left-hander Ryan Ketchner to acquire utilityman Jolbert Cabrera, who had a career year with the Dodgers last year at age 30. Neither Looper or Ketchner were among the M's top prospects and Looper especially didn't have much of a chance for a career in Seattle with the M's bullpen depth, but as Jason points out, Cabrera is not the kind of player you trade two pitching prospects for, he's a guy you pick up on waivers or sign as a minor league free agent in the off-season.

Yes, Cabrera hit .282 with 6 home runs and 37 RBI last year, when he received the most playing time of his career. Yes, he can play all four infield positions and all three outfield positions, but is he significantly better than what the Mariners already had in the organization? No, no really. And if this deal was made because the club suspects that Scott Spiezio may be out for a significant period of time, the M's should have noticed that Cabrera has played just 8 games at third base the last two seasons (and a total of 35 games at 3B in his big league career).

I might have liked this deal a lot more if it meant that Willie Bloomquist went to the minors because of it but I've just learned that Ramon Santiago was sent down tonight, so despite his great spring training Santiago is the one who loses his roster spot to Cabrera. The other possible upside is that Cabrera may get the starts at first base vs. left handed pitching that previously were going to go to Bloomy by default. Cabrera mashed lefties last year (.307/.336/.489) with 17 of his 32 doubles coming against southpaws. Where he suddenly got the power to hit home runs is very strange --- in 585 AB's in the majors before last year he'd hit exactly three home runs. He then hit 6 last year in 347 AB's -- and added four more in spring training this year (twice he had two home runs in a game). Cabrera's salary this year is $1 million, which means that the M's have now burned another million bucks of the "Sasaki Fund" on a non-impact player. Before you know it they'll be down to a couple of hundred thousand left to add someone in July...Seattle will have an $1.5 million option on Cabrera for the 2005 season.

The other news tonight, which is not at all unexpected, is that Mike Myers has made the team and Terry Mulholland was released. This means that Kevin Jarvis has made the club, which is just insane. More on that later -- all I have to say now about it is that Bo Mel better not use Jarvis in any games unless the team is at least 7 runs up or 7 runs down. Melvin lost us at least three games last year by using Giovanni Carrara in situations where the M's were down a run or two...

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Here's a couple of quotes from the Milton Bradley interview: "I'm fun to hang out with. I joke a lot. I think I'm a pretty smart guy. Baseball is just what I do, not who I am. People make you out as what they want you to be, even if they've never met you." When asked what pitcher he hates facing the most, Bradley replied "Pretty much anybody on the Yankees staff".
While it looks like Seattle 3B Scott Spiezio will open the season on the DL with a back problem, the Angels have their share of bumps and bruises too. Stud reliever Brendan Donnelly is on the DL with severe bleeding from a broken nose. Their starting catcher, Bengie Molina tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday and won't play in this weekend's games vs. LA. New left fielder Jose Guillen is day-to-day after being hit on the wrist with a pitch. And finally, opening day starter Bartolo Colon was hit on the shin by a line drive in his last start. He's got a knot in his shin but will make the start.
Geez, I can't believe that Milton Bradley has not updated his blog since March 11th, especially with all the exciting stuff happening this week... There a live interview with Bradley (from March 24th) on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's site. To listen, click here.
The LA Times writes in its Saturday edition that the Dodgers are pursuing Milton Bradley. The article starts off this way: "With one last and unexpected chance to land a big hitter before the season starts Monday, the Dodgers are pursuing a trade for outfielder Milton Bradley..." So at least one team out there is able to recognize that it's a unique opporunity to obtain a player of Bradley's caliber, even if your Seattle Mariners apparently don't see him as an upgrade over their current outfield.

Friday, April 02, 2004

OK, it's official -- both our General Manager and our field manager are incompetent dolts and should be fired immediately (if not sooner). Saturday's Seattle P-I has quotes from both Bill Bavasi and Bob Melvin about Milton Bradley. The Mariners are denying reports that they are one of the teams that's interested in Bradley. Bavasi told the P-I, "We're happy with our roster the way it is." Even more amazingly, Bob Melvin said "I don't know where I'd play him. I like our outfield."

I don't know where I'd play him? How about in center field where he'd be a huge defensive upgrade over Randy Winn? And offensively Bradley had a .922 OPS, higher than anybody on the M's last year (Bret Boone was tops with a .902 OPS). He's young (25), he's cheap ($1.7 million) and he'd instantly be one of the best hitters on the Seattle team. He makes less than half the salary of Winn or Raul Ibanez and is a much better player than both (heck he's seven years younger than Ibanez!!!). He's a switch-hitter so with him on the team you could ensure that Ibanez would never have to play against left-handers, who he cannot hit. And with Winn, Ibanez and Bradley all around you not only make sure that Quinton McCracken sees very little action but Melvin could actually rest Ichiro once a week so that he doesn't fall apart in the second half (as he has in each of the past two seasons).

I can see that Seattle management is already setting the fans up for excuses why they don't end up spending the millions from the Sasaki windfall this summer. This "we like our team" BS is the same crap that Pat Gillick was spewing last June and July when he told the media that he liked the club he had and didn't think he could make a move because it would impact Wille F. Bloomquist's spot on the roster! Unbelievable...
Lee Sinins reported in his latest e-mail update that "The Dodgers, Mariners, Mets and Rangers are rumored to be interested in trading for Milton Bradley". Don't know where those rumors are from as I haven't seen anything other than specualation inside the blogosphere, but...
David Cameron at USS Mariner revealed in a post yesterday that the Mariners tried to obtain Milton Bradley last year despite his character issues, so perhaps there is hope that Seattle will trade for Bradley. That deal reportedly fell apart when the M's refused to give up Clint Nageotte. I don't know that the M's will be any more inclined to give up Nageotte now since a) they'll feel that Cleveland is desperate to move him and b) the Mariners seem so darn satisfied with the outfield they've put together. Cameron proposes either a straight swap of Nageotte for Bradley or a package involving Jose Lopez, catching prospect Rene Rivera and a relief prospect like Aaron Looper or J.J. Putz. Given how much Bob Melvin and the M's are in love with Jose Lopez, I highly doubt they'll be willing to trade him. It looks like there will be several suitors for Bradley so I think the M's will have to make a solid offer to get the deal done. That's if they're even interested at this point -- Jim Baker at ESPN.com lists 15 teams that could use Bradley (Insider subscription required) and the M's are not one of them.
Oh great! Look who's supposedly interested in Milton Bradley! The Oakland A's, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, are one of four teams who are interested in Bradley (the Dodges, Pirates and Rangers are the others). Rosenthal also says that the Indians have made it clear that they will trade Bradley by Sunday night.
Hard hitting column from Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times today, in which Kelley says that Ken Griffey, Jr. won't be returning to Seattle because Howard Lincoln won't have it. Kelley maintains that a Seattle writer was told by Lincoln last year that Griffey would return "over my dead body". Sounds like the Howard Lincoln I know of. Best of all was the ending in which Kelley wrote:
"Poll question: If given the choice, who would you rather have in Seattle? Griffey? Or Lincoln? Kelley, Art Thiel of the P-I and at times Larry Stone (Seattle Times) are really the only mainstream baseball writers in Seattle who would have the balls to write such a thing. Good for Steve Kelley.
There's an impact player very much available on the trade market right now -- and hopefully the M's are involved in the bidding. Cleveland OF Milton Bradley, who had a breakout season last year, hitting .321 with 10 HR's and 56 RBI (despite missing the last six weeks of the season with a bad back, limiting him to 101 games and 377 AB's). He also had 17 steals and a .421 OBP. Bradley's salary is definitely a fit, as he makes only $1.7 million and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2006 season.

What doesn't fit unforunately is that as talented as he is, Milton Bradley is exactly the kind of player Seattle Mariners management doesn't want. A guy with personal problems who has been in trouble on and off the field. The latest incident that has the Tribe looking to deal Bradley ASAP occurred yesterday when Indians manager Eric Wedge pulled him from a spring training game for failing to run out a pop fly. Bradley left the team in the middle of the game and the club has vowed to trade him. Bradley got into legal trouble this off-season when he was stopped for speeding and then bolted from the police. He's due to serve a three day jail sentence on that charge.

Despite the character issue, this is a move the M's can and should make, one that will greatly improve the starting lineup and their weak bench but still allow the club to have a lot of money to go after a player or players at the July 31 trading deadline. Even with M's math, getting Bradley (and not trading an outfielder or other high salaried player) leaves the club with at least $5 million of The Sasaki Fund to spend in July (and since you're only paying two months of a new player's salary, that could buy them 2 months of one $8 million player and one $7 million player (or theoretically, a Carlos Beltran ($9 mil) and two $3 million a year players).

The renowned Terry Pluto of the Akron Beacon Journal has this column up about Bradley and today's New York Times quotes Mets GM Jim Duquette as sayiing, "We're definitely considering him". The Mets are not one of the 4 or 5 teams that Indians GM Mark Shapiro says he's been talking to.

Hopefully the M's have been talking to Shapiro. Seattle P-I baseball writer David Andriesen says it's "not known" if the M's are one of hte clubs talking to the Tribe. I'm not sure if I'd give up Clint Nageotte but Rett Johnson and J.J. Putz should do the trick. Or expand the deal to include Ryan Franklin and have the Indians add 27-year old left hander Jeriome Robertson to the deal. Cleveland is anxious to be rid of Bradley, the M's should be just as anxious to acquire him.

The last bad character guy on the Mariners (other than Al Martin) was Vince Coleman, who the M's acquired in August of 1995. Coleman was only 9 months removed from an ugly incident while playing for the Dodgers, when he threw a firecracker at a young child in the players' parking lot. All Vince Coleman did was help the M's obtain their first playoff spot. He hit .290 with 16 stolen bases in 40 games (a 65-steal pace over a full season), giving them the leadoff hitter the team sorely lacked. He helped the M's come back from a 6-0 deficiit in a crucial September game vs. Oakland with a grand slam -- the first of his career -- and the next to last home run of his major league career. The M's tied for the division that year (won it in a one-game playoff) so had they won one less game -- and they surely would have if they hadn't obtained Coleman, there'd have been no '95 playoffs, no Safeco Field, et. al.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Don't believe all the hype about small sample sizes -- there is a difference between a guy going 7-for-12 and 4-for-19 against the same pitcher. I remember three or four years ago screaming when Piniella brought in Jose Mesa to face Paul O'Neill. Didn't he realize that O'Neill was 7-for-7 vs. Mesa (with 2 walks)? He got the game-winning hit. Then last year when Bo Mel let Cammy bat in mid-September vs. Percival with the tying run on third (and one out) in the ninth. Cammy had K'd seven times in seven AB's vs. Percival. Three pitch strikeout.


No, BoMel's right to start Ibanez on Opening Day. Not because he's our "fan-friendly" free-agent signing, but because he's a better hitter than McCracken. Those batter-pitcher matchups, while interesting, shouldn't really be a factor when filling out the lineup card because most of the time the sample sizes are just too small.
It's official: Bartolo Colon will start on opening day for the Angels vs. Jamie Moyer. And believe it or not our starting left-fielder (or CF, with Winn moving to LF) that day should be none other than Quinton McCracken, who is 7-for-12 lifetime vs. Colon. Raul Ibanez, the starting LF is 4-for-19 against Colon. I'd bet all the money I have that Bo Mel starts Ibanez despite the numbers. I can imagine Melvin's explanation: "We can't have our big free agent signing sitting on the bench on opening day -- what would our fans* think?" Also, Ramon Santiago is 6-for-11 in his career against Colon, but he's likely to be in Tacoma at the expense of keeping Wee Willie Bloomquist. Melvin again: "Yeah we all know Santiago's a better player, but we just couldn't afford to send Willie down, we have a lot of season ticket holders from the Port Orchard area. Plus I know that Willie bought a lot of tickets for his friends and family for the first homestand. I just couldn't break the kid's heart. How could I face him ever again?"

For those of you who don't know (here comes the shameless plug) those batter/pitcher matchups are contained in every issue of The Grand Salami, the program we sell outside Safeco Field before all M's games. Our first issue of the year comes out on Tuesday, with Boone on the cover, our 2004 season preview, an interview with Bill Bavasi, a lengthy interview with Art Thiel about his book, Howard Lincoln and what's wrong with the M's philospohies and of course, the batter/pitcher matchups for all the teams coming to Safeco in April (and much, much more!). Make sure to pick up a copy before the games or to subscribe click on the link at the top left of this page.

*Those fools that pay $45 each for tickets, who buy up all the $7 beers and $4 hot dogs.

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