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Friday, May 28, 2004

Don't look now, but we may have to start thinking about Luis Ugueto as a prospect. After a grim first three weeks or so, he's really turned it on. With a homerun in both games of Wednesday's soaked double-header, he's slugging just shy of .500. He's got the average up to .288, and he's taking a walk or two. Reportedly, he's got a great work ethic and a good attitude. He's been playing a lot of left field, and is on the forty-man, so might be a long-shot to take the place of Nageotte in a day or two. I'm sure it'll probably be Jamal Strong, who also deserves a look, but I hope Luis keeps up the good work. Hell, I'd like to see something good come out of keeping him cooling on the bench all of 2002.

Hats off to Rich Aurelia for his first Mariners homerun. Here's hoping he'll hit another one someday.

Apologies about the lack of posts this week. We've been having trouble with the site.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Travis Blackley is the PCL pitcher of the week. I got to see his three hitter on Sunday - a hell of a game. One of the hits was a bunt, another a routine groundball to a bizarrely out of position Ramon Santiago. So only one solid base hit through seven innings. Congrats Travis.

If recent T-town events are any indication, something is happening soon. The rotation is being juggled a bit, and I think (but am not entirely sure) that Madritsch skipped a start. Add that to the callup of Scott Maynard from Everett for a special start, and there is something amiss. Of course, with this organization, this is not necessarily a good thing. Probably either another torn labrum or we'll be getting another switch-hitting utility infielder.

My guess: goodbye Gil. Sorry about wrecking your arm and all. Good luck with your new organization. Hopefully, they keep the fences good and far from the plate.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

So, I was having problems with Blogger and I meant to post this on Sunday, but anyway, here are a couple things...

1)I'm really scared that the Mariners are going to re-sign Dan Wilson. Wilson is having a career year, currently hitting .318/.356/.427. Ben Davis was sent down to AAA and is scraping by in Tacoma, hitting .194 with one extra-base hit in 31 at-bats. Can Wilson hold up at this pace? Probably not. Hopefully Davis will go on a tear, but in the meantime, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

2) After Sunday's game, I was really hoping that BoMel had finally realized to use his best reliever in key situations. I was at the game and seriously did a triple-take at the scoreboard in the 8th inning when Guardado came in. But, according to this quote the Mariners' official Web site, Bob Melvin isn't a changed man...
"We were OK doing it on [Sunday], but I don't want to do that very often," Melvin said. "It's tough to bring a guy back the next day, especially a closer used to pitching one inning."
I guess you really can't teach an old dog new tricks...


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Click here for downloadable MP3 files of the Lee Elia tirade that Matt referred to, and one of my personal favorites, Earl Weaver, going on a rampage!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

I'd personally root for him to go all Lee Elia on the post-game press conference. Lose his temper and start flinging the f word around without regard. Go down in flames, Bob!

Seriously, any organization in baseball except this one (well, maybe the Royals - they stuck with Muser for a long time) would fire Melvin after the Orioles complete the sweep. The M's will probably give him another extension.
What's the over/under on how many days before Bob Melvin cries during a postgame interview? 5 days? A week?
Whether you want to call that pitch on Edgar a ball or a strike, the fact is, it was close enough that he should have taken a cut. With a full count, you swing at anything close - every Little Leaguer in America knows that.
The camera crew for Fox Sports just showed that Bob Boone was at the game with Grady Little. After being fired as manager of the Red Sox, Little is now a scout for the Chicago Cubs. This is just me thinking out loud, but even though Todd Walker is off to a hot start, could the Cubs be interested in Boone, who has more power and is a superior fielder? Does Dusty miss Rich Aurilia? Or is Grady just enjoying a game with his buddy?
As much as I like Boonie, I don't think he'll be worth his $9 million option next year, as a 36 year old. And hey - the M's like local boys and I sure wouldn't mind seeing Andy Sisco on Dave Cameron's Future Forty!
Putting Niehaus and Fairly in the stands seems to be distracting them. There's not too many positive things to say about the team, so the broadcast crew spent a half-inning trying to lure people to Safeco by talking about all the great food available in the stadium. If you want to pay $5.25 for a couple chocolate covered strawberries or $6.75 for two bites of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, be my guest. But there's better (and cheaper!) food available outside the stadium. Dave then asked Ron about the possibility of smell-o-vision right before Dan Wilson hit a 15-hopper to short. Quality entertainment folks...

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Actually, as Jason points out, Boone needs 450 AB's this year for his option to vest, so there's one reason he doesn't want to go on the DL right there. But yeah, the M's will pick up the option even if it doesn't vest. The one thing I disagree with Jason on is that he says he doesn't want any of the M's free agents back, with the exception of Edgar. Edgar shouldn't have even been on the team this year -- if he'd retired the team would have been able to sign Rafael Palmeiro for less money (but of course they probably would have figured out a way to screw that up anyway...). Palmeiro signed for $4 mllion bucks this year with Baltimore. Edgar's got a base of $3 million with another $4 million in incentives based on him playing most of the time. Palmeiro will produce more than Edgar this year even if Edgar stays healthy and, unlike Edgar, he can actually run the bases and still plays the field when needed. I know, I know, it's close to blashpemy to question Edgar, but I'm not a Seattle native like Jason. I agree with Jason to a point -- Edgar can play here as long as he likes -- if he plays for free or close to it ($1 or $2 million). Unfortunately the M's may be paying $7 mil for Edgar to hit .265 with 10 homers and 59 RBI. That's not gonna cut it...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Everyone should try to see Alex Cora's 18 pitch at-bat against Matt Clement. It's sweet. Bob Melvin would have probably brought in 3 relief pitchers for an at-bat that long.

Jason wrote over at the USS Mariner that Boone is the Mariners' most tradeable player. While I don't want the Mariners to pick up his $9 million option next year, you know they will. With Edgar, Wilson and Olerud presumably leaving, the Mariners need Boone - to put soccer moms in the seats!
Yesterday's game got me thinking...
With 18 hits and one walk, the Mariners only scored 6 runs - horribly inefficient. How do the M's stack up in offensive efficiency? To measure this, I divided a team's runs by their baserunners (H+BB+HBP). This is just a rough look and doesn't account for all baserunners. You can still reach on error, fielder's choice or a dropped third strike. But, here's a chart showing how the teams rank. It's not the only reason teams win or lose ballgames, but it's interesting: OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY.doc

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

What the hell happened with that play at home? I really wanted to see a replay, but apparently "American Idol" just couldn't wait. Maybe they should combine the two shows. It could be very entertaining to hear Simon Cowell call Randy Winn's arm "absolutely terrible" or calling Bob Melvin "a bloody idiot."
But seriously - the word's out - every third base coach in the AL probably knows to test Winn's arm every chance they get. Piniero finally had a good outing and it was ruined by Melvin's use of the bullpen.
And the offense...6 runs on 18 hits? How pathetic is that? Out of the M's 20 baserunners (18 hits, 1 BB and 1 reached base on error), only 6 managed to cross home plate. Ouch!
Soriano's on the DL with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament that scares the crap out of me, Boone's wearing a weightlifting belt and might be one of his HUGE swings away from blowing out his back, Edgar's always fragile, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Without something drastically changing for the better, it's going to be a long summer...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Excuses, excuses, excuses: I found this bit from the Mariners web site quite amusing. It discusses Randy Winn's weak arm and the fact that opposing teams have been taking extra bases on Winn all season. Winn says "
"People even run on Ichiro and he has one of the best arms in the game," Yeah Randy, guys run on Ichiro all the time. Nice defense, about as good as your defense in CF this year. The difference is that everybody runs on Winn and he throws nobody out (his only assist this year was on a throw that was cut off by an infielder) and Ichiro throws guys out when they run. When you throw like Randy Winn, guys will continue to run on your pathetic arm.

While Jose Lopez is hitting well (.290-ish, slugging over .500), it is time to stop thinking about him as the shortstop of the future. Through this weekend, he's only played one game there in T-town. So far, he's split pretty evenly between third and second. My guess is that this is a fair assessment (50/50) of the chance of seeing Bret Boone at second next year. You want to push for someone right now? How about Jamal Strong, who is just shy of .400 in his first 50 AB's, and made a couple of dynamite catches to preserve Blackley's shutout yesterday. The second of these involved running five feet up the big centerfield wall - the best CF catch I've seen since Mike Cameron v. 2002. Strong isn't going to knock it out of the park, but then neither is Winn.
Apparently I'm not the only one admitting that it's over --- Steve Kelley has a piece, "Time to Mourn late, great M's" in Monday's Seattle Times that skewers the Mariners. The media is so tame in this town -- if this kind of piece were more prevalent, maybe the M's arrogant management would care. But they have so many sportswriters in this town in the back of their hand, that a column like this is rare indeed...

Sunday, May 09, 2004

That old Yogi Berra saying goes "It Ain't Over Til It's Over". Well folks, not to be a quitter, but it's pretty clear that it's OVER.

Your Seattle Mariners blew a 6-0 lead today against New York and are now 9 1/2 games behind the Anaheim Angels and in last place in the American League West (they're also 7 games behind Texas, the leaders in the Wild Card race and 3 behind Oakland).

The Angels have Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad and Brendan Donnelly all on the disabled list and Jose Guillen went out today with a sprained knee and ankle and they continue to win. The Seattle Mariners, on the other hand, have no players of note on the DL, just Willie F Bloomquist, whose injury has improved the team as it's forced their pathetic manager Bob "Bo Mel" Melvin to play Jolbert Cabrera instead of Bloomquist.

Never mind that Melvin still hasn't had Cabrera (7 straight starts with a hit, 11 hits in those games) in the lineup as often as he should because of his ridiculous devotion to lefty/right nonsense. To illustrate this point, about ten days or so ago, Cabrera had some important hits in the M's series at Baltimore and threw out a runner at second base from center field, showing off an arm that Randy F Winn only dreams of having. After the final game vs. the Orioles, Melvin acknowledged Cabrera's performance but said "I don't think he'll be starting in the next series (at Detroit) because they're starting three right-handers." Since that time Cabrera has started twice vs. right-handers, both times when Bret Boone was forced out of the lineup with back spasms. Melvin probably didn't notice since he's so stuck on lefty/righty but Cabrera got four hits in the two games he started vs. righties, including Friday's win over the Yankees.

Perhaps the problem with the Mariners is they haven't had enough injuries! If only John Olerud and Randy Winn and Rich Aurilia could have gone out with injuries and been replaced by better players (oh wait, as usual we have very few positional prospects -- great scouting, great work by Gillick and Bavasi in identifying minor league hitters on other teams worthy of acquiring) we might have had a shot at getting out of this hole.

Olerud is done -- his hitting reminds me of Lou Gehrig early in the 1939 season (before he retired). Olerud's currently at .250 with a .350 slugging percentage. He made a great defensive play at first today to take away a base hit and is still a Gold Glover defensively, but it's time for him to retire. If not retire, he should at least have the decency to admit he's not earning his $7.7 million and offer to give the team 90% of it back. For $700,000, fine, why quibble, let him keep a million bucks, he'd be a mighty fine defensive replacement. Sorry, John, but this is the second year in a row when you're just out there stealing money. Teams just don't pay guys nearly $8 million to hit 10 home runs like Olerud did last year (this year he's on pace for roughly 5 home runs and 40 RBI)...

While the M's will be done with Olerud's insane contract at the end of the current season, they're stuck with Randy Winn's contract for two more seasons. Winn, who'll be paid $3.75 mil a year, is best cast as a fourth outfielder and should be making $1.5 million at most. Nobody but your Seattle Mariners would pay nearly $4 million for a guy who rarely hits home runs and has no power. Winn is currently hitting .233 with a ghastly slugging percentage of .311 and playing the worst defensive center field in baseball. But hey, I'm sure that Randy Winn is a great guy and I'm certain he's got some great recipes to contribute to the annual wives' cookbook...

Likewise, I'm sure Rich Aurilia is a great guy too, but he's been downright Cirilloesque this year. After hitting 4 doubles in the M's three-game opening series vs. Anaheim (all losses), Aurilia has had exactly TWO extra base hits (both doubles) in the last 28 games!!!! Also, Aurilia had nine RBI in the team's first four games of the season and has just three more RBI in the last 27 games!! I couldn't make these numbers up if I tried! Aurilia is currently hitting .217 with a slugging percentage below Olerud and Winn (.274). Believe it or not, as bad as he played for the Mariners, after Cirillo's first 31 games with the team (where the M's are right now), he was hitting .265 with a .425 slugging percentage, 5 HR's, 22 RBI and 5 stolen bases!! 2001 sure seems like a long time ago -- Auriia, who hit 37 homers that year, hasn't come close to hitting one yet for the M's (and he didn't even have one in spring training!).

Both Bob Melvin and the Mariners organization are oblivious to the struggles these players are having, as they keep insisting that these are good players and that they'll perform up to their capabilities any day now. Melvin in particular, came out with this gem recently, stating that if he shook things up it'd be a sign of panic. So Melvin is more concerned with what things look like to outsiders than actually recognizing that the team has problems that need to be addressed and trying to fix them.

Besides the Cabrera situation, here's another example that shows that Melvin and the Seattle organization are terrible at evaluating talent. JJ Putz came up from Triple-A in the middle of the year last year and was dominating in his one appearance for the M's, but he and his 95 MPH fastball were sent back down quickly when they needed a roster spot. He returned in September but wasn't giving any meaningful innings. 2004 comes around and the team re-signs Hasegawa to a two-year deal at $3 mil a year, they sign lefties Mike Myers, Terry Mulholland and Ron Villone (2 of which make the team) and they allow Kevin Jarvis to make the club out of spring training. Putz, despite a stellar spring, had no chance to make the team. He's up now for the second time this year and, pitching exclusively in blowouts, has pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed no runs, one hit, one walk and struck out ten. Yet, when Willie Bloomquist is ready to come off the DL in a few days, who do you think will be sent down to Tacoma? None other than J.J. Putz, because that special something that Bloomquist brings to the ballclub (the stuff you don't see in the box score or on the stats page or at the stadium or on your TV set) is just what this team is missing to turn things around. The Mariners are 2-7 in games started by Willie Bloomquist this year...
The Rainiers swept a double-header from Salt Lake today, 1-0 and 6-1. The first game was a Travis Blackley complete game gem. Travis is a new Grand Salami favorite courtesy of his kindness to a certain contributor at the game last night. If today is an indication of where he is, he'll be up soon. He beat Chris Bootcheck - hopefully the first of many as far as that goes. Justin Leone had homers in both games - nice going Justin.

I hear that unlike the Rainiers, another team in the system was unable to hold onto a six run lead. Man, am I glad I didn't go to that game. Those young Republican Yankee fans give me the creeps.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Matt -- Nobody's harsher on Randy Winn's than me, but that throw was on the money and the runner was nailed. It doesn't matter where the runner was when Winn fielded the ball, if Winn makes his usual Randy F. Winn throw, it's way off line and the runner scores easily, regardless of where he was when Randy the Great released the ball. We've seen Winn throw the ball up both lines, we've seen him mishandle the ball when he had a great shot at a runner at home, but never this year before tonight did we see Randy Winn throw the ball well enough to get it to the base, home, third or second before a runner got there. While this is certainly a breakthrough --- adrenealine from the Yankees being here?, I don't expect to see it happen again (they can't coach him to throw better if he has a truly terrible arm, can they?)
Actually. Cabrera's three-hit effort tonight was the Mariners' fifeeenth three-hit game of the year (in 29 games). Ichiro leads the club with three and Dan Wilson (!), Bret Boone and Scott Spiezio each have two. Edgar, Olerud, Ibanez, Winn, Aurilia each have one apiece. As for two-hit games, Ichiro also leads there, with 8, with Boone and Ibanez tied for second with six two-hit games. Edgar, with his double and home run tonight, now has five, Winn and Olerud have four each, Spiezio, three, Cabrera and Aurilia, two and Dave Hansen and the dearly departed Ben Davis have one two-hit game each.

Jolbert Cabrera has now hit safely in his last six starts with ten hits in those six starts!
Sorry to say but I'm still in the "Bob Melvin is a Bumbing Idiot and should be fired"camp. Take tonight's game for example -- with better options in the pen (Mateo, Putz, Soriano if he's at least 90%) in a game this team desperately needed, Melvin used Shigetoshi Hasegawa with a 6-2 lead and two runners on in the 7th inning. Two of the first three hitters he faced, Kenny Lofton and Derek Jeter, had rocked him in the past, with Jeter 8-for-14 and Lofton 4-for-8 vs. him. And those numbers were compiled when Hasegawa was good! Hasegawa got 3 of 4 hitters out but in that situation and with those numbers I would have gone with one of the better options. Ron Villone would have been a better option there too...



Jeez, Jon, I know you're excited about beating the Yanks and all, but... That throw from Randy Winn was released as the runner was coming into third from short center. Yeah, it was on target, but it almost grazed the underside of the roof as it blooped in. Even Kirk Gibson threw someone out a couple times a year.

Ben Davis got three hits in a game last ..- oh wait, that was three hits over five weeks.

Hero tonight: Edgar Martinez. Here I was ready to send him off to Sun City a couple nights ago, and for one night at least, he swings like a 38-year-old version of himself. Welcome back, Edgar. Hope you can stay. Honorable mention to Ryan Franklin for five strikeouts, including three in the second. Did anyone expect to hear "Franklin strikes out the side" come out of Fairly's mouth tonight?
Goat: I guess I've got to go with Lieber. He didn't have a sharp breaking pitch tonight, and he struggled putting guys away. He snuck by the Royals, but good teams are going to pound him until he can put hitters away with two strikes. Special mention to A-Rod for leaving four runners out there.

Is anybody else struck by how little New York is getting out of their biggest contracts so far this year? Yeah, it's early, but they've also been playing Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay an awful lot. Yankee fans, meet your leading hitter, Ruben Sierra.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I'm not sure about this, but it definitely seems like Jolbert Cabrera's three-hit game tonight was the first three-hit game for the M's this year. There have probably been others (I'll check), but I don't recall them. Cabrera should be used like Mark McLemore was in 2001 and 2002, starting 4 or so games a week, at a bunch of different positions. One or two games in CF a week, one or two games a week at 1B against lefthanders, a game a week at SS (more if Aurilia continues to struggle) and a game every now and again at 3B to give Spiezio a day off. With Cabrera around, Willie Bloomquist, when he returns from the DL, should NEVER see the starting lineup. Heck, maybe they'll finally decide that since Cabrera does Willie's job much better than Willie does, that Willie's job should be in Tacoma and they can acquire another bat for the bench to take Bloomquist's roster spot (or a slugging OF like Carlos Beltran, moving Randy Winn to the bench). As a bench player, Randy Winn would be one of the best in the league (and of course he'd also be one of the highest paid bench players ever at $3.75 million).

Speaking of Randy Winn, he made the throw of his life tonight against the Yankees. He had a runner thrown out at the plate but the ump called him safe. Sure the throw was from short CF, but Winn usually throws that ball way up the line. I didn't know he had it in him. Maybe Winn's feeling footsteps, with Cabrera showing he can play a better CF and hit with some pop...
Although I couldn't watch the game, judging from the box score...
Hero: Freddy! What a pleasant surprise huh? I think he must have a clause in his new contract: "Make the All-Star team and you can put a keg in your locker."

Goat: Corey Koskie (0-4 with a throwing error).

Next up: The New York Yankees! With Jon Lieber, a struggling Mike Mussina and Donovan Osborne starting for the Yanks, can the M's make it 3 series wins in a row?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

If it's Thursday, and the Rainiers are in town, it must be dollar beer night. And that means time for another semi-regular Rainiers report.

Ben Davis made his first appearance in a Rainiers uniform tonight, and there was good news and bad news. The good news is he went 2 for 3 with a double that he absolutely crushed off the right field wall. A few feet higher and it was out of there. The bad news is that his head is clearly not in the game. He managed to get doubled off first in the third inning when he forgot how many outs there were on a fly ball. Then, he muffed a pop-up after dropping his mask under his feet. This stuff is not going to get him back to the show anytime soon.

The Rainiers are a lot of things the Mariners are not. For example, they are:

- good. The T-town 9 are in first place, and just completed a sweep of second place Edmonton.
- hitting with power. The Rainiers are second in the 16 team PCL in homers, playing in a pitchers park.
- missing bats. The Tacoma staff is ringing up the K's - at least 10 tonight.
- fun to watch. Especially given that you can sneak down to about five feet behind the catcher and watch the game from there.

Next Thursday home game, turn on 850 for some wholesome entertainment. After the beer tent closes in the fifth, the drunks head into the grandstand. Then the ridiculous drunken heckling begins. It's like having a ring side seat to the Darwin awards, but without the gore.

George Sherrill may not be the top prospect in Tacoma, but for a guy pitching in the independents last year, he's really putting up some numbers. Coming into tonight's game, he was at 14+ K's / 9 innings. Lefty's have trouble staying in the box against him, a good sign that he might be able to jump into a situational role.

Our other independent league find, Bobby Madritsch, is off to a good start, too. He's on the PCL leaderboard for strikeouts and ERA. He's got 37 K's in 34 innings. Hopefully, he'll be on the hill one of these Thursdays so I can see him for myself.

Top prospect Clint Nageotte was on the hill tonight, and he looked a little better than his last couple of outings. His control is still not sharp, and he pitches from behind a lot. Reminds me a bit of Jeff Nelson that way. His breaking pitch is tough on both righties and lefties. The radar guns only had him about 89 on his fast ball and low 80's for the slider - not that great for a power righty. He'll need to improve his command and maybe his velocity to make it to the next level.

Don't look for Pat Borders to be an immediate improvement on the big club. His OBP is a dismal .233 in his first 60 AB's. His BA is also .233, meaning he hasn't gotten a walk yet this season. I think Wiki would have been the choice, as he's hitting for average and power, but he's out with a hamstring injury. Sorry, Wiki, I guess you'll only get one chance in this life cycle to take Ben Davis' job.

Ramon Santiago, the jewel of the Carlos Guillen trade, is now at .179/.282/.221. Enough said.

Jose Lopez, who has some strange on deck rituals, is hitting well (.302/.350/.552), and continues to bounce around the diamond. Tonight was his second game at short this season. Maybe the struggles of Rich Aurelia will get him slotted back in as a shortstop.

Jamal Strong is back healthy, and is putting up Ichiriffic numbers in his first 50 AB's (.408/.482/.490). If he can keep up even close to this pace, it will be awfully hard to continue to justify weekly McCracken sightings on channel 30. Quinton is in the commercials, however.

After a tough start, Justin Leone is starting to come around - .274 / .330 / .583. He also has 5 errors in 21 games, 10 of which were in the outfield.

More in a couple weeks.
Apparently the Mariners didn't read my post yesterday (haha) as ESPN is reporting that Ben Davis was optioned to Tacoma in favor of Pat Borders. I wonder if he'll catch Freddy tonight...
Although Shannon Stewart and Jacque Jones both had great games (and Lew Ford is a stud!), I would have to say the hero of the game is Carlos Silva (8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB and 5 K).

Pineiro’s the obvious goat, but right now, the horns could be super-glued to Ben Davis’ catcher’s mask after whittling his average down to a meek .091 by going 0-2 with a strikeout and letting a pitch go to the backstop.
Personally, I still like Davis and hope that he comes around. Davis’ minor league career and early Major League numbers are actually pretty similar to those of another switch-hitting catcher in the American League, so there should still be hope.

Here is a breakdown by age. Stats were provided by Sports-Wired and some brief stints were omitted due to their small sample size.

PLAYER (age / level): BA/SLG (AB) BB/K HR
Davis (20 / high A): .278/.454 (474) 28/107 17
Posada (20 / low A): .235/.359 (217) 51/51 4

Davis (21 / AA): .286/.460 (433) 42/60 14
Posada (21 / A): .277/.472 (339) 58/87 12

Davis (22 / AAA/MLB): .357/.426 (467) 49/111 12
Posada (22 / high A): .259/.459 (410) 67/90 17

Davis (23 AAA/MLB): .248/.407 (351) 52/78 10
Posada (23 / AAA): .240/.406 (313) 32/81 11

Davis (24 / MLB): .239/.357 (448) 66/112 11
Posada (24 / AAA): .255/.435 (368) 54/101 8

Davis (25 / MLB): .259/.404 (228) 18/58 7
Posada (25 / AAA): .271/.460 (354) 79/86 11

Davis (26 / MLB): .236/.382 (246) 18/61 6
Posada (26 / MLB): .250/.410 (188) 30/33 6

Posada has more discipline, but, other than that, they’re really not that different. I hope the M’s haven’t completely given up on Davis. I haven’t.

On a side-note about tonight’s game, JJ Putz looked great - while Pineiro only struck out 1 batter in 6 innings, Putz came in and struck out 2 in 2 innings! Jolbert Cabrera also impressed me after turning a single into a double and playing some sharp defense.

More fun with numbers!

M’s outfield: .263 / .340 / .402 with 7 HRs and 7 SBs
Mike Cameron: .255 / .366 / .511 with 6 HRs and 7 SBs…and don’t even get me started about his defense!

There are currently 27 Major Leaguers with as many or more home runs than the entire Mariners’ outfield.

And in case that didn’t convince you that that the M’s need more power, consider these numbers…3 and 1.
3 = the number of teams with less home runs than the M’s (Pirates, Expos and Padres).
1 = the number of teams with more groundouts than the Mariners (Giants).

GO FREDDY!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Tonights hero: home plate umpire Randy Foster. Between throwing out half of the Twins team and clearly blowing a call in the ninth (maybe in the 16th too), he made the difference in the game. Thanks, Randy, your check is in the mail.
Goat: Cristian Guzman. Note to Mr. Guzman: you don't need to tag up on a base hit.
Extra credit to Ron Villone for shutting the Twinkies down at the end of the game. Maybe it's time to give him some more high leverage innings?
Random notes in the 16th inning:
If wearing your hat inside out helps score runs, why wait until extra innings. I don't think wearing a jock strap on your face would help the Mariners scratch out another one tonight.
When Ben Davis comes up to bat with two outs, he should wear his gear so as not to hold up the next inning.
If I was starting a Black Flag tribute band, Ben Davis could play the Henry Rollins part. Of course, this would ensure they wouldn't ever have a hit.
Mike Cuddyer is a hell of a player, and the Twins don't seem to notice it. He'd be a good pickup.
Edgar gets the golden sombrero tonight for his four whiffs. He's a streaky hitter, so maybe he'll turn it on, but at some point you've got to wonder if he's through.
Next time Rick Rizzs talks about the Mariners having the best fans in baseball, remember how many people were left in the stands at the end of this game. I think I just counted twelve.


Mariners by the numbers:
13 - the number of AL shortstops with more homeruns than Rich Aurilia
13 - the number of AL center fielders with more homeruns than Randy Winn
11 - the number of designated hitters with more homeruns than Edgar Martinez
2 - the number of AL starters with better ERA than Freddy Garcia
105 - the number of AL pitchers with more wins than Freddy Garcia
23 - number of MLB right fielders with better OPS than Ichiro Suzuki
The Mariners chose to exercise Bob Melvin's option, an apparent voice of support at a time when the vultures are starting to circle.
On a somber note, the M's first manager, Darrell Johnson died today. Johnson was also manager of the '75 Red Sox, who were a better team than any of his Mariner squads.
Conor, my friend, you just said it all about the M's season. The decaying carcass of Fred McGriff is a step up from the status quo. Maybe we could get the artist formerly known as Rickey, as well.
Could Fred McGriff help the Mariners?

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Mariners should try to pickup Fred McGriff. This may not sit well with people at first, but hear me out.

Yes, McGriff is old. He was drafted by the Yankees in 1981, the same year Chris Snelling was born, and made his Major League debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1986, the year that Felix Hernandez was born. But even at 40 years old, McGriff could help the Mariners and their pathetic bench.

Here are the 2003 performances of the players that currently combine to form the Mariners bench vs. those of Fred McGriff.

M’s bench: .252 / .328 / .326 w/ 15 HR in 1254 plate appearances.
McGriff: .249 / .322 / .428 w/ 13 HR in 329 plate appearances.

As you can see, McGriff is on par with the rest of the M’s bench in batting average and on-base percentage. However, where I think he can help the Mariners is with his power. Last season, M’s current bench players averaged one HR for every 84 plate appearances.

McGriff, on the other hand, is nine long balls shy of 500 and went deep every 25 plate appearances. Dodger Stadium’s right field line and right center power alley is very similar to Safeco’s, and in 21 AB in Safeco Field, McGriff has hit 3 HRs.

Percentage of plate appearances that resulted in HR in 2003:

Boone = 4.96%
Edgar = 3.98%
McGriff = 3.95%
Spiezio = 2.75%
Ibanez = 2.68%
Aurilia = 2.38%
Davis = 2.23%
Ichiro = 1.79%
Winn = 1.66%
Olerud = 1.57%
Cabrera = 1.57%
Hansen = 1.26%
Wilson = 1.18%
Bloomquist = 0.45%
McCracken = 0.00%

McGriff signed a one-year, minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was invited to Spring Training. After getting only 20 at bats in the Grapefruit League, McGriff was assigned to the Rays’ minor league complex in St. Petersburg on March 24, and, according to MLB.com's Paul C. Smith, McGriff has instead optioned to work out on his own (like Terry Mullholland did with the Mariners). Smith says that when McGriff didn't draw any interest in Spring Training, he decided he would wait a little while during the regular season to see if any spots opened up and teams called. McGriff’s friends say he will wait as long as possible, maybe the whole season, to see if there is any interest. Maybe like the Twins did with Mullholland, the Mariners could snag McGriff for $1.

After pursuing Ellis Burks in February, age is apparently irrelevant to the Mariners. McGriff could help this team, but, the Mariners wouldn’t want to hurt Willie Bloomquist’s feelings or disrupt the “chemistry” of a 9-16 team, and they certainly wouldn’t go after a guy who has the word “crime” in his nickname.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Is Harold Reynolds the new Joe Morgan?

Ever since I got his autograph at Denny's in third grade, I've liked Harold Reynolds. But tonight on "Baseball Tonight," he hit my stathead nerve and kind of annoyed me. Reynolds was talking about how overrated and useless on-base percentage is. He was getting pretty heated and was talking about how guys like Jason Giambi, Frank Thomas, Adam Dunn, Jeff Bagwell and Jim Thome are overrated because they "clog up the bases."
Then he goes on to talk how much he likes guys like Corey Patterson, Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter because, although they have low OBP, they score a lot of runs. He even used a statistic for the percentage of how often a guy scores after reaching base. Talk about useless!
He was criticizing the "base cloggers" because they don't score as many runs as the speedy guys. But doesn't he realize that you need to be on base to score runs and without the power / OBP guys, the speedy / run scoring guys don't score?

Let's look at the top 10 players in OBP last season...
PLAYER/OBP/RUNS (MLB rank in runs scored)
Barry Bonds / .529 / 111 (T 11)
Todd Helton / .458 / 135 (2)
Albert Pujols / .439 / 137 (1)
Brian Giles /.427 / 93 (42)
Manny Ramirez / .427 / 117 (T 8)
Carlos Delgado / .426 / 117 (T 8)
Larry Walker / .422 / 86 (63)
Gary Sheffield / .419 / 126 (4)
Lance Berkman / .412 / 110 (15)
Jason Giambi / .412 / 97 (T 33)

Other players in the top 10 for runs scored...
PLAYER/OBP/RUNS (MLB rank in OBP)
Rafael Furcal / .352 / 130 (T 67)
Alex Rodriguez / .396 / 124 (T 19)
Nomar Garciaparra / .345 / 120 (T 87)
Vernon Wells / .359 / 118 (T 59)
Alfonso Soriano / .338 / 114 (T 97)

I know that OBP is not the be-all, end-all statistic, and that it's probably a little overrated because of "Moneyball," but the point is, you have to be on base to score runs. Who would you rather have on your team: a slow, high OPS guy or a very fast, slap hitting low OBP guy? With average pitchers, a team of 9 Barry Bonds will beat a team of 9 Rafael Furcals anyday of the week. Maybe Harold is so defensive because his lifetime OBP was .327.

Why can't Peter Gammons (or Rob Neyer!) be on "Baseball Tonight" more often? Harold Reynolds, John Kruk and Chris "I have lame nicknames for everyone" Berman? Give me a break!
2004 Mariners by the numbers:

Runs scored = 95
Runs against = 128

OPS = .694
OPS against = .817

27th in MLB in SB% against.
Ouch!

Gil Meche v Nate Cornejo today. The MLB Web site says:
Cornejo will be glad to put April behind him, but Seattle might not be the best way to start off May. Last year's M's roughed him up for nine runs on seven hits in 2/3 of an inning last July at Safeco Field, though only three of those runs were earned. He's 0-2 with a 12.71 ERA lifetime against Seattle.

But Olerud and Edgar are the only M's on this team who faced Cornejo last season, so, he'll probably pull a Waechter on us...

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