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Friday, July 30, 2004

Dave Hansen to the Padres for future considerations! Woo-hoo!!! I was hoping for future considerations.

I've got a great idea for next years ad campaign: the 2005 M's against the 1916 Philadelphia A's. Think of the possibilities. "You think you guys are old, we're all at least 108!" "Throw the ball over the plate, kid, or I'll cough TB on you" Connie Mack could hit Bob Melvin with his cane. It'll be a regular laff riot.

Surprisingly, even with the Randy Winn outfield follies, the M's managed to pull one out tonight. I like this guy Madritsch - he's fun to watch. Maybe he'll earn a start soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Some thoughts on the game tonight:

- Sad to see Guardado not put this one away. I think there's a decent chance this is the last time we'll see him in the clothes of an also ran this year. I hope we get a good return on him.
- I got to the game late tonight. I was watching John Kerry's speech at the convention. He promised to balance the budget with a combination of undoing tax breaks to corporations, rolling back tax breaks on rich people, and, wait for it, a nickel tax on every irritatingly stupid and repetitive thing Dave Henderson says. Pitch to their strength. Sit on the fast ball. Blah blah blah.
- Speaking of irritating, Eckstein's Pete Rose act is getting thin. Running out a walk doesn't make you a valuable player. He's Willie Bloomquist with a ring.
- Brendan Donnelly is a good pitcher, as are a lot of the Angels relievers. Their starters suck, though.
- What is with the Ibanez / Spiezio shift? Are they that extreme in their pull hitting? Shouldn't the Spiezio shift be eight second basemen and someone to throw it to after the weak grounder? Seriously, I can't imagine that this is a good strategy, especially a hard throwing team against some slow bat old guys.
- Hey, Rick, did you know Bucky Jacobsen was in the minors for seven and a half years? Yeah, I guess you did. Thanks for reminding me. At least those are two seconds I don't have to hear Dave Henderson say he should sit on the fastball.

ESPN needs a new medical correspondent / fact checker. This article is particularly goofy. For starters, it is not news that the public health officials are talking to team doctors; amebiasis is a reportable illness, and is required by most states to be followed up with a report to public health. It is rare, but not that rare, with about 150 cases per year in the US. Many more in countries where water purification standards are low. The parasite doesn't discriminate based on income levels; if you eat shit that has the cyst, you can get the infection. The Yankees, or a restaurant where they eat, likely has a cook who isn't washing his hands. Funny, but hardly news. Probably a Red Sox fan. No official statement on what treatment Giambi received. Because it would be illegal to divulge this privileged information. No conspiracy here. Note to Jason: even a Yankee first baseman will have to do more than eat infected poop to get a disease named after you.

Speaking of Yankee first basemen, one potential off season pickup whose name has been surprisingly absent from trade deadline talk is Nick Johnson. Yeah, he's not having a great year, but cut him some slack. He's an Expo, for Christ sake. He's not a bad bet to be non-tendered in the off-season, and would be a hell of a pickup coming into his prime. And he would come pretty cheap, given his injury history.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

What's up with Gil Meche?  He was forced to cancel an interview with KJR this morning.   Rumors of a possible trade to the Royals or maybe the Rangers??

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Ramon Fu#%ng Santiago?!?!? What the hell?!? Why is he on the roster? He's hitting .175 with no power in AAA! Right now, the team needs to be evaluating its future, not screwing around with the past.

Dead on about Wilson and Olivo, Matt. I could not believe Olivo was not starting last night with a left-hander on the mound for Oakland. Believe it or not, Olivo has the highest slugging pctg. in the majors vs. lefty pitchers (.844 on 19-for-45, with 5 HR's and 19 RBI). 19 RBI in 45 AB's against lefties! That's incredible! The best thing right now is if they'd just trade Wilson to the Twins, Dan's middle aged fans be damned...

And tonight Melvin has Olivo in the lineup against another lefty, Mark Redman, but he's got him batting seventh, behind 5th place hitter Jolbert Cabrera and 6th hitter, Scott Spiezio, who is hitting .210(!) this season.

Will Carroll has reported that Pinero has indeed sprained his ulnar collateral ligament, a piece of tissue briefly made famous by a long-forgotton pitcher from the 1970's. This is troublesome news to me.  A grade 1 sprain (stretching of ligament, no significant tear) would likely be treated exactly as they are. A grade 2 sprain (some fraying, not complete tear) would be problematic - ligaments aren't exactly known for their ability to regenerate. I've lost my confidence in the ability of the Mariners to make a definitive diagnosis of arm problems a while back, so I hope they got this right. If he does indeed need surgical repair, I'd rather see him write off 2004 and the greater part of '05 than most of '05 and '06.

Why the hell is Dan Wilson still getting half of the starts at catcher? Let Olivo play, dammit. I don't care if Wilson riding the pine sandbags my hacking mass team. Hell, Willie B is playing every night, and Erstad is back in the lineup.

Monday, July 26, 2004

It sounds like the stories on KJR this afternoon about Joel Pinero needing surgery were overstated. This is good news. He has been the latest to catch the 'it' injury of the year - a flexor bundle strain. The flexor bundle is the group of muscles that stick up in your forearm when you try to touch your middle finger to your wrist. This muscle is well developed in bowlers and men who defile themselves regularly. Apparently, pitchers injure it a lot, too.

I know the second guessing of Bob Melvin gets old, but he made a pretty egregious move in the second. With a 1-0 lead, first and second, and nobody out. He had Dan Wilson bunt (to his credit, Dan actually got it down this time). At this point in time, Zito is struggling to find the plate. The Mariners pitcher has an ERA over NINE RUNS PER GAME. The next batter, Justin Leone, puts bat to ball only about 60% of the time. The runner on third is pretty gimpy, and will need a deep flyball to get home. It worked out OK, but this is a terrible move for a lot of reasons. Next time you play for a run in the second goddam inning, do it in a game where the opposition is not likely to score eight themselves.

Somebody get the A's outfielders a scouting report. That double off of the bat of Willie B, bringing his slugging percentage up to a robust .300, was a routine flyball to left center. Did they really have him played that far around to pull? Man, I thought for a second there that I was watching Terrance Long trying to play left field, Byrnes was so far from catching that ball.

A warm Grand Salami welcome to Luke Harrison Barker, son of Grand Salami contributor Jason Michael Barker. Congratulations, Jason.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Looking at how the M's scored their runs tonight, it looked like they were compling binary code for "pathetic offense."
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0*

I was at the ballgame tonight with my father and a large group of people from his company. He and I were talking about how crappy Bloomquist is, and a woman from my dad's work overheard us and had this to say in Wee Willie's defense...
"Well, they got rid of Olerud, who else are we supposed to cheer for?"

That was followed by the lunatic next to me proposing the M's trade Dan Wilson for Albert Pujols. Needles to say - we didn't sit with my dad's company for very long.

Supposedly, Phillies scouts were in the stands to check out Ron Villone and he pitched really well. If it weren't for the M's bullpen doing their best 1992 impression, he could have had the win. 5.2 IP, 5 K and only 1 ER - lowering his ERA to 3.00! I hope those scouts also noticed Randy Winn. He went 2-4 with a triple and 2 RBI, raising his average to .285. He also made a couple of catches that, if you could have frozen the ball in mid-air and bet me if he would catch them or not, I would be out $200 right now.

Another thing that I noticed during the game was that Aaron Sele threw 119 pitches, 55 of which were called balls, yet the M's only drew 3 walks off of him. It led me to wonder - do patient teams have a better "balls thrown to walks drawn" ratio, or is it strictly situational? I may delve into this further when I have more time.

The "Willie Bloomquist Sucks" stat of the day: 10 MLB pitchers have more HR than Wee Willie this season.

*If you really care, the actual binary code for "pathetic offense" is: 01010000 01100001 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110100 01101001 01100011 00100000 01001111 01100110 01100110 01100101 01101110 01110011 01100101


Friday, July 23, 2004

Nice to hear Grand Salami approved announcer Bill Kreuger on the game tonight. Why they have Henderson and Valle on, when they've got Bill to pinch hit is beyond me. At least we haven't been getting tortured with the Buhner / Rizzs love fest too much this year.

I know some of you won't like this, but that Ichiro is just not a smart player. You'll see evidence of this in a lot of different ways - bunting with two outs and a runner on second, throwing behind runners when there isn't a play, stealing bases late in games when he's not the tying run, etc. Tonight, he stole second on a 3-0 pitch. And damn near got thrown out. On 3-0, you know there is a fast ball in the middle of the plate coming, so it'll be easy to throw. The batter won't be swinging. You're likely to get the base for free in the next pitch or two. Terrible percentage baseball. Ichiro really seems to be padding his stats right now.

But then it works out, and gets them a run. And I guess it breaks the predictable pattern of Bob's boys stealing on 2-2 pitches.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

All this talk about how the Mariners need to move the fences in is absurd. Newsflash...It's not the stadium - it's the players!! Seriously, it's not the architect's fault that Dan Wilson doesn't hit home runs or that Willie F. Bloomquist grounds out every at-bat.

Consider this...
Home runs @ Safeco Field in 2004
Mariners: 39
Opponents: 59

So, stop calling KJR and complaining that Safeco Field is too big and start complaining about Bloomquist's biceps being too small!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Nice soft landing for Madritsch tonight! Here you go, kid, the heart of the A's order in the top of the 10th. Good luck. Hell, he deserves a win for just going out there. With Blackley giving up about a home run every other inning, and walking more than he strikes out, I'm sure Bobby will get his shot before long. Then Craig Anderson. Then that catcher from AA who throws a knuckler on the side...

Speaking of 28-year-old rookies, it was nice to see Bucky get the game winner. While I can think of several reasons his run won't last, it's great that the fans have somebody to cheer for who is worth it. The fans have been so starved for a hero this year, they are calling KJR to complain about Bocachica's release, for God's sake.

I have a new favorite visiting team player. It takes a strong person to make a public and principled stand knowing it will be unpopular. In 40 years, some dick like Bob Feller will call him a coward. Like with Feller on Ali, he'll be dead wrong. Hmmm, this ought to make him a much more affordable free agent, too.

Anyone else notice the "real reason" Miguel Olivo is now hitting well? He showed up at Safeco last night wearing #8, which had previously been worn by 1B coach Mike "Enough" Aldrete. Olivo had been wearing #7, last worn by one Jeffrey Howard Cirillo, who apparently put a curse on the uniform since Olivo had been 1-for-8 with several strikeouts in his first three games with Seattle (all wearing #7).

Olivo had a clutch HR in the ninth on Monday night, then singled and scored the winning run in the 11th inning. Today, getting a start for the second day in a row (first time w/ the M's), he had three hits, including two doubles. Aldrete is now wearing #9.

And now that we have a new starting catcher, we can discard the old one we no longer need around. According to Wednesday's Seattle Times the Twins are now interested in Dan Wilson since Joe Mauer just went on the DL for the second time this season. How bout if we give them Wilson and Guardado for Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. We could even throw in Wee Willie Bloomquist to fill Cuddyer's spot on the Minnesota bench. Wilson, as a 10 and 5 man can veto any deal, but he just might accept a deal to the Twins, since he's a Midwest boy (Illinois) and went to college at Minnesota. If the Twins bark about the salaries, we could offer to pay most of what Wilson and Guardado were making (about $2.5 mil for the rest of the season). We get two more cheap position players, one of whom (Morneau) could end up being a star. What's the point of worrying about paying the salaries of the departed players when Howard F. Lincoln has already come out and said that any money saved this year will not be added to the 2005 player payroll? If the money isn't gonna be used in '05, we may as well buy some prospects with it...

Monday, July 19, 2004

Man, someone teach Justin Leone how to hit a breaking ball. It was just painful to watch Arroyo carve him up tonight. Cabrerra, too, but I honestly don't care if he ever learns to lay off the outside slider, as he'll be somewhere else the next time the M's play a game that counts.
 
Until Edgar had to screw it up, all of the Mariners HR's since the all-star break had been by guys who weren't with the team at the beginning of June. Then, as I write this, Bret Boone hits his first HR since the Nixon administration. Get hot, Bret, so you can be traded away.
 
JJ Putz has given up 10 runs in his last 13 innings. This is, well, not very good. On a similar note, it is interesting to see how Sherrill has slotted right into the top shelf Melvin pen. I think this reflects how bad some of the other guys have been as much as how good they expect ol' George to be.

And they said it couldn't be done. He goes to the Padres (home of all the M's bad contracts) for cash (not Norm, unfortunately) and the player to be named later. I don't know why they don't just name these players when they are born like the rest of us. This must be very hard on these guys. No wonder so few of them ever make the majors.

Damn Rich, I just learned how to spell your name...

Sunday, July 18, 2004

In a year of not much personal achievement by the Mariners, someone is quietly making a run at one of the big records in the sport. That's right: Jamie Moyer is just barely off pace to hit the record of 50 home runs allowed.  He's doing it with half his starts at Insurance Co field, a place that homeruns are not thought by the management to be a key part of the game. And he'd do it in a lot less innings - it took ol' Bert 270+ innings to set the bar at 50. Jamie looks to barely hit 200. Good luck, Jamie, I'll be cheering for you.
 
Has there ever been a major leaguer who was being pitched around in his third game? I'm not sure whether this says more about the player, or the rest of his team, but it's funny to see.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Bucky Ball is here!
 
Okay, so Bucky has started with a bang.   Good patience at the plate and the ability to make pitchers pay when they make a mistake.   I guess we're not used to this in 2004.    Hey, Bucky could be a cost effective DH and then let's spend our money on Beltran, Delgado and a pitcher.   2005 line (my dream)
Ichiro       RF
J. LopeZ  SS
Beltan      CF
Delgado    1B
Bucky       DH
IbaneZ      LF
Boone        2B
Leone        3B
Olivo         C
 
A nice miX of lefty righty and money leftover to spend on a starter or two.    Will the M's pull the trigger on two big name free agents??
 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I just don't understand the Mariners at all. For two or three weeks, they have been priming the local writers to cover Bucky Jacobsen to get the fans ready for his arrival. They plan the first game after the break, when presumably a lot of people are excited for the games to start again, to make the big move. They have an interview on the pre-game, heavy coverage on KJR, etc. Then, I turn on the game, and Spiezio is at first. Way to go guys. I'm glad I didn't rearrange my schedule to go up there tonight.
 
On a related note, when did "the circle of life" become a new baseball cliche? I heard three separate people, including Dave Henderson, use the poetic motif to describe the roster move. Either this was orchestrated by the PR department, or it is just weird.

NOOOOOO!!!!

It's been a tough day for the world champion 1992 Blue Jays. Here, it looks like the end of the road for Mr. Borders as well as Mr. Olerud. Watch your ass, Alomar, you're the last one left. Unless of course you want to count Rickey Henderson in Newark. In which case you'd need to count Pat Borders in Tacoma. For the next three or four years, most likely.

Picking on the reporters for not being critical of the team is not really fair - we here at the Grand Salami can tell you what happens to a periodical who is critical of the team from time to time. These guys, like many of us, make compromises to keep their jobs. Yes, this sucks, but it is not nearly as egregious as the reporting in section one of the paper. Or the evening news.

Since I've been wrong in most of the other predictions I've made on the blog this month, here's another one I hope is wrong. I think you'll see Cabrera or Ibanez at first base more often than Jacobsen.

Why wouldn't they throw him out there at first base? Seriously - what do they have to lose? If they really are dropping Olerud, it's surprising and it will be interesting to see the public response, but the little old ladies that come to the park to see Olerud, will still come for Jamie, Dan and Edgar. Plus, with so many people piling onto the Bucky Bandwagon, attendance could even increase! Not that I disagree with this decision, I just was expecting them to do something a little less "controversial."
BTW: .240/.300/.450 sounds good to me. I'm excited to watch him mash!
BUCK-EY! BUCK-EY! BUCK-EY!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Dream on, Jon. I don't think that the M's have any intention of letting Jacobsen have the first base position. If they did, they would have been playing him there, at least a couple of times, in Tacoma. I do think that he could get lucky and have a nice little Steve Balboni-ish run for a couple of years. More likely, he'll be a bit player between AAA and MLB for a year or two, then head back home with some nice stories and a couple hundred thousand buckys. For those who haven't seen him in T-town, he's fun to watch. He can hit the ball a LONGGGG way when he makes contact. I'd bet on a line something like .240/.300/.450, but then I usually lose when I bet.
I was just looking around on the Internet and found something interesting, although highly disturbing...
The Mariners selected Willie F. Bloomquist 10 picks ahead of Rancho Bernardo High School's Hank Blalock. That made me wonder - who else was drafted after Wee Willie?
Let's take a look at the 1999 June Draft:
***WARNING*** DO NOT READ AFTER EATING!

Pick # Name (2004 AVG/OBP/SLG)
95 Willie F. Bloomquist (.250/.288/.316)
105 Hank Blalock (.303/.369/.572)
151 Ken Harvey (.305/.353/.452)
379 Lew Ford (.303/.374/.466)
402 Albert Pujols (.304/.399/.599)
538 Lyle Overbay (.344/.407/.555)
Jake Peavy was also drafted with the 472nd pick - and those are just the top guys. There are a couple dozen more serviceable Major Leaguers that I'd take over Bloomquist any day.

One one hand, this just shows you how much of a crapshoot the draft can be, but on the other hand, it shows you what the M's value: local guys who will bring fans to the stadium regardless of their performance. Seriously - next time you're at Safeco, notice how many Bloomquist jerseys you see. Bloomquist has to have the most out-of-whack fanbase to playing-time ratio on the M's.
Why isn't Blalock or Pujols from Port Orchard?
D'oh!
Please, please, please let the M's next move be an outright release (or DFA) of John Olerud. I am so sick and tired of watching him ground out to second base.
It looks like we have two new memebers of the Seattle Mariners. Accordinng to David Cameron at USS Mariner the M's are finally calling up Bucky Jacobsen and lefthanded reliever George Sherril. One spot on the 40 man roster was cleared when Rich Aurlia was designated for assignment on Saturday and another move (such as a trade of Mike Myers or Ron Villone) is needed to clear up a second spot on the 40 man. As far as the 25 man roster, one spot was cleared when the team optioned Matt Thornton to Tacoma on Monday -- the second spot is likely to be the same move that creates a spot on the 40 man (Myers, Villone or ???). I'ts anticipated that the club will send down Pat Borders and activate Miguel Olivo as well. If that's the case they could save a 40 man spot by DFA'ing Borders, who isn't likely to be claimed on waivers...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ahhh! The All Star break is upon us, and with so little baseball this week, it’s a logical time for reflection. It now seems so long ago, before spring training, when all was hopeful and every team was still undefeated. I, for one, was hopeful, though realistic. (Or so I thought at the time.) My friends and baseball colleagues verbally abused me for daring to be a pessimist and predicting the Mariners would win only 80-85 games and finish third in the division.

How is it now possible that my early prediction was actually hopelessly optimistic, and that the Mariners are on track to fall 20 games short of my previously pessimistic prediction and finish in last place?

This is truly a collapse of biblical proportions, and I fault Howard Lincoln, Bill Bavasi and Bob Melvin in no particular order. Heads should roll, beginning at the top.

Monday, July 12, 2004

This play-by-play didn't get posted with the commentary below.

LOS ANGELES 6TH
-Bottom of the 6th inning
-A Beltre homered to center.
-S Green grounded out to first.
-O Saenz singled to left center.
-J Werth doubled to deep right, O Saenz to third.
-A Cora reached on bunt single to third, O Saenz scored, J Werth to third.
-J Lima sacrificed to pitcher, J Werth scored, A Cora to second.
-C Izturis intentionally walked.
-G Aquino relieved C Fossum.
-J Grabowski hit for J Hernandez.
-J Grabowski walked, A Cora to third, C Izturis to second.
-P Lo Duca struck out swinging.

3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors
Arizona 1, Los Angeles 4

from ESPN.com play by play

Friday, July 09, 2004

My dad wanted to share this with everyone:
"I don't know if anyone else saw this, but it was pretty amazing. This occurred in Tuesday's Diamondbacks/Dodgers game. I saw the game on TV and I'm certain I've never seen this before: Two successful suicide squeeze bunts in a row!"
That can't happen very often!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Congratulations to the kid for his first major league win (assuming the M's hold on in the ninth). Let's hope it is the first of many.

Interesting note on Hasagawa (or Shiggy Ayala, as the proprietor calls him): his strikeout rate has damn near doubled along with his ERA. Does this mean that last year's fly balls to center are now rockets to the base of the wall. I know the defense is worse this year, but not THAT much worse. Anyway, most of the set-up men on the staff are getting hammered like Dean Martin at the Seagrams plant.

Trade Dave Hansen today! He's hitting .320, with a walk every fourth time up. Someone could use that. Not the Mariners.

I'd like to wish a Grand Salami welcome to Justin Leone. I think Scott Spiezio v.2004 is a reasonable expectation in a lot of ways. Just not in terms of financial obligation. Can't wait, by the way, to see Spiezio v.2006.

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