Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Evening GM

Three cheers for the Bavasi regime, which has failed to put together any more prospects out-veterans in trades here at the non-waiver deadline. And that in a year with quite a number of trades actually pulled off. Anecdotally, it seems to me like it was a busier deadline than normal.

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Where does this leave us, intrepid readers (all three of you)? Let's havaluuk...












Los Angeles


















With 57 or 58 games left to play, every team in this pathetic division is in the race. (Do I hear another huzzah?!)

Despite all of the rumored deadline deals, the only player moves made today that should alter the landscape of the AL West for the last two months happened in Arlington, where young gun Jon Daniels went out and got himself a star left fielder, a bench OF, a mediocre starting pitcher, and a bench DH, without giving up anything significant in return. Kudos.

I suppose the upgrade from John Rheinecker to Kip Wells is, ahhh, potentially a positive for the Strangers, while Carlos Lee should be able to improve slightly over what the departed Kevin Mench was providing. In all, Daniels strengthened the Texas squad a bit. Meanwhile, the A's and Angels talked big (Tejada, Zito, etc.), but did nothing. And the Mariners thankfully remained content with "Platoon," the open-air stage production of Oliver Stone's film, this time touring the country and starring Eduardo Perez and Ben Broussard.

If we do nothing sophisticated at all in terms of guessing how the AL West rosters will perform down the stretch, the result looks pretty positive for a rather surprising team:






Los Angeles
























This forecast depends upon players continuing to perform exactly as they have for the first four months of the season, which is hardly realistic. Actually, I'm probably shortchanging Texas a touch on pitching here, so let's throw them an extra victory, and make it a three-way tie for last in the division. Neat.

But CAN we, reasonably-minded quasi-statheads though we are, expect each team's players to perform in keeping with the already passed four months of the season? Well, probably not. I'll note what seem to be each team's pair of biggest candidates for surprising/unexpected performances that could alter the standings:

1. Robb Quinlan/Angels first-base disaster.
Casey Kotchman, felled by mono. Darin Erstad, curse of the Cornhusker. Kendry Morales isn't ready. I love Howie Kendrick as a prospect, but his bat won't play at first. Not even for Anaheim, er, Los Angeles. Currently, Quinlan is the "starting" first baseman, and his RC/27 that factors into the above calculations is WAY over his head. Angels lose 20 runs of projected offense here, virtually guaranteed.

2. Mike Napoli/Angels catcher.
Another youngster who has produced way over his ability. Good for him turning tools into skills, but he's really a .245 hitter, and for all the HR we can expect him to swat, I think that counting on 7.1 RC/27 going forward is a bit optimistic. Take about 15 more runs away from the Angels.

3. Big Frank/Oakland DH
Look, the man can still rake. But if he runs at all, he's gonna pull something. Minus 10 runs for lack of serious depth at "guy standing up on his card."

4. Bobby Crosby/A's shortstop.
While I remain skeptical about the touting of young Mr. Crosby as an MVP candidate, he is nevertheless better than his 3.6 RC/27 suggests. He'll do better, adding about 11 runs to the Oakland tally.

5. Big Sexy/Seattle masher.
Richie has looked a little better recently, and I expect him to kick it up a notch (BAM!) to the tune of +10 runs for the hometown nine.

6. Ichiro!/Seattle minor deity.
Of course, if we're COUNTING on Big Sexy to step up his production, then we might want to hedge on Ichiro's unreal level of production. Take those ten runs back off the board.

7. Carlos Lee/shiny new Texas outfielder.
Everything's bigger in Texas, except that Carlos Lee will now have to face actual pitchers every day. His RC27 numbers will plummet, costing the Rangers some 10-15 runs from what they might have expected.

8. Ian Kinsler/Texas second baseman.
Young Mr. Kinsler is tres impressive thus far, but rookies can wilt down the stretch in the Texas heat, and having started so hot, he's likely to experience at least some difficulties in August and September. I'm thinking another 10-12 runs down the toilet.

You'll notice I'm not picking on any pitchers here. For just two months, it's pretty difficult to guess how individual pitchers will do. Sure, it's pretty safe to say that John Lackey will pitch better than Joel Pineiro, but otherwise...yeah. Let's leave the RA column alone for now.

The revised chart (including some RS adjustments not noted above):












Los Angeles


















The conclusion: either way, we're still in the race...with the GIANT caveat that we can probably count on Hargrove costing the Mariners another game or three that we could otherwise win, which will put us right in last place. With the relative dearth of moves (and the Texas moves being not quite so important as it first appears), everything's likely to remain pretty close all season.

Well, there's one other caveat. Texas just got hurler Adam Eaton back from the DL...if he and newly acquired Pirate castoff (arrgh) Kip Wells make a difference in the Rangers' RA column, then Texas could leapfrog over other teams toward the top.

If any of this drivel is correct, then each AL West team controls its own destiny. To be able to say that about Seattle is...well, neat.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One Man's Trade Endorsement

I like the deal, I really do. Broussard is a good hitter against righties and you own his rights for two more years. In a platoon with Perez, he dramatically improves your DH position over Jurassic Carl.

I think Choo is a classic tweener. Not going to hit enough to play a corner OF spot, not good enough defensively to play center. He probably ends up as a 4th outfielder. That's not a terrible price to pay for Broussard.

If Jones is your CF of the future, pipcking up Broussard commits you to Ibanez in left, so your outfield is set. If you can fix either the 3b or 1b problem in the offseason, that is starting to look like a pretty good lineup.

Getting Broussard actually makes it easier to fix the 1b problem, by the way. If you want to punt Sexson in the offseason you can replace him with either a 1b or an outfielder, because you could move Broussard to 1b and Ibanez to DH. Sign Dellucci or Mench to play left and you can then spend the rest of Sexson's money on a starting pitcher. Now we're talking!

The only thing I don't like is that if Dobbs goes down when Broussard arrives, it means Snelling probably inherits the Roberto Petagine Memorial Bench Seat of Nothingness. I'm not sure it does Snelling any good to come up and sit, unless the goal now is just to have him survive the rest of the season in one piece!

Your suckitude mileage may vary...

This (somewhat extremist) opinion by fellow blogger Mariners Revolution is worth noting in light of the recent trade activity, and makes a good point.

I disagree with the premise that Choo is an impact player, or our #2 prospect, or major league ready (the Indians intend to start him in right field going forward--it sez here he hits .240/.300/.370 in that role in 2006), but even without that high a ranking, it is basically the case that Bavasi has had to cover for Hargrove's refusal to bench Everett by trading two mid-level (and therefore valuable) prospects (Cabrera and Choo) to get to use Cleveland's Opening Day first-base platoon for a portion of the 2006 season.

This all could have been avoided by staying far away from Carl Everett in the first place, so Bavasi's not entirely blameless here.

In any case, while I stand by my "doesn't totally suck" analysis, if Choo turns out to be better than the M's thought, then the trade looks worse.

Doesn't totally suck

I'm still biting my nails, but today's moves from Bavasi (DFA Everett, call up the victim of the Gorokan Horror, and swap Choo and the most traded man in MLB history, a Player To Be Named Later for Ben Broussard and MONEY), ahhh, aren't yet the end of the world.

Broussard's youth and service time mean that the M's could potentially keep him for the next couple of seasons, so paying Choo for him is OK by me. (He settled for his current $2.487M deal to split the difference last year rather than going to arbitration for the first time.)

His left-handedness plays well in the Safe, and it seems reasonable to expect him to become the third-most productive hitter (by rate stats) in the August and September lineups (behind Ichiro! and Ibanez). Let's say, ahh, .315/.350/.500.

Of course, we still have holes in the offense, and while I think that the core of the lineup can continue to hit, I'm pretty skeptical about Beltre and Sexson maintaining even their current weak levels of production. Likewise, All-Star Jose Lopez may regress just a touch. In all, I'd say we've added as much as 1/3 of a Run per game in the upgrade in lineup from Everett to Broussard.

If the pitching and defense produce at exactly their same rates down the stretch, then we're...not quite up to a winning record after game 162 (80-82, or thereabouts). That's not counting the 1-3 additional games that Mike Hargrove will piss away with stupid moves.

Of course, Felix could get better...has to pitch better. Pineiro couldn't pitch any worse; same with Washburn. The pen in is pretty good shape...which leaves Gil Meche as the wildcard here. I'm not a Meche believer, but he's had an excellent 2/3 season, so here's hoping.

I don't think this trade wins us anything, but it doesn't cost anything that the M's were planning to use anyway. Thus, it doesn't totally suck.

Jurassic Carl battles extinction!!!!!

Today the M's designated Carl Everett for assignment. His dinosaur-disbelieving, gay-hating, child-abusing, crotch-grabbing, non-hustling ass is out of here!

Talk about some angels singing! Hallelujah!!!!

The final totals: .227/297/360

Wow. That is really bad. But he's gone, long gone.

Rejoice my friends, rejoice!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hark! The Harold Angels Sing

Harold Reynolds was fired by ESPN yesterday, according to the NY Post (thx to diarists on Minor League Ball for the heads up, and I see that Rain Delay also has a blog entry up on this).

I watched almost all of Harold's career in a Mariners' uniform up close and in person. The man was a "meh," fringe major leaguer (career OPS+ of 83, peaking with an empty .300 BAVG in 1989 to go .300/.359/.369), who one year lucked into the stolen base title (Rickey was hurt for half the season, and finished with ONLY 41 SB, sandwiched between 87- and 93-SB seasons). He was an "All Star" for a pretty miserable M's team in the same situation that recently got Mark Redman named as an All Star. (Actually, if you compare Willie Bloomquist's career thus far with Harold imagine that George Argyros owns the team again, and Wee Willie is FORCED to become the starting second baseman for over EIGHT consecutive seasons.)

Wake up! It's just a nightmare!!

But I digress. I long ago quit watching Baseball Tonight with regularity, in large part because I find Harold and John Kruk to be two of the least intelligent baseball analysts I have ever heard. In particular, HR annoys me due to his claimed "insider" status, combined with a seemingly innocent utter lack of baseball intelligence. It embarrassed me that he represented to most of the nation the history of our Mariners.

Regardless, I do not actually dislike the MAN, even if I assert that both of his two most recent careers have exposed him as a failure. Shoot, I had even learned how to ignore him (a la Ron Fairly) in the unlikely event that I turned on Baseball Tonight (still love that music, plus the highlights, even if the content of the "analysis" blows). Someone, I'm confident, will miss you, Mr. Reynolds. Just not me.

Now please stay far, far away from the Seattle broadcast booth. Dave Valle, Dave Henderson, and Jay Buhner is MORE than enough punishment to dish out to Seattle fans without adding another awful broadcaster.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Brutal game last night. Especially to be at.

The Red Sox fans are great, though. They started a "Lets Go Red Sox!" chant about twice a half inning and flooded the stands with "Youk!" whenever Youkilis so much as picked his nose. They actually spurred the normally staid M's crowd to a pretty lively state. Counter-cheers of "Red Sox su-uck!", and spontaneous "Lets go M's" cheers of their own! Without the scoreboard or sound system telling them to do so!!! Really!

But that was really the only greatness associated with last night's game. What did we learn?

Number of homers Jamie has to give up to get pulled from a game: 5
Number of walks Jake Woods has to give up to get pulled: 1

Level Sexson's average has to drop below before he doesn't bat cleanup: Well it was .190 on May 25th so he seems safe at .225
Outs Carl Everett has to make before he loses his job: 231 and counting.

Number of games between "#2 hitter" Willie Bloomquist's 7th and 8th RBI: 26

Can we just fire Hargrove already? Come on!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

And you thought Grover was bad....

I'm rarely going to point out other blogs or sites to visit from here, but we've been (rightfully) riding Mike Hargrove over his utter inability to manage a major league game, so I thought a little light humor at a rival's expense wouldn't be so bad.

It's not family friendly in any way, but the next time you're down on a stupid Grover trick, check out Ken Macha is a Moron & I Hate Him, a very amusing blog. They share the "Ken Macha Terror Watch" with Elephants in Oakland...the Terror level is currently "Elevated: Significant Risk of Ken Macha."

Funny stuff.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Riddle of the Tatonka

Hey, what do you get when you add a rental slugger who plays poor defense to a last-place team in a better league with Mike Hargrove as manager?

Can't think of the right answer? C'mon, what's in its pocketses?

Not "my preciousssss." (Unless your precious is a last-place finish in the AL Worst.)

The answer is: nothing.

Let's assume that there are NO park effects or league effects that would minimize Alfonso Soriano's skills, and that he will continue producing HR, hits, etc. at his prodigious 2006 rate. The man has a .931 OPS, with both OBA (.354) and SLG (.577) substantially higher than he put up as a Texas Ranger over the last couple of years. In fact, until 2006, Soriano has been a career .320 OBA and .500 SLG player...not too shabby at all, but we can safely say that he's having a career year. (He's never come even CLOSE to his current marks in either stat.)

Alright, so we're assuming that he continues playing at this ridiculous level, plus that he doesn't hurt us on defense (hardly a sound assumption, but whatever). In that scenario, what is he worth to the Mariners over our final 68 games of the 2006 season? How much does adding Soriano to the lineup mean for wins and losses?

Well, there are any number of ways to figure that out; a simple one uses RC/G (Runs Created per 27 outs), a stat that is freely available over at The Hardball Times site. Soriano's 2006 season thus far has him earning 7.6 RC/G (a tick better than Ichiro!) at the plate. If we have to give up Adam Jones to make this deal, than we can safely subtract his minus 1.5 RC/G, plug in Soriano's figure, divide, calculate, and...voila! The Mariners go from a 4.78 R/G offense (well, that's using RC/ fact we've scored only 4.75 R/G, but it's pretty close) to a 5.79 R/G offense! Wow! One little trade and we improve by over a full run per game?

Sadly, Soriano doesn't pitch. And while we're in the midst of our little fantasy here (since there's NO WAY ON EARTH that Mr. Soriano can be expected to keep up the numbers he currently has after a league and park switch), let's assume that the Mariners' pitching staff continues preventing runs at their current rate (also a fantasy, in my mind, but there you go). We've allowed 444 runs, which is...4.72 R/G. OK. 68 games to go, we're 5 games back of Oakland...if they play .500 ball the rest of the way (a likely outcome, if we're projecting using current R/G figures), then they win 83. The Angels' pitching staff projects them to win just over 83 games as well, while the Rangers' hitting prowess also puts them in a dead heat with the Halos at just over 83 wins.

Keeping in mind that these projections are all fantasies based on the best case scenario for our Mariners, let's go ahead and calculate how we do with the mythical Soriano in the lineup: using the RC/G figures calculated earlier, we score 393 runs while the pitchers surrender only 321, which projects to an 84-78 record.

Whoo hoo! IN our DREAMS, Soriano wins us the division!!! (To lose in the first round, but hey, that's not the point here.)

Is that grasping-at-straws rose-tinted-glasses optimistic outcome WORTH trading Adam Jones AND (almost certainly) another player for? (Keep in mind, by the way, that this scenario requires that we continue playing Carl Everett at DH, and both Ibanez and now Soriano as poor defenders in the outfield corners. No chance that could blow up. Then Everett's 2007 option kicks in, so we get his lovely bat and personality for another season. Plus, the deal costs us Adam Jones. Yeah.)

Is it worth it? Even if EVERYTHING breaks our way???

I say no.

Bill Bavasi? He's trying to keep his job. It says here that we make a deal for Alfonso Soriano within a week. Welcome, Tatonka 2006.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Yesterday Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mariners were interested in Washington outfielder Alfonso Soriano. Today both the Times and PI notebooks pick up the thread.

Rosenthal reported that the Nationals would want Adam Jones. That would be in line with the other players they want, Philip Hughes from the Yankees and Ervin Santana or Howie Kendrick from the Angels.

Soriano is a guy who is a little overrated based on good homerun totals. He is a serious hacker who doesn't walk much. He probably wouldn't hit well in Safeco Field, which is tough on right-handed power hitters. Just ask Beltre and Sexson.

On the other hand he would be a huge upgrade over Carl Everett. Just huge. Yooge, even. Having a real hitter at DH (either Soriano or Ibanez would play there, with the other one in left) would be a nice boost to the offense.

Soriano is a serious rent-a-player, by the way. He supposedly wants 15 mil per year, no way the M's are giving that to him, so he's moving on after this season.

The bottom line? I would love to see the M's pick up Soriano, but not if the cost is Adam Jones. That's too much. I can see Hargrove giving up on Jones after 3 games, but I hope the organization doesn't. Washington GM Jim Bowden is a little wacky though, if you could pick him up for a couple of random minor league arms I'd be all for it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fire Mike Hargrove!

Number 512 in our 2,436 part series.

Mateo was in the game because closer J.J. Putz warmed up three times during Saturday's loss and was deemed unavailable by Hargrove on Sunday.

So let me get this straight. Hargrove got JJ up 3 times on Saturday, never used him because he didn't have the lead, and ended up losing the game in 14 innings with his 11th or 12th best pitcher. Then, because he got him up those 3 times, we lose ANOTHER extra inning game because his best reliever isn't available???????????






Friday, July 14, 2006

Jones call up

The Mariners have brought up Adam Jones and Greg Dobbs, to take the places of Petagine and Choo.

On the face of it, I don't fundamentally have a problem with them taking a shot with Jones right now. He's been hot in Tacoma after a slow start and its possible that he has mastered AAA at this point, though unlikely. Just as importantly, the M's have a need for a CF right now and maybe you can catch lightning in a bottle. If Jones is close to ready, this could work out.

The worst case scenario is not that he flops immediately, though. In that event, you just send him back down to work on what he needs to (from all reports, hitting curveballs and defense). No, the worst case scenario is that he has an decent run of initial success, but then struggles big time. The initial success might make the Mariners stick with him for longer than they should and if he has to go back down in August of next year instead of this one, that could be tough on his confidence. The Jose Guillen/Geronimo Pena career path if you will.

So there is a risk definitely, but this is so much better than making a bad trade for someone to play center. The M's are on the fringes of the race. Rather than buying or selling, you promote a kid and see if he can help. It doesn't cost you much (unless we have the worst case as described above)and it could make all the difference.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Isn't it over?

Damn All-Star break! How can the M's be off Thursday too! Waaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!


Monday we took at look at what the M's could do to improve the club and try and win the division. What could we do in the other direction?

The Mariners actually don't have a bunch of fungible assets that could be dealt to improve the club for next year. Lopez, Betancourt, Johjima, Putz and Felix are your cornerstones, they are going to be here for a while. Beltre, Sexson and Washburn are virtually untradeable with the contracts they have. You would get so little in return and probably have to pick up a big chunk of their salaries so there is just no value-added there.

Everett and Jo-El are hurting the club more than helping, so anything you could get in return would be a blessing.

Ibanez would almost certainly have some value on the trade market, especially considering the monster year he is having, but I think the Mariner's have put him into the Edgar/Dan Wilson Memorial Face of the Franchise Role and wouldn't trade him straight up for Johan Santana or Albert Pujols at this point. The case is slightly different for Ichiro, but as your only superstar and a favorite of ownership, there's no point in even having a debate about whether to trade him.

Jamie Moyer turned down a trade to the Braves last year and I'm pretty sure he's still a 5 and 10 guy, so he's not going anywhere.

You might be able to flip Sherrill to a team looking for bullpen help. Same for Soriano. But you're probably not getting Jeff Bagwell in return.

That leaves one guy who might get you a close to the majors prospect with some zazz and that's Gil Meche. I don't think at this point that his value could be any higher. He's been pitching extremely well and while many doubt that his recent success is sustainable, you only need to find one GM who thinks it might be and you can make a deal. A guy that pitches the way Meche did in June would be a big splash for a contender. If the M's turn into sellers, I think Meche will end up being the biggest deal.

Yuk! That's not a lot is it?

The M's have a rough schedule coming out of the break against the Beasts of the East. On the road in Toronto and New York, at home against the Red Sox and Jays again. I don't actually believe that those games are any more indicative than any others but I think the Mariners will believe them to be.

If they play above 500 in those games, I would expect them to try and make a small move in the OF or a starter to replace Jo-el. I guess I am okay with that as long as they don't give up too much. If they suck, Hargrove probably gets fired and Meche gets dealt.

If it were me, I'd stay the course. See what these 25 guys can do for the rest of the year (okay, these 25, minus Everett and plus Snelling). If they make a run great, otherwise you know what you need to do. As opposed to two years ago, you can start to see the core of the next good Mariner team here, so I wouldn't mess with it too much the rest of the way this year.

Monday, July 10, 2006


We've reached the All-Star break and the M's are pretty near where I expected, though I could not have predicted the route they have taken to get to 43 and 46, only 2.5 games out of first. Based on their 426 runs scored and 421 given up you would expect them to be 45 and 44, exactly a half game out. So they are absolutely in the thick of the race, though the question remains whether they are any good or not.

The June run was fueled largely by offense. They scored 152 runs in June, and currently rank 9th in the AL in runs scored. They had gotten to 8th but then they got done with the NL West. They are 9th in SLG but 12th in OBP, so I think they may be a little lucky on the offensive side.

The pitching has fallen to 8th in the league with 421 runs allowed. They are 9th in walkers per nine, but 5th in Ks per nine. Surprisingly for a team playing in the Safe, they are only 9th in homers allowed. Considering that they have a 7 man bullpen and a shaky rotation, it is astounding that the M's are tied for 2nd in the AL in innings from starters. I can't say this enough, Hargrove has no idea how to use his pen. None at all. He's turned every guy into a one inning or less pitcher.

So here we are. What could we do to improve this team in the short term?

I don't think the infield is going to change. Lopez, Yuni and Johjima are all playing great, and are 3-5 on the team in BP's VORP stat. Beltre and and Sexson are another matter. Beltre has been a replacement level 3b for the year and that factors in his monster June. Sexson has been terrible, his 16 homers are decent but not in the constext of the 260 outs he has made on the year. So you could improve the corners, but Bavasi is not going to do so, no way. It would take a lot of courage and a nice long term contract to cut bait on either of those two guys and I can't see it happening. You have to just hope that they play better.

Two of the outfield slots are set also as Ichiro and Raul are the teams two most productive offensive players. That leaves center, where Reed has been terrible and is now hurt, and DH, where Everett has just been terrible. I don't know that Choo is the answer in center, though he is unlikely to be worse than Reed. Snelling would make a nice platoon with Eddie Perez at DH, but if you want to really impact the offense you would pick up a slugging corner OF and move Ichiro into center. Shoot you could pick up two guys and push Raul to DH.

Carlos Lee is reportedly on the block in Milwaukee, though lots of clubs have their eyes on him. Torii Hunter is the other big name on a club that seems to be out of it. The Phillies can't get enough ABs for David Dellucci, though he needs a lefty platoon partner. He would be cheaper than the first two guys obviously. More guys might come available as we get closer to the deadline. Luis Gonzalez is rumored to be available in Arizona if you feel like gambling.

On the pitching side, we absolutely could use a starter to replace Jo-El. Big names include Greg Maddux, Brad Radke, Andy Pettite, and Kerry Wood if he could ever get healthy. I don't know if Billy Beane is going to trade Zito, and almost certainly he wouldn't trade him to the M's, but you never know. Jason Schmidt could be there if the Giants fall out of it and John Smoltz might be attainable as well. Lots of room to improve the starters here.

The Mariner could probably use another arm in the pen that Hargrove is willing to use. Mateo no longer seems like a guy you want out there in tough situations, so you are really down to Soriano and Putz with Sherrill to get one or two lefties a game. If Soriano's shoulder acts up again, the pen could become trouble. The other 3 random guys in the pen (Currently Woods, Fruto and AA lefty Mark Lowe) are just there to soak up innings. And not a lot of innings at that.

So those are the real options: A big stick to play OF or DH, a stud starter to pick up the rotation and maybe another setup guy in the pen. Tomorrow I'll address what the M's could do as sellers and talk about which one they should be.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thumbs up on the Guardado deal

Here the Bavasi crew makes a correction, swapping a useless major league albatross (Eddie Guardado) for a likely useless but cheap and youneverknow kind of fringe prospect pitcher in Travis Chick. Nicely done.

Opening this season, Baseball America still ranked Chick as Cincinnati's tenth-best prospect...while John Sickels saw him as merely the sixteenth-best prospect in a pretty sad minor-league system.

The good news, though, is that Mr. Chick (6'3", 215, just turned 22, and sporting a 4.61 ERA with 36 BB and 77 K in 16 starts for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts) is better than a wet bag of nothing, which happens to be precisely Everyday Eddie's current trade value. A coup! A coup!

Aaaaand the M's trudge along, three games out of first and two games under .500.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

MIke Hargrove lost Sunday's game

Epsiode 456 in our 756 part series...

1. Sends Betancourt on a shallow flyball in the seventh with Ibanez due up. Raul is absolutely on fire and YuBet was out by a mile.

2. Sends Washburn out to pitch the eighth with a one run lead. Compounds his error by not replacing him after a walk and a bunt single. Leaves him in to walk Helton to load the bases. Interestingly he had two guys up in the pen, Mateo and Putz, both right handers. So there was probably no situation that could have happened that Grover would not have let Washburn pitch to Helton. He could have given up two 700 foot home runs to Carroll and Barmes and Grover would have waited until after Helton to replace him.

3. After pinch-running Bloomquist for Sexson and pinch-hitting Petagine for Rivera, he leaves Bloomquist in at first and puts Johjima into the Petagine/Rivera spot. You can make the argument that you'd rather have Willie Boom-Boom's empty 270 average in the lineup than Petagine's small sample size 200 average. I don't agree but it can be made. The crucial thing here is that he could have had Johjima in the Sexson spot, so that an actual major league hitter could have batted in the upcoming bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth situation.

4. Bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the ninth. Bloomquist, playing first, at the plate. Fuentes, a lefty, on the mound. Bloomquist's three year numbers versus lefties: 257/306/350. As stated earlier, Johjima could be batting here: 274/333/371. But Hargrove already blew that one so his other option is to pinch hit Eduardo Perez, whom the club gave up an excellent middle infield prospect to get. Perez' 3 year line against lefties: 288/397/561. This is exactly why the club acquired Perez, to give them some pop off of the bench against lefties. But Hargrove doesn't use him. There was no one up in the Rockies pen, incidentally, so no way Perez would have had to bat against a righty. This is a terrible, terrible non-move.

5. Bottom of 10. Carl Everett bats against Fuentes. Everett's 2006 line against lefties: 164/250/279. He is done against lefties, he should never be facing them in critical situations the rest of the year if the Mariners plan to contend. And yet Perz remains on the bench. He later enters the game defensively when Reed gets hurt. So your "lefty-masher" is reduced to emergency defensive sub. Great.

The M's are a game out of first. With a competent manager, they would be in first, maybe a couple of games in front. Blech.


OK, so we get the bases loaded with two outs and a tie game in the 9th, with a win giving us a share of first place, and due to Mike Hargrove's brilliant tactical skills, we have coming up to bat...Willie Bloomquist, First Baseman?????? (Willie Bloomquist is, of course, Middle English for "grounds out weakly"...but sadly the Human Rain Delay doesn't SPEAK Middle English, so there you go.)


It's amazing that we held out as long as we did.

Let's get 'em tomorrow, gang, but lock the manager out of the clubhouse, huh?

Unhealthy obsession

This is just sick! After a couple of years of frustration, I'm so starved for a competitive team that I'm actually scoreboard watching as I hope that the M's can claim a share of first place--here on that oh-so-meaningful date of 2 July.

Go D-backs! Go Ms!!