Saturday, February 17, 2007

Worst. Camp. Ever.

So the Mariners head into Spring Training after their third straight losing season. You would expect that there would be a lot of competion, a lot of jobs up for grabs, yes? Nothing could be further from the truth. The M's, barring injury, are a virtually set club. Part of this is because Hargrove is an idiot, part of this is because since signing Sexson and Beltre two years ago, the M's have had a couple of dismal off-seasons and there just isn't much in the way of young talent to fight for jobs.

Normally, at this time off year I would scroll throught the lineup and the guys in camp and talk about the battles. Essentially, there is a spot or two in the bullpen and that's it.


CF - Ichiro
3B - Beltre
LF - Ibanez
1b - Sexson
RF - Guillen
"DH" - Vidro
C - Johjima
2b - Lopez
ss - Betancourt

Don't hold me to that lineup, but those are the nine. If it turns out that Guillen can't play the field, I expect that pushes Jeremy Reed into the lineup in center or right, and Vidro to the bench.


C - Rivera
OF - Reed
IF - Boomquist
DH - Broussard

Morse will start the year in Tacoma, Jamie Burke and Rob Johnson have a minor chance of beating out Rivera for the backup catcher job and thats it. Adam Jones will play in Tacoma all year, unless someone gets hurt or traded. Because Hargrove wouldn't play him if he was here. NRI's like Sean Burroughs, Gookie Dawkins and Rey Ordonez could hit .600 in camp and they'll be somewhere else at the end of it. Again, barring an injury. Speaking of Hargrove being an idiot, Broussard's spot is in doubt I guess because of rumblings that the Human Brain Delay might want an 8 man bullpen! 8 guys!


SP(R) - Felix, El Rey
SP(L) - Washburn
SP(R) - Batista
SP(R) - Weaver
SP(L) - Ramirez

Its set. Woods and Baek have no shot at jobs. We'll evaluate the rotation as we get closer to the season, but as bad as it seems to me to be, and as overpaid as it is, its probably better than last year's rotation of Felix, Moyer, Washburn, Piniero and Meche.


CL(R) - Putz
SU(R) - Mateo
SU(L) - Sherrill
MR(R) - Reitsma
MR(L) - Rhodes
LR(L) - Woods

Wait, that's only six! We have competition for the seventh spot! Pretty much every pitcher on the 40 man has a shot at the pen I guess. I'd probably handicap that race like so: Huber, O'Flaherty, Green, and Feirabend, with NRIs Justin Lehr, Jim Parque, and Aaron Small having outside shots. Also, as mentioned above two of these guys might make the club, forcing Bavasi to deal Broussard, probably for nothing.

I have Rhodes in the pen and not on the maybe list because Chavez listed him as "in" and Hargrove said he "would be surprised" if he didn't make the club. I liked the Rhodes signing but are we really just handing jobs to 37 year old guys with 5 plus ERAs in two of the last 3 years? He's still striking out better than a guy an inning, and I think he can be effective, but do you really want to just hand him a job? The idea of NRI's is that if they pitch their way onto your club, great, if they don't no big whoop, the contract is not guaranteed.

But I guess that's the M's operating procedure under Bavasi/Hargrove. We need a RF so we overpay for Guillen and hand him the job, even thought there are questions about his shoulder, his attitude and his bat. We need a DH so we overpay for Vidro, even though he hasn't hit for three years. We need starters so we throw money at Batista and Weaver and sell off one of best relievers for a mediocrity like Ramirez. Need a "veteran" in the bullpen? Sign Rhodes and hand him a job. A smart club might bring in two or three guys on the cheap for each of these situations and let them fight it out or really step up and pay a price in prospects or dollars to get a true stud. Not our M's! Overpay for mediocrities and hope they reproduce their best seasons, no matter how long ago that was. Faith-based management.

This is going to be a long season, my spring training high lasted only 2 days.


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