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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 10, 2008 4:42 PM

74 degrees at game time

Posted by Jose Romero

GAME OVER: White Sox 9, Mariners 8
Mariners go to 5-7 in the spring.

The ninth inning was pretty exciting. The Mariners have developed a penchant for late rallies this spring and today was no exception. Charlton Jimerson singled to drive in a run, an error allowed Tuiasosopo to score, Jimerson scored on a ground out, Jeff Clement scored on a Bryan LaHair single and Mark Kiger drove in pinch runner Bronson Sardinha. The M's had the bases loaded with one out, but Morse struck out and Tuiasosopo grounded out to the end the inning in an 8-8 tie.

The White Sox won it off Sean Green, Jim Thome singled to lead off and was replaced by a pinch runner. A fly ball out moved the runner to second, and a long single to right by Swisher drove in the game winner.

"I was proud of the team, the way they kept scrapping, kept after it," McLaren said. "We've done that almost every spring training game...We had that spirit last year and that's the way we play baseball. We play hard til the final out's made. That's our trademark and we take pride in that."

Notes
-Balentien was 4-for-5 and is batting .357 in the spring. He has 10 hits now, second to Morse, who has 12.
-R.A. Dickey dropped his ERA to 1.29 after two innings of one-hit ball. He struck out two and had Jermaine Dye way off balance on a swing through the knuckle ball on one of those.
-Morrow's ERA is now 11.25
-LaHair is 8-for-19 (.421) in the spring.

Bottom 8th
UPDATE II: Huber plunks Jason Bourgeois in the back and another run is in. 8-3 Sox.

UPDATE: Morrow, whom McLaren said he envisions as a "two-inning guy," isn't even a two-out guy right now. He walked the bases loaded and has given up two runs. Now 3-0 to Juan Uribe, and there's ball four. Another run in. 7-3 Sox. Three runs are in this inning. Morrow is being lifted as McLaren makes the move, and Jon Huber is coming in.

Ryan Feierabend has left the game after 1 inning of work. It was scoreless. Brandon Morrow is in and he just gave up a triple to Paul Konerko. Dickey was solid and from what I saw, Johjima handled him well.
Now Nick Swisher just hit a ball out well over the 340 mark in right field, and the umpires called it a double. Manager Ozzie Guillen came out to complain but to no avail. The umps blew this one. That ball was over the wall and off the wall behind the 340 sign and then came back onto the field, as I saw it. Run scores, 5-3 Sox.

BEDARD UPDATE:

Wow, went downstairs to hear from Bedard and didn't miss a thing. Bedard said he'd answer five questions at the outset, and he answered 10. He characterized his performance as one bad inning and all zeros in the others.


Bottom 5

R.A. Dickey is now in the game in relief of Bedard, who allowed four runs on eight hits and walked one.
Bryan LaHair is at first base for Norton.


End 4th

That should do it for Bedard. 63 total pitches in four innings. 41 strikes, 22 balls. I'll get an official line. In the meantime, it's now top 5 and Balentien just got his third hit.

Bottom 3

Balentien couldn't get to a triple hit by Nick Swisher with 2 out. He's got a bat for sure, but the defense has been suspect in spring ball.


Top 3
UPDATE: Here come the M's. Balentien has doubled in a run, his second double of the game, and Johjima drove in a run on a fielding error. The runner, Norton, was at third and breaking for home when contact was made so Johjima got credit for an RBI. 4-3 CHI.

Bedard has nine-pitch second. No runs no hits. M's got their run on an error by the second baseman, who threw to third on a fielder's choice grounder to try and get Betancourt moving from second to third after singles by he and Vidro. The throw went wide and Betancourt scored. The batter was Norton and he wasn't credited with an RBI since the run scored on an error.


End 1

Wow...wondering how THIS post-performance interview session with Bedard is going to go. Maybe only one question, maybe none. I had Bedard for 28 pitches in the first.

Still Bottom 1

Now its Paul Konerko going deep off what looked like a Bedard fastball over the bullpen in left field. 4-1 White Sox on the HR.

...and Erik Bedard just hung a curve ball that Jim Thome sent out of the yard way up the berm, maybe 430 feet to left center. It's a three-run shot, 3-1 White Sox.

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Posted by Batter Up!!!

1:24 PM, Mar 10, 2008

That's 4 Bedard, now go sit down :-)

Posted by GeoW

1:35 PM, Mar 10, 2008

We've got tickets for Opening Night. Hope that first inning goes better than today's.

Posted by AKmarinersfan

1:36 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Jose - Stand your ground on the questions. This organization has to be held accountable. This season is starting to look dismal. Meanwhile Jones and Sherril continue to shine in Baltimore. Oh yeah and we have NO offense.

Posted by Brian

1:40 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Yes, the season will suck. After all, Spring Training tells us everything about the season that we need to know. Bedard will not win a game, Ichiro will bat .000, and Ballgame will hit .475 like he always does (at least in spring training).

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:40 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Jose - How did we score the run? The boxscore doesn't credit with Balentein with a RBI..how's that possible. Was it the error

Hmm..you think maybe are agressive baserunning is becoming a little predictable?

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:44 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Hey Brian - Its not one thing it is many things. Personally I think Bedard will be fine (not worth what we gave up but he still will be one of the best pitchers in the league). But spring training continue to demonstrate how weak the offense is. Having Vidro AND Sexson in the starting lineup is inexcusable and this team will not be competive with the Angels. The instance that McLaren has repeated stated that Cairo and and Bloomquist are both on the team just compounds the problem.

Posted by Relax

1:45 PM, Mar 10, 2008

LMAO, I couldn't agree with you more Brian.


Spring Training is serious stuff!

Posted by AKmarinersfan

1:48 PM, Mar 10, 2008

You guys think that magically on Opening day this ballclub suddenly hits the ball?

Posted by AKmarinersfan

1:55 PM, Mar 10, 2008

How did Vidro not score in the 1st? Oh wait I think I know...it has something to do with being the slowest player in baseball....

Posted by scottM

1:57 PM, Mar 10, 2008

"Larry Stone, my colleague, asked McLaren about Erik Bedard. McLaren delivered the one-liner by answering "That's one question, Larry, you've got three to go."

That's actually very funny!!

Hey, with GEOFF back on the blog tomorrow, go for broke, JOSÉ: get down on your knees and, on behalf of all reporters past, present and future, beg Sir Erikkkkkkk for forgiveness!!! (Maybe he'll give you an extra question that way).

Posted by jujay

2:06 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I seem to recall quite a bit of 12-15 hit games this spring..... that should win quite a bit of games for a team that supposedly has no offense

Posted by AKmarinersfan

2:13 PM, Mar 10, 2008

jujay - Look at who the hits have been against. The batting average of the M's "veterans" against major league pitchers is very very low.

A good example is last wednesday's game against the Angels. The M's had 13 hits, against a pitching staff that had a combined 15 innings of major league experience. BTW the Angels had 12 hits, M's started Bedard and used only major league relievers.

There are some very bad signs here....

Posted by Relax

2:15 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Vidro hit .314 last year.

Don't hate on him, AKmariners"fan" !

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:22 PM, Mar 10, 2008

You're using Vidro's batting average to demonstrate his value to the team? You should also refer to Vidro as a "professional hitter"

Posted by AKMarinersfan

2:56 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Jose - Is Joh continuing to handle Dickey pretty well? That's encouraging I really thought that Joh was going to have a hard time with Dickey. His catching style isn't ideal for knuckleballers.

Posted by Frankie

3:14 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Yeah sure...Spring Training definitely shows how the season is going to play out.

Just look at Sherrill's spring last year. Then go look at his season and tell me that Spring Training means alot to a season.

Posted by GeoW

3:20 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Someone can look it up to be sure, but my memory is that in 2001 the M's were stinking up SP. About a week before the season, Pinella gave them a little "it's time to get serious" speech, and the rest is history.

Posted by zusu

3:32 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Woo, sounds like somebody needs a chill pill! Who pays attention to ST anyway?

Posted by Batter Up!!!

3:36 PM, Mar 10, 2008

There go those kids, tearing it up again!

Posted by Get Griffey

3:54 PM, Mar 10, 2008

All this talk about the lack of Spring TRANING Offence is ridicules. Ichiro is batting .000, so in response YES they do "magically" get better when they are not PRACTICING in meaningless spring training games. This is ALMOST as silly as saying “Ho no we aren’t hitting very well in BP” When the team is playing actual games they will perform better, just like every other athlete to ever compete.

Sorry to come off negatively but seriously people, who here thinks Ichiro won’t “magically” get better during the coming season?
Some players will still stink in the regular season but the team, as a whole, will get better.

Posted by oregongal

4:03 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Tom Boswell titled his book, Why Time Begins on Opening Day. Not spring training. BTW, if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it, even though it was published in 1984, so the references are somewhat dated. His stuff still makes me feel like I'm in the middle of the game.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

4:16 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I think what everyone is missing is that this is a continuation from last year. Sexson is still not hitting, Vidro is hitting meaningless singles, Lopez is not driving the ball. The Mariners needed these things to change during Spring training.

I wouldn't be worried if I thought management would do the right thing and play the players who can contribute. But we all know they won't, they will stick with the veterans until yet another season is lost.

Posted by oregongal

4:20 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AKM, I'm not missing any of that stuff. I'm just taking the luxury of ignoring it for another three weeks until I start throwing tantrums about it.

Jose, muchas gracias for your work. Hope you come back.

Posted by Griffey24

4:43 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AK: More dead-horse beating. I don't think I'm alone in getting the message that you don't believe in M's management, or the M's players for that matter. If you want everyone else to worry as much as you, best of luck. Spring is the time for OPTIMISM. Would you rather have our team or the team in Pittsburgh, KC, Washington, etc.?

Did you all know that the Mariners have NEVER finished above .500 in the regular season when they had an above-.500 spring training record? I say, lose all you want now! :-)

Posted by Buschleaguer

4:45 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AKmarinersfan,
You are joking, right? You don't really think that ST stats mean a @#%$ thing I hope. The vets are working on getting the feel of their pitches. That means they're throwing a changeup or curve to a hitter that in the regular season they wouldn't. You've got to stop the negativity about spring. None of this matters. I truly, firmly believe this team will win more games than last year and win the west. I think you've let your dislike of "the trade" cloud your judgment. You are desperately looking for validation of your point of view. Ain't gonna happen. You will be eating a big, steaming-hot plate of crow come the ASB. Bet on it.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:47 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AKM - ...and Ichiro is hitless, and Bedard is inefficient, and Mr. "Should have been our 5th starter" Morrow was horrible today, and blah-de-blah-de-blah.

I agree with your gut feel that this year, once again, Bavasi and McLaren (sounds like a cop show) will ride the vets all the way to a missed postseason yet again. But I base that on past performance in past seasons, not in current or past spring trainings. Believe you me, I will be howling from the top of the Space Needle like every other M's fan if Sexson, Vidro, Lopez, etc. are lackluster into early/mid-May yet still playing every day.

Posted by John

5:09 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AK,
While I don't often agree with your gloomy outlook, I, like you, am very frustrated with the resistence that there has traditionally been with this FO and management to give younger players a shot in place of struggling vets, particularly Sexson.
As far as I'm concerned, someone like Morse would do just fine at first base, and be far more productive with the bat than Richie. Teams like Boston and New York have a quick hook for guys that continue to struggle, and while the vets might not like it, I think it pushes them to know there are guys waiting if you don't produce. Right now, Richie can basically just argue that he'll come around in June or whatever, while the team labors along with this big hole in the middle of the lineup. And he doesn't really have to worry about losing his job.
I think Richie would have been riding pine and probably shipped somewhere a long time ago with most other competing ballclubs.

HOWEVER, speaking of competitive, your assertion that we will not be competitive with Anaheim is definitely premature. 2008 is going to be tight in the AL West. I'm not saying we'll win it, but it IS going to be competitive. I have even higher hopes for 2009, though, when we can shed Richie, hopefully add Clement and/or Balentien to the lineup, and maybe even bring in another really solid bat via free agency.

Posted by John

5:14 PM, Mar 10, 2008

One other note:
While I don't agree with the Front Office approach, I think whay they try to do is delay major league service of players as long as they can so they can get more of their "prime" years in a Mariner uniform. Unless a player is really good and forces their hand like an A-Rod or Griffey, or they have a big hole they need to fill (in the case of Morrow), it's more about delaying arrival and keeping young players in the system as long as possible.
That said, if you have someone who is simply NOT producing, it is suicide to not put a better, younger bat in the lineup.

Posted by scottM

5:26 PM, Mar 10, 2008

AK,

The days are still long in the 49th state, but Springtime will soon arrive. Try to see the positive in Ichiro batting .000, Beltre .200, Lopez and Sexson .222, and Ibanez .235. Or, at least you can take heart in the ERAs of Bedard at 9.0, Batista 6.0, Silva 10.13, and Putz at 9.0.

For me, March 31 can't roll around soon enough. Go M's!!

Posted by mark

5:59 PM, Mar 10, 2008

How is Cairo a lock on this team? What has he done to deserve an automatic spot on the bench? With the way that Morse, Norton and Balentien have been hitting, how is a hole in the lineup guaranteed a spot? It's like they aren't even trying sometimes.

Posted by Adam

6:59 PM, Mar 10, 2008

How is Cairo a lock on this team? What has he done to deserve an automatic spot on the bench?

Two reasons:

1. He's been through the wars.
2. He signed a contract which guarantees him $800K.


Thanks to the idiots running the Mariners, that makes him a lock.

Posted by jujay

7:08 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I dont get all the hating on vidro by people that adore ichiro. Yeah vidro is definately no ichiro but he hits singles for a high average just like ichiro...seems like a double standard to me, and dont use the DH battle because CF is traditionally a power hitter as well. The fact is you cant score if people dont get one base.

Posted by ice

7:26 PM, Mar 10, 2008

jujay,
Exactly. Another double standard is that the spring numbers are meaningful yet Vidro's singles are meaningless.

Posted by BraveLittleTailor

7:43 PM, Mar 10, 2008

two things

1)I dont put any stock in ST numbers either. Now, youngsters who havent made a team before can hurt themselves with a poor ST, but imo thats about it

2)anyone know when to expect the first wave of camp cuts? Any surprises lurking?

Posted by Get Griffey

7:55 PM, Mar 10, 2008

jujay,- I tend to agree with you, with the way Safeco destroys power hitters why not have a DH that hits over .300 and hopefully have more doubles this season?

Another double standard is the “Average is a useless stat” unless it is being used against a player who is hitting poorly.

My thinking is AVG is far from useless but not the best stat for evaluating hitters. But I love the posters ripping Vidro with his .314 avg. but then scream bloody murder about someone with a low avg. defiantly a double standard.

Either you use the stat or not, it can’t tell you if someone is bad and then not count when it says someone is good. (Generally speaking that is)

Posted by -j.

8:01 PM, Mar 10, 2008

"I dont get all the hating on vidro by people that adore ichiro. Yeah vidro is definately no ichiro but he hits singles for a high average just like ichiro...seems like a double standard to me, and dont use the DH battle because CF is traditionally a power hitter as well. The fact is you cant score if people dont get one base."

Are you joking? You have to be joking.

1. CF is not a power position. If you have a CFer that hits 20 homers, that is above average.

2. Ichiro steals 40+ bags a year and scores over a 100 runs.

3. Ichiro plays a perennial gold glove CF. Let me repeat that for dramatic effect. HE HAS WON 7 STRAIGHT GOLD GLOVES.

4. Last year was the first time Vidro has hit over .300 since 2003. So saying that Vidro is in the same league as a hitter with Ichiro is not accurate at all. Ichiro traditionally hits 50 POINTS higher than Vidro.

5. Did I mention that Vidro can't run or play defense worth a spit?

6. You do know that Vidro is a DH? DHs are meant to be run producers since their only job is to hit. Vidro does not produce runs.

7. There are more reasons to knock holes in your Ichiro/Vidro comp but I think I made my point.

Ugh...

Posted by Batter Up!!!

8:01 PM, Mar 10, 2008

scottM...... The days are getting longer in AK land, not shorter. AKMF will soon be putting tin-foil on his windows so he can sleep at night without the midnight sun cooking him. He may also be playing ball on the unlight field of dreams w/o lights at 2 AM with no problem seeing the ball. He will no doubt LHAO when finds out Ichiro could not get a hit in the batting cage he was left in today @ Peoria. Whatever ST is for...... these guys..... Management and Player alike..... need to man up.... We have a great chance here & expectations are high..... Good luck & good decisions to us all!!!

PS: I will be there with you on 3/31 in 146.

Posted by scottM

8:28 PM, Mar 10, 2008

You're so right. Batter Up. I meant to say that the days will be getting longer in AK's land of winter gloom.

And, yes, I have my nosebleed section ticket for 3/31 right behind home plate but way up high. That's where I'll be unless someone like GEOFF (hint, hint) wants to invite me into the press box instead.

Hey, I'll even bring my Sir Erikkkkkkkk sign, GEOFF. (The number of k's will depend on you kkkkkknow what). If I carry this sign into the postgame interview, then the number of questions I'll be allowed will correspond to the number of kkkkkkkkk's in the name. Help me out you statheads:

# of kkkkkkkkkkkk's = level of Bedard's postgame mood = # of questions allowed by Bedard.

And I'll be sure and call him "Sir".

Posted by downinthegroove

8:33 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Leave the state of AK out of this. At least they have fish left in their rivers...

I would be curious to see Bedard's stats in ST compared to last year. I don't put much into ST at either so this will be curious.

This will be true; I don't care about all of your optimism about the team, this is a make or break season. Struggling will not be tolerated nor will a slow start. Pessimism unfortunately will be heavy by the papers and most fans.

I read interestingly enough which I would love to hear opinion on is that Balentein (sp) is a loafer and plays like he is entitled. He has no work ethic and only relies upon talent without the work.

Posted by DrLo

9:05 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Jujay, I can't tell you why so many "hate" Vidro, but I can tell you why some feel he is less than an ideal DH for Seattle, and why the Ichiro/Vidro comparison is ludicrous.

If the power guys, especially Sexson, were actually delivering power, the team could probably afford Vidro at DH. The problem is that power hasn't been in plentiful supply, so getting Vidro with his singles and lack of speed home requires station-to-station baserunning which, in turn, means three consecutive hits or walks. The odds obviously don't favor this. If 3-5 deliver adequate power, Vidro's lack of power and speed become irrelevant, but unfortunately power was lacking in 2007 and many feel -- with good cause -- that it isn't likely to be ignited in 2008.

As for the Ichiro/Vidro comparison, their key difference is in their speed and, increasingly as Vidro has declined, their power. I would suggest, though, that the speed is the huge differentiating factor. Ichiro and Vidro actually share the same career OPS, .816, though Vidro's numbers the last three years (.763, .743, and .775) are pulling down some strong numbers from a more distant past. But even looking at each's entire MLB career and the same OPSs, what each has done with that OPS is totally different. Ichiro is averaging 111 runs per year; Vidro 62 (yes, he has had injuries, but even factoring those in the differential is large). Vidro has 21 career steals (and a miserable 58% success ratio...who would ever ask that guy to run, even in his prime?) while Ichiro has 272 and and 80.5% success rate. 111 runs vs. 62 (or even pro-rated to, say, 80) is huge, and the steals and ability to get from first to third or second to home on base hits is the key factor. And in using career numbers we are being very kind to Vidro. His production in 2005-2007 is well-below his career averages.

Being ".300 hitters", or "singles hitters", are the only points of similarity one can find between Ichiro and Vidro. You have to look to the differences.

Posted by drlo

9:18 PM, Mar 10, 2008

If Balentien is a loafer and relies on talent rather than hard work, would that make him a Griffey Jr. or a Manny Ramirez? Either way, works for me....

Posted by mark

9:18 PM, Mar 10, 2008

The only similarity between Vidro and Ichiro is that they both might hit over .300, but one of them 50pts higher, steal more bases, play outstanding defense and not plug up the bases in general. Not even close.

Oh, and the Cairo signing still sucks

Posted by oregongal

9:19 PM, Mar 10, 2008

DrLo, nice summary of Vidro and Ichiro.

Posted by downinthegroove

9:34 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Manny and Jr. had the talent that already had them in the majors at Wlads age so try try again. Yes, let's condone loafers with young prospects.

Worked for Ryan Anderson and a million other prospects.

Posted by Patrick F.

10:00 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Balentien should be the fourth outfielder and Mike Morse should replace Willie Boom Boom as our utility guy. They're both showing they deserve to make the team.

I'm encouraged that Bedard bounced back, after struggling in the first.

I really like our chances this year.

Posted by John

10:07 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I think DrLo makes a point worth mentioning. The fact that we aren't getting the power production from other parts of the lineup makes Vidro's lack of power stand out even more. If Richie were hitting 45 homers a year, and we had an outfielder who was hitting 35-40 homers a year, having a DH with power wouldn't be as critical.
I honestly wouldn't mind having a doubles hitter with a .315 average at DH if we had some pop elsewhere. But we don't, which makes Vidro's lack of power much more difficult to swallow.

Posted by Merrill

10:21 PM, Mar 10, 2008

downie, I saw my first reference to that point (about loafing/talented entitlement re: Wlad) in a recent comment by Mac saying he thought Balentien's focus and effort were much stronger this year. Sorry, can't remember the date, but I'm fairly sure it was in the past week.

DrLo, I agree with Oregongal, that was a clear and sharp explanation, especially the second paragraph.

Patrick, re: Balentien, supposedly he developed a bad habit or two (maybe scrapiron will chime in here on the details and his source, since he is the one I'm quoting), and see Jose's comment above about Balentien's defense. I really think he needs to play every day. He wasn't really all that last year against AAA hurlers; I think we can expect his output to go down, at least the first year or half-year he faces MLers.

Jose, exemplary job! Thanks a lot!

Posted by Get Griffey

10:28 PM, Mar 10, 2008


John-
Totally agree with that but this is not Vidro’s fault, so this is why there has been some reaction in support for him. The blame goes to Sexon, and other “power” hitters who have not produced. That is why I say blame them not Vidro, as I like him at DH If (and ONLY if) other slumping power hitters from last year pull some of their considerable weight this year.

So BLAME the (un)power players who have been slipping, not Vidro who batted .314 and should swing an even better bat this year (as he SHOULD be completely healthy).

Posted by downinthegroove

10:37 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I saw the article today from a few scouts that Wlad is a slacker who relies on his ability and feels entitled. Just what I read not what I reported. ESPN or SI I do believe.

Vidro stands out because he is not what we need. He is a problem not a solution. Blame Sexson. Go for it. We know what he did last year and the year before. This is not unprecedented. So to make up for that you get a slugger. Vidro is not.

Posted by jujay

10:45 PM, Mar 10, 2008

thank you "get griffey" that is what I was thinking... I dont think Vidro is the problem in the line up...and just to clarify I was only making the vidro/ichiro comparison in terms of being singles hitters....nothing else

Posted by oregongal

10:54 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I love Vidro's approach to hitting, especially on this team, and he's doing (the last half of last season) exactly what he was hired to do. I just think it was a dumb move to hire him. For that I blame Bavasi.

Posted by Merrill

10:59 PM, Mar 10, 2008

I don't think Morse is a good replacement for Sexson, as someone suggested above, if Sexson isn't hitting by mid-late May (I think *groan* we can all count on it being "late" May before he's DFA'd if he's not hitting, since he's a late starter even when he has good seasons). We'd need power there, and I think the moves would depend on how well the other guys--Vidro and Wilkerson--are doing.

If Vidro is hitting well, I think there's a bit of a dilemma. The only guys with pop in the system even near to being ready are Clement and Balentien, and contrary to what some seem to believe, their AAA numbers don't indicate much more than 20 dingers at best in a full ML season, at this point, anyway.

Nevertheless, Clement still needs to work on his catching at this point, so I think Ibanez or Wilkerson (likely W) would move to 1B, Balentien to RF, and the defense would likely be a wash. Actually a minor dip with Ibanez not being 6'8" and not saving his infielders as often as Sexson.

If Vidro is also stinking up the joint, then they'll likely do as many have been advocating and move him to the bench. Then Wilkerson and Ibanez become 1B and DH, with Balentien and Reed going to the LF and RF, respectively.

Reed's poor offense may just resurrect itself, but if not, I don't think the defensive improvement will be a wash with Wilkerson in RF, and Balentien's likely slight improvement over Ibanez will not be a wash given the likely offensive dip, which I think will be bigger than some people seem to think.

But since 1B and DH have likely just leapt up close to league average (if not above, due to Ibanez' combination of power and average, and Wilkerson's raw power if healthy), that might be enough if Beltre does well, Betancourt continues his upward curve, and Lopez maintains focus for a full season.

A much poorer scenario for the M's is if Wilkerson and/or Ibanez is injured or sucking big-time, in addition to Sexson and Vidro. Then we've got the perfect storm of bummerness some folks think is likely. I disagree and think it's more likely only one or two of the guys will stink.

And, as I've been saying, we could even have the opposite perfect storm of all four staying healthy.

Posted by downinthegroove

11:13 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Oregongal- I completely agree. I was a huge Vidro fan back with the Expos and think he is a true professional.

Unfortunately he is not as you pointed out our solution. We need pop in this lineup. If Sexson clubs away then he is great but that is not the case.

Every team needs a big clubber...Where is ours?

Posted by Donovan

11:24 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Well, ST actually DOES mean something to a guy on the bubble of making the team, which is why the Previously Unheard from New Kids (or PUNKs, as I like to call them) often outplay the MUltiyear Contract Uber-Starters (MUCUS) in March. It happens routinely. In fact, The performance of PUNKs trying to impress the coaching staff is about the only part of ST that makes any sense to seriously discuss. Personally, watching the Spring MUCUS run just doesn't do much for me. I only pay partial attention because it gets me ready for actual baseball - which starts in April. Of course, you sometimes have the additional wrinkle of a Gritty, Old, Over-Earning, Yesteryear's MUltiyear Contract Uber-Starter (GOOEYMUCUS) in camp, which leads to extreme tension among fans who are always divided on the allotment of roster spots between PUNKs and GOOEYMUCUS. In effect, the debate comes down to whether you want to place your bets on a human being who has disappointed you in the past or one who is going to disappoint you in the future. All of this is part of the entertainment value of baseball, because 6 months of anything without a tangible source of tension is pretty damn boring. This ritual has been going on for decades, but things have escalated due to the advent of the WWW, which has lead to the evolution of Self-serving, Non-Orderly, Totally Raving, Anonymous Gadflies (SNOTRAGs), who claim that the time has come for the PUNKs to wipe the MUCUS off the face of the earth. No matter what happens in ST, the SNOTRAGS always have and always will believe there is too much MUCUS or, worse yet, GOOEYMUCUS, that doesn't get wiped off by the PUNKs, due to the presence of Sycophantic Institutionalized Managers and Executives (SLIME). All this interplay and controversy makes for a lively old blog with lots of vibrant discourse until the roster cuts start in earnest, which leads inevitably to Blogger Lynchings Over Oft-repeated Dissing, Yapping, and Mouthing of Uncouth Characterizations and Utter Slander (BLOODYMUCUS), and, well, that's just gross.

That's as serious as I can get over ST numbers. Jesus, I can't wait for opening day.

Posted by Merrill

11:34 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Lovely!

Posted by The Besmircher

5:10 AM, Mar 11, 2008

The Besmircher thinks that what Donovan wrote was worthy of, well, The Besmircher. ;=)

Posted by BandwagonJumper

8:29 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Jose, nice job filling in for Geoff.

Ak, if you want to jump off the Mariners bandwagon before the season starts, be my guest. It a little crowded on the Mariners bandwagon and we could use some more room ;-). As I recall from memory last year the m’s started out good, then went cold because they were snowed out in Cleveland and didn’t recover from that until mid May. So reserve my right to jump the bandwagon at the end of May.

Also give Mac a chance for his managing style to develop. He had to work with someone else’s team under unsure managerial circumstances. I think he will manage differently having a team built to his management style.

Posted by scrapiron

8:42 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Sexson is going to play everyday at first this season, we might as well get used to it. I'm hoping that it's a contract year and he finds the motivation to have a career year.

Bavasi announced at the GM meetings that Sexson was on the block and he didn't receive a single substantial offer. And the Mariners are loathe to "eat" large salaries when there is a chance of getting something in return.

Personally, I'm crossing my fingers that they take Sexson's salary in 2009 and make a strong run at Teixera. That's the first baseman we need on this team. In the meantime, let's root for a Sexson career year so he can sign another big deal with another team next year.

Posted by Jon

8:51 AM, Mar 11, 2008

AK...you are the most negative person i ever read. Everything you say is negative and dont give us that you are telling it like it is. Its baseball not nuclear war. Have some fun, root for the guys and if you dont like the baseball the Mariners play, watch the sure thing Red Sox or Yanks. I like the Mariners, I like the players and their attitudes but you just dog on them all the time. I love baseball too much to dog on a team all the time.

Cheer up buddy, spring is in the air.

Jon

Posted by Griffey24

10:47 AM, Mar 11, 2008

"What have you done for me lately?"

Boy, is that the overriding theme of most posters here. Everyone is lamenting that we don't have a power bat. Didn't Sexson hit 35-40 homers in 2005 and 2006? Sure, he didn't last year...it was his career-worst season. But don't forget that BELTRE was viewed as the "bust" on '05 and '06, not Richie. Once Beltre produced a *bit* better, and Richie went in the tank, suddenly Richie was the bad signing? Sheesh.

Also, the reason Vidro and Ichiro have the same career OPS is because Vidro IS NOT A SINGLES HITTER. He was during the first half of 2007, but if he reverts to his career norms (which I expect he'll do if he's injury-free), he'll put up 35-40 doubles and 10-15 homers. That's more than Ichiro puts up.

I'm not deluded enough to expect all the M's to have career years in '08...but I also am not deluded enough to expect career WORST years out of the entire offense either.

SHOULD BE MUCH BETTER than '07:
Sexson
Lopez
Wilkerson

SHOULD IMPROVE SOMEWHAT
Vidro
Betancourt

STEADY AS SHE GOES:
Ichiro
Johjima
Beltre

DUE FOR DECLINE:
Bloomquist (not much room to go down here!)
Burke

IN DANGER OF DRASTIC DECLINE:
Ibanez

WILD CARD:
Morse
Cairo
Reed
Norton

Posted by oregongal

10:57 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Donovan -- priceless.

Enjoy the game today everyone. Hopefully the PUNKS, the MUCUS, and the GOOEYMUCUS all have great games today. See y'all tomorrow.

Posted by DirtyP

11:02 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Well said Jon. It's one thing to be critical of a team's decisions, and I certainly respect the right to be vocal about it. Let's face it, this team won't do everything right - few teams do. But to have multiple negative posts on _every_ _single_ _thread_ on this blog is just a sad and tired old routine that people have clearly had enough of. Claiming the season already looks dismal is a joke, although his/her opinion already holds no value to me due to the incessant negativity.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

11:03 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Jon - You win the Mariners fan of the year. You should get a seat next to Howie and Chuckles. You can discuss baseball strategies with them. You are definately in their league.

Ok I will try. How's this the Mariners will win this year because I want them to...really really bad. And I think MAC is a genious, he sure knows how to say really neat things. Richie is going to hit 50 home runs this year. The US is not in a recession.

Posted by zusu

11:35 AM, Mar 11, 2008

AK- observing the mariners in ST = looking at the glass as half empty or half full. You choose to see the team in all it's configurations as half empty, or perhaps even nearly empty. Whereas many of us choose to see this team as half full. Not FULL, mind you, but half full, and open to increased expectations. But feel free to go ahead and wallow - just don't expect to drag the rest of us down with you!

Posted by zusu

11:41 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Also, Donovan- thanks for your highly entertaining post last night! You must have spent some time working out those acronyms, and they were spot on!

Posted by scrapiron

11:42 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Griffey24 - You also forgot:
SHOULD BE MUCH BETTER
John McLaren

1) He's got his own staff now, rated as one of the best in the league
2) Has shown a willingness to mix SABER with old-school hunches
3) Has been willing to try new things, like hitting Yuni second to see how it works.
4) Wants to be more agressive on the basepaths (All of you groaning here, weren't you the same ones saying that Hargrove was too laid-back?)
5) Won't quit on the team in mid-season

While I'm not 100% behind McLaren, I like him ALOT more than Mike "I'm not giving it my best effort" Hargrove. I haven't been this enthused about a Mariner manager since Piniella. I also love how Mac brought down to AZ many ex-Mariners to try and establish a Mariner tradition. I'm seeing a never say die Mariner team even in spring training so far. Are Buhner, Wilson, Charlton, et al, teaching a "refuse to lose" attitude?

Posted by AKMarinersFans

11:43 AM, Mar 11, 2008

yup that's what the M's management hopes for. Having fans with low expectations. It really is the perfect managment team for Seattle. Wouldn't be very successful in markets where the fans have higher expectations.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:52 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Donovan - that'd be funnier if I didn't have a headcold and allergies.

And everyone, let's just cut to the chase of the Vidro hating: collectively, we haven't gotten over Edgar retiring. Anyone at DH, unless / until we have an All-Star there, is going to be a letdown.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:01 PM, Mar 11, 2008

"I saw the article today from a few scouts that Wlad is a slacker who relies on his ability and feels entitled. Just what I read not what I reported. ESPN or SI I do believe."

Wlad is the best prospect in the system, period. If given the chance, which is highly unlikely, he will silence critics who have advocated his trade for years from the excellent talent evaluators at USSM. Balentien has been in the system for over 5 years since he was 18 years old without any major incidents. Just because a scout saw him dogging it one day and calls him lazy doesn't mean jack. I heard a scout call Carlos Beltran lazy, but he has been playing hurt with bad knees for years.

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