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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 23, 2008 4:30 PM

Sights and Sounds: Silva getting low-balled

Posted by Geoff Baker

Mariners pitcher Carlos Silva was pleased with his effort today, despite allowing six runs on 10 hits and two walks over five innings of a Class AAA game. He did notch seven strikeouts. But he also felt the plate umpire wasn't giving him enough low strikes. See for yourself. Keep in mind, the balls being called on him weren't all consecutive. This is just a compilation (some artistic license on my part) of "ball calls" by the umpire to emphasize the theme of the day. You'll hear Silva complain after one particular four-pitch walk. See the look on his face as one of numerous ground ball hits sneaks through a hard infield. Watch him yield a stolen base and later, a double. But he does get his share of strikes called, which you'll see at the end. I top the video off with a strikeout, just for accuracy's sake.

Anyhow, just enjoy this for what it is -- entertainment, close-up action shots of a major league pitcher. Don't try to analyze anything off it.

NOTES (5:21 p.m.): For Adam in the comments thread, no one said anywhere today that Reed Johnson is a .390 OBP guy. Only that he's better than what the M's currently have out there. If he's a .350 OBP guy, he's better than most of the M's current lineup. As I've already mentioned, he was a .332 OBP guy a few seasons back. What he isn't is a .302 OBP performer the way he was in one injury-plagued season. His career on-base percentage is .342, even with last season's injury-impacted stats. I'd assume he was a .350 OBP guy, smile and ink him to a deal.

9:36 p.m.: For salumsden in the comments thread, nothing to be confused about. A .390 OBP is what Johnson had in 2006. Can't change it. If I'm going to argue for bringing him here, the fact he's capable of reaching such heights is going to get mentioned. You want to argue that he's closer to the .305 OBP he had last year? Let's hear it. I'm just pointing out that his last healthy year was pretty darned good. Doesn't mean he'll always attain that number. May never again. But we know he can because he's done it. So, no need for confusion. The .390 is right there in black and white. Always will be. Hope that clears things up.

11:07 p.m.: Hey everyone, J.J. in the comments thread has volunteered to shoot tomorrow's video. Be sure to send him (her?) your requests.


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Posted by Adam

5:08 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Yeah, Geoff - not buying your argument for why Johnson is a .390 OPS guy. You can't pick one year, argue that he got to play close to full-time that year, and claim he's that kind of hitter. You just can't.

Johnson would be a better option than Morse, Reed, or Jimerson, and I'd rather have him in LF than Ibanez, but he's not a .390 OPS guy.

Posted by oregongal

5:31 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Geoff, one of the things I most miss while watching baseball on TV instead of in person is following the movement of the fielders and umpires. You've done a couple (or more?) of these videos now where I can see some of that middle infield movement. Thanks!

Posted by scottM

5:53 PM, Mar 23, 2008

"the willing suspension of belief" may be a Hillary Clinton original, or a misquote, or her plagarizing a well-used expression. "The wiling suspension of DISbelief" is the phrase that applies to all drama and fiction as the process which allows us to enjoy stories we know aren't true. Some people are DISinclined to enjoy anything, so it's irrelevant anyway.

Loved your quote OregonGal about a two week extension of the regular season not mattering in the future anyway. If that's the case, though, the Colorado Rockies might have all of MLB to themselves.

Posted by oregongal

6:12 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Thanks, Scott. I kind of regret adding it, but I've spent the last two weeks immersed in the future and it just came out. Maybe the Expos can go home someday...

Posted by drlo

6:13 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Geoff, not sure if it is just the angle or what, but it appears as though the umpire in the Silva video is positioning himself straight behind and above the catcher's head. If so, then it is no surprise that he would be seeing, and giving, the high strike better than the low one. This straight up stance was normal when umpires used the outside protector, but over the last 25 years or more I think most umps tend to position themselves lower, on the inside corner of the plate over the catcher's shoulder, which is one factor behind the strike zone dropping over that time. Is this a regular MLB umpire?

Posted by ethan

6:44 PM, Mar 23, 2008

just got back from Peoria...(with lots of hiking mixed in)
view my in depth analysis at..
erikbedardisapieceof****.com
or
bradwilkersonisalsoapieceof****.com
or
dontgetmestartedonsexson.com

Posted by ethansanidiot

7:30 PM, Mar 23, 2008

visit ethansapieceof****.com

Posted by markus

7:44 PM, Mar 23, 2008

The fact that Cairo is considered a lock on this team, while Morse is in question is a perfect example of why this team could very well fall on their faces this year. You can't just give away jobs, guys have to earn them. When baseball players don't have to prove and earn what they get, they become 'business' like and lose all heart. If you watch this team, that is exactly what is going on, guys are going through the motions. It is so frustrating to hear Mac complain that the team isn't playing well, while at the same time not doing anything to really push them. Put some jobs on the line, sit some guys down for real. Make them realize that they have to earn their keep. Handouts just cause complacency, and complacency will cost this team dearly this year.

Cut Cairo! Free Morse!!

Posted by scottM

8:00 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Well said, Markus.

Posted by salumsden

8:03 PM, Mar 23, 2008

"For Adam in the comments thread, no one said anywhere today that Reed Johnson is a .390 OBP guy."

but earlier that day...

"Had a .390 OBP out of the leadoff spot in the order in 2006."

i'm confused.

Posted by drlo

9:12 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Re Reed Johnson.

Adam and salumsden, Geoff can answer for himself if he chooses to, but I think his point is simply that the fuller the season the more likely the stats are to reflect actual capability, and in his "fullest" 461 AB season, Johnson had some good numbers including the .390 OBP. He didn't literally say that Johnson "is a .390 OBP guy", nor did I take his words to imply that. All I read into it is that Johnson, at his best thus far, was actually pretty good and in Geoff's opinion could contribute to the Mariners.

Not sure I agree with that myself, at least until I've given it more thought, but in any event it seems that is where the debate lies.

Posted by JJ

10:25 PM, Mar 23, 2008

what a boring video. Why are you posting random junk if it's not to be analyzed?? Must be getting bored in AZ

Posted by Maui Mariner

11:28 PM, Mar 23, 2008

Glad to see you still have your sense of humor after baking in the AZ sun Geoff.

The videos along with the comments are greatly appreciated over here. The "party line" radio broadcast doesn't fully express all the nuanceses of the whole experience along with being fair and balanced like you are. You are fair and the commenters make it balanced. See all a neat package.
Now let's PLAY BALL!

Posted by ricofoy

6:04 AM, Mar 24, 2008

The JJ who posted that comment is truly a PUTZ! lol
Silva knows he needs those pitches to be successful so he's already in midseason form working the umps.
Reed Johnson would be a welcome addition to the team but I doubt they'll get him. Does he still have that raccoon's tail pasted on his chin?

Posted by Ziasudra

6:38 AM, Mar 24, 2008

Who is Reed Johnson? never heard of him - what position does he play? CF? Don't think we need one. LF? RF? end of the bench? Where would we put him?
Last question - who would we kick off the team to keep him? We have too many guys already. We're going to have to cut one or more useful OF's, one or more PH's - can he pitch? we have 15 pitchers we don't know what to do with.
Please explain. Thanks.

Posted by Adam

7:29 AM, Mar 24, 2008

Yes, the .390 is there in black and white. But It's a pretty irrelevant number. It was by far his career high, meaning it's likely an outlier.

It's like citing Sexson's 2005 season as a reason to keep him in the starting lineup. Yes, he put up a .390 OPS in 2006. But he's not going to do it again.

Posted by markus

8:01 AM, Mar 24, 2008

But Adam, vets give you what they've always given you. Since the .390 will always be there, that must be what he will always give you. Just like Sexson will always give you what he's always given you, even though he hasn't given it to you for two years. they aren't going to sign Johnson because he still hasn't received an AARP card.

Cut Cairo!! Free the kids!! Won't somebody think of the kids?

Posted by scrapiron

8:17 AM, Mar 24, 2008

I don't know how all the momentum to claim Reed Johnson came from, but remember if you claim him you have to release Mike Morse, since he is the fourth outfielder and he's out of options.

On that note, McLaren hinted in a recent interview that the Mariners are looking at trade options for their out of options guys. I could imagine that Cha Seung Baek and Mike Morse could return at least a decent minor leaguer.

Posted by scrapiron

8:25 AM, Mar 24, 2008

What's even more disheartening about yesterday's game is that they came out flat against the Angels. This is the team McLaren wanted to "send a message" to earlier in spring training by playing all their starters. What message was sent yesterday?

Posted by nomadkng

8:52 AM, Mar 24, 2008

drlo- look at the umpires outside leg in relation to the catcher's back... he's in the "slot" as he should be. watching the video maybe 1 of the low pitches pitches shown in the video was borderline low... the rest were definite ankle pitches. i've umpired for 22 years at some very high levels and I wouldn't have given mr silva those pitches either. Just "another" excuse. A good picther adjusts to the umpire and can stil get batter out. Plus a higher strike zone makes your curve ball that much better becuase it looks like a strike on release.

Posted by jujay

9:11 AM, Mar 24, 2008

Heard a rumor that the nats are interested in picking up Weaver...haha too bad for them

Posted by Faceplant

9:58 AM, Mar 24, 2008

"I don't know how all the momentum to claim Reed Johnson came from, but remember if you claim him you have to release Mike Morse, since he is the fourth outfielder and he's out of options."


Can someone please explain the Mike Morse love fest to me? First of all, although he may play the position, he IS NOT an outfielder. His skillset makes him a corner infielder with a below average bat. He isn't anything special.

I would rather have Reed Johnson. At least he won't kill you on defense.

In the absense of a Johnson signing, I think I'm pulling for Jeremy Reed. He was never as bad a hitter as he looked, and can give you very good defense from the corners, and even spell Ichiro in center.

Posted by markus

10:26 AM, Mar 24, 2008

Facelift-
I am not a Morse in the outfield supporter, but I am a Morse on the bench supporter, especially if the competition includes Cairo. Morse is a true infielder, especially on the corners. It just bugs me that the guy is hitting well, and not just singles, but a guy like Cairo that has never proven anything in his career is being handed a spot on the bench. It's the underlying theme of handing jobs away, and making competition meaningless. Morse is the better option for the bench than Cairo, better bat and plays mostly the same positions in the IF except for 2b, and you already have Willie to back up there. I think Reed should be on the team, as the 4th OF and being all worried that he's left handed is irrelevant in my mind.

Posted by Faceplant

1:42 PM, Mar 24, 2008

"Facelift-"


Zing!


"I am not a Morse in the outfield supporter, but I am a Morse on the bench supporter, especially if the competition includes Cairo. Morse is a true infielder, especially on the corners."


Well, kinda. Morse isn't particularly good at any defensive position. He's easily a better infielder, but he really isn't that great of an infielder either.


"It just bugs me that the guy is hitting well, and not just singles, but a guy like Cairo that has never proven anything in his career is being handed a spot on the bench. It's the underlying theme of handing jobs away, and making competition meaningless. Morse is the better option for the bench than Cairo, better bat and plays mostly the same positions in the IF except for 2b, and you already have Willie to back up there."


I can totally see where you are coming from. And I agree with Bloomquist, Cairo is redundant. But Morse's bat isn't going to make up for his attrocious defense. Unless you carry him to strictly be a pinch hitter, I just don't think he has a place on this team. And I think people have a tendency to put WAY too much stock into spring training statistics. They are almost completely worthless.

"I think Reed should be on the team, as the 4th OF and being all worried that he's left handed is irrelevant in my mind."


I don't think it matters what side of the plate he hits from. Yes, the entire outfield is LH, but Ichiro and Wilkerson both have reverse platoon splits, so it doesn't really matter.

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