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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 27, 2008 12:09 PM

Morrow might not head north

Posted by Geoff Baker

finalday 001.jpg

There is a game being played here today, though it's essentially a Class AAA Mariners team taking on a so-so San Diego Padres lineup. Felix Hernandez gave up a home run on the game's second pitch, then a single on the third, so he's already down 1-0.

No further news about the Mariners roster this morning, other than the fact the team is having second and even third thoughts about bringing Brandon Morrow north to start the season. I have a feeling what we saw out of Mark Lowe yesterday has something to do with that. The team is convinced Lowe can handle himself in the big team's bullpen. There is not as much confidence in Morrow right now, given the fact he's yet to throw a clean inning against Class AA and AAA hitters in his comeback from that shoulder problem. Command is Morrow's biggest enemy right now.

Mariners manager John McLaren told us this morning that he would not be able to complete his roster, as hoped for, prior to the team's noon departure for San Francisco. McLaren talked about the team not wanting to put itself in a bullpen bind as it did last season, when too many pitchers were limited in the number of innings they could throw, or back-to-back days they could work.

"We want flexibility,'' he said.

Given that, I asked him the obvious question.

"Is Brandon Morrow on this team?''

McLaren did not answer in the affirmative.

"We're going to see where we are with him.''


finalday 002.jpg

That told me all I needed to know about why this process has been held up the way it is. Less than a week ago, McLaren was still confident he'd have his roster named by now. No longer the case. What's happened since then? Morrow started pitching in games again.

The team is still, believe it or not, wrestling with the idea of carrying only 11 pitchers. The reason for this is McLaren desperately wants to keep Greg Norton around as a pinch-hitter. But if the team goes with 12 pitchers, that extra bench spot is no longer there.

See how complicated something pretty straightforward can get?

Given his "flexibility'' comments, I'd say it's a given that R.A. Dickey is on this team. When I asked McLaren whether any of tonight's scheduled pitching performances -- Dickey being the headliner -- in San Francisco were going to impact the final roster or not, he said not really. That means Dickey's use of a slower knuckle ball isn't really going to increase or decrease his chances of making the team. On a club where bullpen innings could be a problem early, it makes sense to carry a rubber-armed knuckleballer as your long relief guy. Ryan Rowland-Smith, as we've mentioned, will almost certainly be the second lefty. In fact, he will be, since he's the only lefty reliever still in camp besides Eric O'Flaherty, a guy already on the team.

So, there you have it. Felix Hernandez goes against the Padres today down here in Peoria.

For those of you asking me about Erik Bedard, I think there's a very different private side to him that the media doesn't get to see. I'll be writing about that for our Monday paper. Do I like these post-game question-and-answer sessions with him? Not really. The questions aren't that great, given that it's spring training and tough to take his results at face value. That said, I've rarely heard anything insightful for a pitcher in one of these post-game things. There are some rare exceptions, Bedard not being one of them.

Truth is, I've started skipping some of these post-game things. I don't care to hear Felix Hernandez mumble on about needing to throw strikes and mix pitches in with his fastballs for variety's sake. Just do it, already. If not, I'll write about how he isn't doing it. The sports journalism world is coming down to that anyway. The good writers, as I told you in a blog post last week, don't really need many insights from players to do their jobs. There are coaches, specialists, scouts and other more-detached individuals who can often give you a more objective read than the player himself. I'll always try to ask a player something, in hopes he can be a pro and explain something firsthand.

But if he doesn't? OK then, I'm still going to write the piece. And if the player doesn't like it after, that's too bad. Had his chance to enlighten. Chose not to.

If I was a player, the loss of any opportunity to shape my image the way I'd want it would be of concern. I can't figure out players who'd rather leave their fate in the hands of the media without at least taking an opportunity to explain what's going on.

I asked Bedard after yetserday's game about whether he's thrown fewer curveballs this spring than he normally did in spring training down in Florida. Why? Well, it's probably his best pitch. If he isn't using it much here, it might explain why hitters have smacked nine home runs off him in 20 innings of Cactus League play. Just a thought. He claims he doesn't know. Of course he does. He might not know exactly how many, but he certainly has some idea whether he's holding off on throwing as many curves as he did last spring -- simply because they aren't all that effective in the thinner Arizona air.

But, he chose to give the answers you saw yesterday. That's fine by me. I get paid regardless and I've already told you I think it's the air. But Bedard's reluctance to help himself in this regard now has Mariners fans all over the internet wondering aloud whether it's really the Arizona air or something that could carry over in Seattle. Doesn't make a bit of difference to me. But if Bedard, for some reason, gives up three homers to the Rangers on Monday, you can bet those seeds of doubt amongst fans will sprout into full-blown panic.

Then, he'll have some real questions to answer post-game. Not the puff-piece, spring training softies lobbed his way.

Comes with the territory for a contending team. This isn't Baltimore. These Mariners will be expected to win and answer for it if they don't. Not by me. By all of you. If he gets torched by the Rangers, you're going to be flooding this blog asking me why. You know it and I know it.

And for a new player, in a new city, the first few weeks are critical. It can take months to undo a few early weeks of image damage. Seen it before. Some pitchers I've covered had a tough first month with their new club, then pitched OK afterwards but were still getting booed the following season if even the slightest thing went wrong. Maybe Bedard really doesn't care. If he doesn't, that's his right. But if it were me, I wouldn't be going out of my way to set up hurdles for myself when I don't have to. Bedard is under enough pressure already as the guy who is supposed to carry this team to the post-season. Why add to that?

But as I said, it's his life. All I really care about is what he does on the mound. So far, he hasn't done much. I expect that to change come March 31, once he's out of Arizona. If it doesn't, and you start flooding my inbox to ask me about it, I'll still be here. And I'll give you straight answers to straight questions.

Fair enough?


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Posted by scrapiron

11:52 AM, Mar 27, 2008

Players also don't like to be labeled making excuses. So Bedard might be indeed having problems with the Arizona air, but doesn't want to start making excuses so soon after the Mariners invested so much in him.

He's still trying to establish himself as a teammate, and isn't the well-versed veteran that can say whatever he wants yet.

I'd love to get an honest answer from him on whether he would consider signing a long term deal with the Mariners, but it won't happen.

Posted by Adam

11:55 AM, Mar 27, 2008

Re: Morrow - here' s hoping Lowe is lights out and the team finally makes the right decision to keep Morrow in Tacoma to start. If he's successul, he can come back up here around August, go back into the pen, and form a nasty set-up combo with Lowe. Then he's in the mix to start in 2009.

Posted by Seattle Sports Blog

11:57 AM, Mar 27, 2008

Brandon Marrow vs. Tim Lincecom.....nuff said....why, oh why, we didn't draft a local stud in that draft will haunt us for years to come. Marrow hasn't proved he can pitch at this level while Tim L is considered one the "top young prospects in baseball."

Posted by Henry

11:58 AM, Mar 27, 2008

Shotgun!

Looking forward to opening day. Hopefully the fans lay off of Bedard and Sexson if they get off to a slow start. Get in these guys head to early may lead to disaster down the road.

Escobar out for the year, career?

"Your 2008 AL West Champs, your Seattle Mariners."

Posted by Kyle in Kentucky

12:03 PM, Mar 27, 2008

That's why we love you Geoff!! Keep up the great work. I've been MIA as far as posting goes this offseason but I'm still reading all the blogs and I'll jump back on once we start playing games that count. Can't wait for the season to start.

Posted by cwel87

12:05 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Bedard might not be throwing his curveball because, I don't know, he's throwing his cutter upwards of 90% of the time?

He's trying to make that pitch passable in actual games. He gets the fact nothing statistics-wise (and I do mean *nothing*) done in Spring Training matters for veterans, at all.

As for Morrow, keeping him in AAA is the best move for this ballclub, just so he can work on learning how to start. If we used a number 5 overall pick on a setup man...it'd be simply inexcusable. I understand the Mariners have a desire to win now, but the difference between Morrow and Lowe is negligent. So, why not go with the lesser of the two talents and let the greater of the two find some control and actually use his talent? Makes sense to me.

Posted by Walrus

12:05 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Goeff,
Since you seem to be able to get the best answers out of the Mariner’s org, and we all want to do our civic duty in helping the M’s win their division…
Can you please find out and post to us who is hurting on the Mariner’s and what is hurting, so we can pray for them to get healthy.
I know playing Richie Sexson, even with a injured shoulder that requires cortizon or whatever shots, is the best solution for the Mariners to win…since there are no viable options on the bench…
AND playing Adrian Beltre with his injured wrist / hands is the best way to lead the M’s to victory because Mike Morse’s .500+ batting average in spring training means nothing…
AND having Brandon Morrow on the 25 man roster is crucial to the M’s success, despite his tired arm / tendonitis / similar symptoms that many M’s pitchers have had before they ended up needing year long arm surgery…because the M’s really don’t have any other candidates for the bullpen that can fill the role that Brandon has…and because the M’s know that it is better to have Rhodes and Reitsma and probably even Lowe strengthen their arms and work on getting better control in AAA…
AND Willie Bloomquist is a vital cog the M’s have to have, even though his best assest is his speed and Willie still has problems with his quad muscle, because Willie is a gritty gamer that all the other guys look up to and take inspiration from….

I could go on, but really we all need to know is who is hurt, so we can understand what they are going through….so just incase they happen to hit .100 with no homers and commit 10 errors in April, we fans will know that these guys are trying their best…and if perchance the M’s are not in first place in May, we will know it was out of the Mariner’s FO hands to do anything about these issues, because …because…ahhh…ohhh…because they are the mariner’s FO and we should just trust them.

Thus, could you please let us know if Jose Vidro, Jose Lopez, Brad Wilkerson, Miguel Cairo, and all the other wonderful guys on the Mariners are healthy and happy…and so I and many others can pray for their boo-boos to heal…we would appreciate it.

Posted by Lap Dog

12:05 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Geoff - the blog/site Prospect Insider is reporting a rumor that Dickey has been offered back to the Twins. I assume this is just a rumor but it would certainly contradict what you stated in your post that Dickey is a given to make this club. Any comments on the rumor?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

12:10 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Scrap - A little early to be asking about a long-term deal for Bedard when he hasn't thrown a single pitch for the Ms in a game that counted. :) The crucial time to lock him up long-term is this winter. So the time to ponder it is around August, when we'll have a real idea of whether the M's got what they paid for.

Adam - They will not be sending Morrow down to AAA to start. It's a lovely fantasy you and a couple other regulars have there, but they're just not going to do it. Even if he's starting in Tacoma to get work in, when he's brought up to the majors again it will be as a setup man. Or at most, long relief. I'm not saying that's right or wrong; I'm saying that's what they're going to do with him, given past history.

The "Morrow should be a starter" horse is not just dead, not just overly beaten, it's actively being defended by a ring of protesters from the ASPCA, citing animal cruelty. Morrow will be traded or retired before he's a starter in an M's uniform.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

12:15 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Cool...Vidro and Bloomquist are going to be in Tacoma this year. Thanks Geoff

Posted by Tim

12:17 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Calm down Geoff. You sound like a little girl not getting enough attention from the boy she likes. next time you want to write something to Eric dont post it asw news to the restof us. Bedard is a winner and maybe does not want to dwell on losses in spring training. get over it. other than your latest post you have done a great job. Maybe I should start a media that covers the media, and I will ask you dumb questions about roug drafts that dont matter or count towards anything. "are you using more verbs this season" "Have you thought about making less spelling errors?"

Posted by Rain King

12:18 PM, Mar 27, 2008

This may have already been discussed in earlier threads... but how can the 'thin arizona air' excuse hold up when thin air teams like the diamondbacks and the rockies make it to the WS? have those teams just had the time to adjust?

Posted by scrapiron

12:19 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Chris - Actually right now the pricetag on Bedard is the lowest it's going to be. Assuming the ST stats are a fluke, you know you've got an ace in Bedard, and if he puts up 20 wins in a M's uniform his pricetag would be higher than Santana's this off season.

The same can be said about Felix. I'd lock up both long term before the season starts and hold a huge press conference before opening day announcing the future of the Seatle Mariners.

This off season C.C. Sabathia is a free agent, and will probably get a deal for more than Santana got. Bedard will want to exceed that.

Posted by moscowms

12:25 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Finally created an account to comment as I've been reading the blog since the beginning. Love it by the way.

I know its spring training, and I know Bedard started the regular season last year a little off, but you can't help but worry a little bit. As an actor (although not a very good one :( I think of spring training like the rehearsal process for a play. Yesterday was the final dress rehearsal before opening night and Mr. Bedard dropped a few of his lines. If I was the director I'd be a little worried, no matter how hot, dry, and thin the air may be in that theatre.

Having said that our new leading man gave up a total of 19 home runs last year in 182 innings in a hitters ball park. So, thank the baseball gods for ST, I guess. His stats say he'll buckle down. (They also said Sexson would be a lot better too, but I digress.) I'm sure he's a little concerned about giving up 23 runs in 24 innings, but... its just rehearsal. Come Monday, when the lights go up (figuratively, its a day game) he'll deliver.

Hopefully.

Posted by scrapiron

12:26 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Rain King - I don't think it's "thin air" it's "dry air". The school of thought is that without condensation it's difficult to get a good grip and get maximum rotation on breaking pitches.

As for the Diamondbacks, they have a roof on their stadium and I have to believe that it helps, at least temporarily, raise the humidity in the stadium.

Posted by Kazinski

12:30 PM, Mar 27, 2008

I absolutely love the way Bedard handles the press. Not quite as well as Steve Carlton did, but still worthy of admiration.

Posted by Adam

12:34 PM, Mar 27, 2008

There has been some talk about Jeremy Reed and whether the M's will be able to trade him. The Rays were mentioned as a team who might be interested.

May I suggest JP Howell as the player we'd receive in return?

First of all, I don't think the Rays would give up Edwin Jackson. They like him, as they rightly should. Reed isn't worth Jackson straight up, so I doubt that would happen.

Howell, in the meantime, is the perfect of a young pitcher with good stuff who has had bad breaks and just needs more opportunities.

If you look up Howell, you will likely notice his ERAs of 6.19, 5.10, and 7.59 from the last three years. Throw those out the window. ERA is NOT a very good indicator of a pitcher's talent or production.

There are a few things that pitchers have control over - missing bats, throwing strikes, and getting hitters to hit the ball in the air or on the ground. You will find that the best pitchers in the game are pitchers who do at least two of these three things well. (Go to the stats section Hardballtimes.com and select THT Pitching to see for yourself)

I'd like to compare Howell to Jarrod Washburn.

Howell:

K/G for 2005, 2006, 2007: 6.3, 6.8, 7.8
BB/G: 4.6, 2.9, 3.3
GB%: 58%, 45.5%, 46.1%

Washburn:

K/G for 2005, 2006, 2007: 4.9, 4.9, 5.3
BB/G: 2.6, 2.6, 3.1
GB%: 39.3%, 39.9%, 36.5%

Note: You will notice that Washburn was pretty much the same pitcher in 2005 and 2006, even though his ERA was almost a run and a half lower in 2005. Why? Part can be explained by nothing more than luck - in 2005, he stranded 81% of runners, more than 10% over the league average. There is no documented skill in stranding runners. In 2006, when his LOB% returned to normal, at 69.8%, his ERA went up almost 1.5 runs. So much for ERA even coming close to telling the whole story.

But back to Howell and Washburn.

Howell does two things markedly better than Washburn: he strikes out more hitters and he gets more ground balls. Ground balls are superior to fly balls, because, although more grounders go for hits, they are almost always less harmful than flyballs that fall for hits (ie, 1Bs vs. HRs). So, a ground-ball pitcher will likely be more effective.

The only thing that Washburn does better than Howell is prevent walks. But last year, the difference between the two was almost negligible. And one more thing: Howell gave up HRs on a whopping 16% of his flyballs last year - way above average (ask Felix how that feels). Washburn only gave up HRs on 9% of his flyballs. Since there is no evidence that a pitcher has much control over this number, think of what their respective ERAs would look like if those numbers regressed to average (which is about 12%, if I remember correctly).

So why did Howell have such high ERAs? Part of it is just bad luck - his LOB%, for example, was about 10% below league average in 2005 and 2007. We saw what 10% did for Washburn in 2005; what could it do for Howell? Further, Howell pitched in front of some horrible defenses in TB and KC, especially TB. According to Hardballtimes, only 63 to 64 percent of balls put in play against Howell were turned into outs, not including HRs. That's pretty bad. Tampa was horrible defensively, even worse than the Mariners.


Add into this analysis the fact that Howell is not yet 25. He's a lefty (always needed at Safeco) who throws grounders, has a very good K/G rate, and whose control is getting better. He just needs a better defense and better luck (not to mention a better home park). He'll get all three with the Mariners, and he'll instantly be a better pitcher than Jarrod Washburn, for a fraction of the price and at a much younger age.


Hardballtimes uses two stats to evaluate pitchers: FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP (much like FIP, but normalizes for HRs). You can go to the stats glossary to read about them. In short, they attempt to do what ERA does, only accounting for factors outside a pitcher's control (defense, park, luck, bullpen, weather).

Here are the ERAs, FIPs, and xFIPs for Howell and Washburn from 2005, 2006, and 2007:

Howell

2005: 6.19, 5.02, 4.56
2006: 5.10, 4.14, 4.37
2007: 7.59, 4.91, 4.25

Washburn:

2005: 3.20, 4.60, 5.06
2006: 4.67, 4.37, 5.01
2007: 4.32, 4.83, 5.30

I like FIP and xFIP more than ERA+, because they attempt to make it pitcher-centric. And according to those numbers, you could argue that Howell has been at least equal to Washburn, if not better, over the past three years.


So let's trade Jeremy Reed for JP Howell, and trade away Washburn. The team will be better for it.

Posted by Adam

12:35 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Adam - They will not be sending Morrow down to AAA to start. It's a lovely fantasy you and a couple other regulars have there, but they're just not going to do it.

Chris: I am under no illusions about the ignorance and incompetence of the Mariners' braintrust.


And holy crap, was my last post long...

Posted by Everett fan

12:38 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Morrow as a starter is not dead yet; but, even so, a stint in AAA would help him develop other pitches, starting or relieving.
BUT - if recovered, as he seems to be, Lowe is a better set-up man than Morrow ever dreamed to be. High nineties and control of all his pitches. And, the heir-apparent to JJ.
I agree that a high first round draft choice is too high for a middle inning reliever, which is the only job open on the M's right now - that's why Morrow should be in AAA, preparing to replace one or both of our suspect starters.

Posted by PeeWee

12:41 PM, Mar 27, 2008

wow, i just read like 20 paragraphs on why we should trade reed for howell. what a complete waste of time.

Posted by scrapiron

12:41 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Lap Dog - Prospect Insider has really be downgraded as a reliable source of information in my book ever since all the false rumors/stories on the Erik Bedard trade. In fact, if you read on the website on the same page as the Dickey rumor you'll see a story that says that Arthur Rhodes is a lock to make the opening day roster and RRS is out in the cold.

I'm pretty sure Dickey makes the club, and they are looking at trade offers for Baek rather than lose him for nothing. One possibility is that they carry Baek instead of Morrow on a 12-man pitching staff, so that his value increases and they trade him in April barring other injuries.

Posted by Basker

12:42 PM, Mar 27, 2008

I've been following Bedard for the past year and a half now (mainly cause of fantasy) and very simply put, he doesn't let emotion interfere with his game. To the media, he's got a monotone personality. Bedard conditions himself so that stress, big-game tension, and public attention don't affect his game.

Former teammates have stated that he's a private guy, but nonetheless, a great person to have in the clubhouse. They've also stated that he so serious about pitching he believes that no hitter should ever make contact with the ball against him. While trying to strike everyone out isn't always affective, it has worked in the past for him.

So from a fan perspective- I love his personality. He's extremely focused and is playing the game to do one thing: dominate.

And for any Bedard haters, he had an ERA over 6.00 in April last year. The rest though, was history...

Posted by genesisfan

12:42 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Bedard isn't a communicator, you tell us again. And again. Duh. That was made clear by everything written about him leading up to the trade, at the time of the trade and since the trade. You tell us it's the thin air, then offer us ever thinning gruel about his lack of communication skills. Enough already. Let's get away from journalistic psychology and back to baseball. If on Monday his curve ball is as thin as his chatter, or not, then we'll have another story, a baseball story.

Posted by Rain King

12:42 PM, Mar 27, 2008

scrapiron, thanks for the clarification. i guess it's only my wishful thinking that even in non-important games a CY caliber guy could find a way to adjust even under the circumstances. :)

Posted by moscowms

12:48 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Adam - I think you and a few others, like k should be paid to post on this blog. Very well researched post and I was totally with you until your last comment about getting rid of Washburn. Do you mean now? What in the world has Howell done in MLB? He pitched a total of 51 innings last year in 10 starts! Of the 45 runs he gave up all but 2 of them were earned, so I don't see exactly how the bad Rays defense bilked him out of a good ERA last year. I'm all for trading for potential, especially because Reed has no chance to ever play in a Mariners uniform (barring a bad outbreak of osteoporosis in our outfield) but just leave it at that. Washburn is a decent pitcher and if he gets decent run support this year he might win more than 10 games.

Posted by scrapiron

1:05 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Adam - excellent analysis, and I agree Howell would be a good fit, but not to replace Washburn. If the Mariners suffered one injury to their rotation like the Angels have, they'd be sunk. There is no one ready to step in and start for the Mariners now except for Baek, and they are about to lose him. I'd rather trade Reed for Howell, then give Howell and Dickey both long-relief roles. That way if any starter had to miss a start Howell could step in.

Washburn is proven, Howell has potential. Right now we have 5 proven starters, and I'll take that anyday. I'm all for potential waiting in the wings though.

Posted by Adam

1:22 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Scrap - fair enough. I'm not a Washburn fan, and would love to see his contract gone yesterday, but I understand why keeping him would be a good option.


Moscowms - You might have missed the point of my analysis if you ask "what has Howell done?"

And just because a team doesn't have a ton of errors doesn't mean it is a good defensive team.

Posted by Lap Dog

1:24 PM, Mar 27, 2008

scrapiron - thanks for the response. I guess I should stick to this blog for the most reliable info.

Posted by Ned

1:27 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Bedard won't be getting a soft landing on Monday either. I'm quite impressed with the Rangers' lineup. Lots of power up and down the order. Hope the game doesn't turn out to be a slugfest.

Posted by JJ

1:30 PM, Mar 27, 2008

If Bedard responds like that after a meaningless spring training WIN....what's it going to be like after he blows an important AL West showdown??? Simply put...he sounds like a jerk or an interview. Let's just hope he can pitch. Success will allow people to overlook his snotty attitude....but if not....things are going to erupt in the clubhouse and with the fanbase.

Posted by fred

1:34 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Media always attach greater importance to themselves than others do. This surely has to be true with communication/non-communication with Erik Bedard.

Some players talk incessantly but say little or nothing. Bedard obviously is shy or uncertain around media. Let it be. As you say, his performance will do his talking. If it is as bad in the regular season as it has been in spring training, then the Mariners made a huge mistake in expending so much money and young talent to bring him on board.

Morrow probably should stay in AZ and sharpen up. Lowe has had a couple good outings but it also is doubtful that he is fully prepared for the season.
Better to leave them both at work in a warm clime and postpone roster decisions until they are ready.

Concerned right now that McLaren will dump and lose both Dickey and Baek and then find they were needed. Also concerned that Norton and Cairo will cause the dumping of younger position players.
They are near the end of their trails.

Posted by Ziasudra

1:41 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Hey Geoff - what's happening to Felix? you have the first five minutes of the game, and ESPN shows it in the 5th inning, 3-2 them. Are you flying to SF?

Posted by Big Ebu

1:42 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Chris from B, I agree with your assessment of the Mariners FO in regards to Morrow, but those of us in the “we wish Morrow was throwing more then 40 pitches per appearance” crowd still like to fantasize on what could be…

Adam, good stuff on Howell. Certainly seems as though he could have good upside with the Mariners. I like Reed but he seems to be without a role on the Mariners so not a big loss to trade him.

Posted by Ziasudra

1:44 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Hey Geoff - what's happening to Felix? you have the first five minutes of the game, and ESPN shows it in the 5th inning, 3-2 them. Are you flying to SF?

PS - fix the gotcha!

Posted by scrapiron

1:45 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Zia - I'm listening to the game and Felix sounds like he's doing well. The score now is 3-3. Felix has given up a long ball to Khalil Greene but has been hitting his spots. There is also no regulars in the lineup except Johjima, so he's basically got Tacoma's defense.

I don't think Geoff will answer as he's probably with the team in San Francisco.

The Mariners have given up on the Padres game. The San Diego announcers are none too happy about the lineup the Mariners gave them. I don't know know why they scheduled this game.

Posted by Donovan

1:48 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Dickey is absolutely on the team. I think Geoff is all over that. I really hope they go with 6 pitchers in the pen and keep Norton. I'm ok with losing Baek to waivers. I think his talent is pretty ordinary. He has value as an insurance policy, but an experienced ML pinch hitter is more valuable than a mediocre pitcher in AAA. I actually think Baek could clear waivers. There are lots of guys like him popping off ML rosters this time of year.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:50 PM, Mar 27, 2008

"so he's basically got Tacoma's defense." which is probably an upgrade although he is stuck with Vidro at first.

Posted by couga1990

1:55 PM, Mar 27, 2008

MORROW HAS PITCHED BETTER THAN "BEDARD" WHY DID WE TRADE FOR HIM? A JONES IS TEARING THE COVER OFF THE BALL AND "BEDARD" CANT GET THROUGH 3 INNINGS!!! AHHHHH BAVASI????

Posted by scrapiron

2:01 PM, Mar 27, 2008

3-3 when they pulled Felix. Then they brought in Travis Chick and he got hammered for 6 runs in 2/3 of an inning and it's now 9-3.

The Padres announcers are ticked. They just said they don't get paid enough to broadcast a minor league game, and they said this is a minor league game.

Posted by mark logan II

2:03 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Cougar ... since when is .260 tearing the cover off the ball? That's what AJ is hitting this spring.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:05 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Is an ERA of 81 bad?

Posted by moscowms

2:08 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Adam - I got you. I know defense isn't all errors. I was making a point that despite all those interesting stats it isn't logical to replace a Washburn with a Howell at this point. Which I think you have to know deep down in your Washburn hating heart. I'm not against trading Reed for Howell though, also a point.

Looked again at the Rays lineup this year. If they can actually stay healthy (see Baldelli, Pena, Kazmir) that team might start drawing more than 8,000 fans a game. They are solid defensively as well, any team would love to have Upton, Crawford, and Baldelli in their outfield. One all-star and two potential ones. (I don't like that word "potential". I mean, I'M a "potential" all star, and I can barely get a softball out of the infield in my rec league!) We'll see what Howell does this year with the current Rays line up, see if those stats actually mean anything.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:18 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Mark Logan - You're right tearing the cover off the ball is not hitting .260. It's the .743 slugging percentatge that Bedard is giving up...

Posted by moscowms

2:23 PM, Mar 27, 2008

AK - Chick got confused being in Arizona and all, thought he was golfing

Posted by Phil

2:30 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Interestinf SI.Com article on The Mariners published today.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/john_donovan/03/27/donovan.mariners/index.html

Posted by Mike

2:57 PM, Mar 27, 2008

"Ibanez -- no Gold Glover in left, but not a complete stiff ".......I would beg to differ with our intrepid SI reporter.

I'm not sure a team that was 27th in converting batted balls into outs should be characterized as a good defensive team. Beltre and Ichiro are great. Betancourt, with his bad throws under control, is a plus defender as is Lopez. But left field is where outs turn into base hits.

Posted by Adam

3:29 PM, Mar 27, 2008

moscowms - If I could replace Washburn with Howell right now, I would do it. No question.

As for the Rays' defense - they should be a lot better this year, and I think you will see it in their pitchers' numbers. Now that Upton is in CF full-time, their OF defense will be better. And getting Jason Bartlett was important - he's a much better SS than Brendan Harris. Longoria is supposed to be a very good defensive 3B, and Iwamura at 2B will be better than Jorge Cantu or whomever they were running out there.

The Rays are going to be fun to watch. Hope Kazmir is healthy.

Posted by drlo

7:00 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Adam, the Rays sent Longoria was sent down today. I think they are putting Cantu at third. I'd imagine that Longoria will be back up soon, though.

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