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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 28, 2008 9:21 PM

Morrow, Reed sent down

Posted by Larry Stone

Just got back from the clubhouse, and as expected, the Mariners had a couple of roster moves to announce. Brandon Morrow was optioned to Class AA West Tennessee, where the Mariners hope he will re-discover his command so they can bring him back to the majors. They chose Tennessee over Tacoma because of the better weather. McLaren said he expected Morrow back "fairly soon." Morrow had already boarded the bus, so the media didn't get to talk to him. Given the way Morrow has been pitching since his shoulder troubles, it's a logical move.

Reed, meanwhile, was optioned to AAA Tacoma, and you have to wonder about his future in the organization. I'm sure they are still trying to trade him.

No one said it officially, but Mike Morse is virtually assured of a roster spot. He had three more hits in the Mariners' 10-2 win to raise his average to .508. The only question now is whether they go with six or seven relievers.

Have to go now. A deadline awaits for the paper.

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Posted by Get Griffey

10:10 PM, Mar 28, 2008

A sensible move...
I just love it when they do that!! ^_^

Posted by scottM

10:28 PM, Mar 28, 2008

This is the best move for Morrow and maybe it will turn out for the best for him if he uses the time to heal and to focus on becoming a starter. (I'm hearing you, Adam). Of course, some of that depends on how he's used down in Tennessee and how healthy the bullpen stays up here.

I'm still hoping they don't squander Baek. His value as insurance trumps having Cairo on the bench.

Likely Bullpen:


I would have preferred Reed (for his defense in the OF) over Norton, Cairo or Jimerson, but I also remember how badly Reed played in 2005, batting .215, when he was given more than a fair shot to make it in CF.

I also still prefer that they keep Baek and go with a five man bench. I also like Jimerson as the fourth defensive Outfielder over keeping Cairo or Norton. I'd go with Norton for his bat over Cairo.

Why are we keeping Cairo, again? Oh yeah. Tutoring skills.

Posted by markus

10:36 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Ugh! I've had long enough to come to terms with the horrible choice to keep Cairo, but it still angers up the blood. Roster decisions should be based on talent, and not on whether or not a guy is older than my dad. Keeping Cairo pretty much sends the signals to the minor leaguers that they might as well mail it in, because the only chance they have to earn a roster spot is to leave the M's and play for another team. Then, after about 15 years of bouncing around and never doing anything on a big league roster, there will be a spot for you in Seattle.

Um, that sounds kind of negative. But I am excited about this year, and hope that they do something special. I'm afraid to hope, I've been hurt by them before.

Cut Cairo!!

Posted by Anthony

10:39 PM, Mar 28, 2008

I don't know who taught you how to do math ScottM but 9 (lineup) + 5 (starters) + 6 (bullpen) = 20. Roster limit of 25 - 20 = 5 remaining for a bench not 6. It's always been a bench of 4 or 5, not 5 or 6.

my bench would be:

Bloomquist can go hit .200 in AAA for all i care...

Posted by Jim Kata

10:42 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Another vote for cutting Cairo, or Bloomquist! This is getting ridiculous. What the hell are they thinking?

Tough luck on Reed, though. I still think he could amount to something, and he's excellent in the field.

Posted by Adam

10:43 PM, Mar 28, 2008


That's got to be one of the worst benches in baseball.

Posted by Bellevue Dave

10:50 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Yeah, another year of watching Bloomquist stink it up at the plate. Hooray.

Posted by wally

10:51 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Wow. For a team that is going to have problems scoring runs, they sure decided to punt on offense with Cairo and Bloomquist on the same bench. Keeping one guy like Willie makes at least a little sense. Keeping two is terrible roster management. And keeping the second just because he is old compounds that terrible decision.

Posted by Pete

10:53 PM, Mar 28, 2008

I agree Adam. It is truly awful. My hope is that they are trying to package Reed and Baek and maybe others to get a real hitter, even for the everyday line-up, which could bump a regular to the bench.

Posted by ethan

10:56 PM, Mar 28, 2008

I think Tom Hanks should be in charge of U.S. CENTCOM ..because, you know.."he's been through the wars."

Posted by frankel

10:58 PM, Mar 28, 2008

when did they stop thinking of Morse as an infielder, anyway? the guy came up as a shortstop. seems like if they'd playing him in the diamond again, they could lose Cairo AND Bloomquist who can't hit the ball out of the infield, and come up with someone else for the fourth outfielder. Reed? Norton? somebody. the bench as configured right now sucks.

Posted by Fin

10:58 PM, Mar 28, 2008

I don't understand why the Mariners need 2 Bloomquists. One is bad enough.

Posted by markus

11:10 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Cut Cairo!! Please!! It's not to late!!

Posted by BraveLittleTailor

11:10 PM, Mar 28, 2008

The bench is pretty bad. I am glad they are keeping Norton because he may be our best bat off the bench (including Morse) and that isnt saying a lot. I agree with all about Bloomquist/Cairo. I wouldnt care if they kept Cairo if they got rid of Willie. Just one or the other only. I also hope Jimerson doesnt make it. How many speed guys do we need?? This isnt the National League.
One other thing to consider. I know Ichiro doesnt take much time off, but is Bloomquist our only legit option in case the unthinkable happens? I am not counting Jimerson cuz I hope he doesnt make it.
Cant wait till monday!!

Posted by Jim

11:13 PM, Mar 28, 2008

at leats the staff is coming together, and Lowe is looking awesome. The Lowe up/Morrow down move is the best news we've had for a while.

Posted by brian

11:21 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Hey Anthony, check your numbers again buddy. You're counting the starting pitchers twice when you get to 20. Think about it before you insult someone else's intelligence when your own logic is flawed

Posted by Shonn

11:27 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Anthonys math looks right to me

Posted by Nick in PDX

11:30 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Does anybody really believe that hitting any percentage in spring training is a good reason to put a guy on the roster? Does the brass look at Morse's spring line and go, well we have to have this guy on the roster?

Posted by BavasiRocks

11:42 PM, Mar 28, 2008

anthony's math is right brian. It's your arithmetic that may need a little AAA seasoning.

Posted by markus

11:54 PM, Mar 28, 2008

I do think that there is a point where a guy's numbers put him on the team. At some point the numbers have to mean something. If a guy is told he has to perform to earn a job, and then he performs at an outrageously high level then that certainly means something. It doesn't mean that he will hit .500 ever in the bigs, but it still takes talent to hit that high at a professional level. And if you are trying to fill out a roster, what else are you going to use? Well, unless you are the M's, and then you use scouting reports from 1994 to determine your bench guys.
Cut Cairo!!

Posted by Zach C

12:26 AM, Mar 29, 2008

I would just like to point out that I called Morrow's exit baring a healthy Lowe...yay me!

looks like Morse will be the first option to spell vidro or sexon if they don't perform well. I wouldn't mind giving him a shot at DH...this club need all the power it can get

Posted by oregongal

12:39 AM, Mar 29, 2008

I think sending Morrow down is for the best, but to AA? Yikes. Besides the blow to the ego, it seems like he'd have a little tougher time with a team where he doesn't know many players, rather than going to AAA in tandem with some of the guys he's been through spring training with. Now we'll see how mentally tough he is. Hopefully, the batters will be a little worse and give him some confidence and he'll be able to find the strike zone consistently.

Posted by M's Fan

1:06 AM, Mar 29, 2008

To those ridiculing ScottM's math, he is actually right.

8 position starters
5 starting pitchers
6 bullpen pitchers
6 bench players

Total 25 players

Posted by Gerald

1:59 AM, Mar 29, 2008

You're forgetting Vidro. That's 9 "position" players (unless you're conuting him as banch and then that's 7).

Posted by The Gemniac

2:19 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Sometimes, I swear, you guys need to move to a NATIONAL LEAGUE city or something... all this arguing over a bench is silly as we are an AL team. We DO NOT need the most TALENTED people on the bench because that is stupid... they won't get to play. We need the most VERSATILE, and the guys that have proven they can step in and play good defense, swipe a base or get us a pinch hit when we need one. I too think keeping both CAIRO and BLOOMY is stupid, but its not THAT stupid. Having two guys that are fast and can play many positions late in a game makes sense. Who gives a shit if they bat .200? They only get an at bat a game anyways. Norton and Morse (if we keep 6 pitchers, which they should) will make great pinch hitters off the bench. What more do we need in the A.L. anyways?

Posted by moscowms

2:40 AM, Mar 29, 2008

I mostly agree with Gemniac. It is not THAT horrible of a move to keep both Bloomie and Cairo, even if they both do the same thing. Who's to say that its a temporary move anyway. We have money to spend, how much is a ticket to Safeco nowadays. We can bring up somebody from AAA (Clement, Balentein, Trade) if we have to and cut Cairo and/or Bloomquist. Let's just enjoy the first month of MLB before we start screaming for Bavasi's/McLaren's head. PLEASE! TWO DAYS!

GO M's!!!

Posted by drlo

3:52 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Oregongal, I'm pretty sure the move of Morrow to AA was made for geographic reasons. The weather in AA (Tennessee?) is better early in the spring than AAA Tacoma, better both for getting more work in and also probably easier on keeping the shoulder loose. He will almost certainly move up to Tacoma as the weather there improves.

Posted by lwl

5:15 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Cut Vidro, Cairo, Jimerson.
Keep Baek and Dickey

DH Raul
OF Balentin (spelling?)

Posted by skiba

5:41 AM, Mar 29, 2008

He wont move to Tacoma; once he gets his work in and control straightened out (as much as he can) he'll be back in Seattle. Often some of the better competition is at the AA level. AAA teams can be filled with old veterans hanging on and many AAAA lype pitchers. Tennessee is perfect for Morrow right now. Its also the perfect opportunity for the M's to leave him there and learn how to start. Lets hope Mark Lowe lights it up like he did two years ago.

Posted by scottM

6:12 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Yep, I was one off on the bench math, Anthony. Thx for the kind words of edification.

The point is the same, though. We don't need two Bloomquists (or Cairos). Jimerson will be cut. Willie will likely be our fourth defensive outfielder. And Norton will be at the top of the list to pinch hit along with Morse.

More importantly to the fast start the M's need to take advantage of a weak early schedule and the Angels' injuries, we need to keep Baek. With Batista and Washburn already complaining about sore backs in SP, keeping Baek as an insurance policy is more important than whether Cairo, Jimerson OR Norton are on this team. If not Baek, then who fills in if one of our Starting Pitchers is sidelined? (Jeff Weaver out of retirement?!?). Baek did well when Felix was out in 07. Bringing up another bench position player is easy by comparison.


Posted by ricofoy

6:31 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Don't forget about Bloomquist stinking it up in the field too....a jack of all trades and mediocre at best at any of them. I still laugh about the game last year where he was playing 2nd and someone hit a little pop fly behind him. He spun around like a top before finally falling on his ass as the ball dropped 5 feet behind him.

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

6:50 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Cairo will bring an excellent presence and maturity to the dugout! Just think, M's are down, and a young, impressionable Morse or Betencourt looks to Cairo for guidance...what could be more motivating than Cairo's personal story of fighting at the Battle of Lexington!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:34 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Morrow is not going to start! Never never never not ever never ever. No. uh-uh. He is going down to get healthy, so he can come back as a setup man. Period. That's what the M's see him as, that's what he is until the day he retires or gets traded. Regardless of whether he should be a starter, or people would like him to be one, he's not going to be one.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:55 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Adam - Totally agree on how wan and anemic that bench looks, when one writes it out on paper like that. Morse and Burke can hold their own, but I'm not sold on Norton. And the Cairo/Bloom thing is a horse that's almost as beaten as the Morrow-as-starter and We-miss-Adam-Jones ones.

Here's a stab at fixing the bench:

1. Trade Burke for some quality AA starting pitching, bring up Clement. If he's ever going to be a backup catcher, get him in real games now and figure it out while there's still time to convert him to 1st or something.
2. Balentien in right, Morse in left, Raul to DH, Vidro to bench. Swaps Morse for Vidro.
3. Trade Cairo fand Wilkerson for more AA / AAA starting pitching . Or a spiral-cut ham. Whatever. Keep Jimerson around for speed.
4. Bloomquist is a cheap, versatile emergency starter / rest-a-guy-in-a-blowout player. For all his misadventures on the basepaths, he's still decent at swiping a base and is sadly speedier than half the lineup, so is usable for speed too.
5. Reed is the 5th outfielder.When a midseason trade for some AA / AAA starting pitching can happen, his spot can get et by say, a starry-eyed Tug Hulett, as the designated pine-rider (there's always one M per season who learns how to say "I'm just happy to be here" and "I'm just learning so much").
6. Norton can pinch hit until he proves he can't, meh.

So we go from:

Burke, Morse, Cairo, Bloomquist, Jimerson, Norton
with Raul in Left, Wilkerson in Right, Vidro at DH


Clement, Vidro, Reed, Bloomquist, Jimerson, Norton
with Morse in Left, Balentien in Right, Raul at DH

There. Had to get in the last bit of armchair front-office-ing before the season starts. As a wise man once said, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. ;) ;) ;)

Go Ms!!!

Posted by Lance

9:22 AM, Mar 29, 2008

OG, I'm sure Morrow would just as soon stay out of Tacoma in April. He doesn't strike he as a big egoist, outside of the fact that a major league setup job was his to lose, and he lost it.

CFB, frankly, if Sean Green and the now-restored Mark Lowe can do the job why not put Morrow into a rotation? I'm sure that'll be considered. Especially if it appears that Morrow's arm bounces back better after four days of rest, rather than one or none.

Also, best to keep Reed around. He'sn going to be needed when Wilkerson gets hurt again, or he becomes a re-incarnate of Carl Everett and gets released. Jeremy can platoon with Morse, which is where things would have been if the unnecessary signing of Brad has not occured in the first place.

Posted by Lance

9:37 AM, Mar 29, 2008

People who complain about having Cairio and Bloomquist on the team at the same time don't understand what the role of each of them will be this year.

Cairo is now your utility infielder. You won't be seeing Bloomie filling in as much in the infield as in the past.

WB will, in effect, be the pinch-runner coming in later of a game in key situations, when the team needs a run to tie or win. He's probably the best base stealer/runner on the team, and that includes Ichiro. They want to save him for later in a game, something they couldn't do before because of not having another backup infielder, other than their DH.

When he does play in the field they want to keep him in the outfield, primarily to back up/fill in for Ichiro or Raul.

It was just felt using WB as the utility OFer and INFer was spreading him too thin. And, I agree.

Posted by Faceplant

9:50 AM, Mar 29, 2008

"I think sending Morrow down is for the best, but to AA?"

It's all about the weather. I'm sure Morrow is a aware of why they chose Tenn. When the weather warms up in Tacoma, he will be there.


"He wont move to Tacoma; once he gets his work in and control straightened out (as much as he can) he'll be back in Seattle."

No, that will all depend on Mark Lowe's performance. If Lowe performs well, it's likely that Morrow remains in the minors.

"Morrow is not going to start! Never never never not ever never ever. No. uh-uh. He is going down to get healthy, so he can come back as a setup man. Period. That's what the M's see him as, that's what he is until the day he retires or gets traded."

I agree that the chances of him becoming a starter are drastically reduced. But the idea that the M's don't see him as a future starter run contrary to everything they've said about him. They sent him to winter ball for the sole purpose of stretching his arm out, and working on secondary pitches, and they have said repeatedly that they see him as a starter long term.

Now, I suppose you could just refuse to believe them, but I see no reason to do that, and no reason to think they aren't being honest.

"1. Trade Burke for some quality AA starting pitching, bring up Clement. If he's ever going to be a backup catcher, get him in real games now and figure it out while there's still time to convert him to 1st or something."

Burke isn't going to get you anything. Guys like Burke are floating around everywhere, and can be had for peanuts. And Clement needs to be playing everyday, not sitting on the bench.

"2. Balentien in right, Morse in left, Raul to DH, Vidro to bench. Swaps Morse for Vidro.
3. Trade Cairo fand Wilkerson for more AA / AAA starting pitching . Or a spiral-cut ham. Whatever. Keep Jimerson around for speed."

You don't sign a RF just so you can trade him a month later. You could probably make the case that you should move Raul to DH, Vidro to the bench, and Balentien to RF. But Mike Morse shouldn't be anywhere near the outfield. People need to get over Mike Morse. He's a below average defender, with an average to below average stick. He isn't a starter.

Posted by Mort

10:06 AM, Mar 29, 2008

"Burke isn't going to get you anything. Guys like Burke are floating around everywhere, and can be had for peanuts."

Yes. A couple of years ago, we had seven of them on the roster over the course of a single season -- Torrealba, Oliva, Davis, etc. Not one of the club's banner years for catching.

Posted by Mort

10:17 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Oops, Davis was already gone by 2005. Catchers were Borders, Wilson, Wiki Gonzalez, Torrealba, Miguel Ojeda, Miguel Olivo, and Rivera. Point being, Faceplant is right, they were easy to find and the M's went through them like nickels in a cheap slot.

Posted by Lance

10:17 AM, Mar 29, 2008

Everyone remember, it's a LONG season.

Things can look a lot different in a month. Even a week.

Inujuries, poor performance, trades, waiver claims (don't be surprised if the M's suddenly bring someone in).

Team just needs to avoid shooting themselves in the foot, like they've already done once this year (see Jose Guillen)

Posted by Faceplant

10:33 AM, Mar 29, 2008

"Team just needs to avoid shooting themselves in the foot, like they've already done once this year (see Jose Guillen)"

I still can't believe they didn't offer him arbitration.

Posted by oregongal

10:37 AM, Mar 29, 2008

I get the weather thing for Morrow, as Larry mentioned in his initial story, and I do think it's a good idea. My concern is more psych than physical. It's a tough change from majors to minors, just in travel and stadium conditions, let alone if you've been the golden boy. See, even us stat-people can care about the human side.

Posted by shortbus

11:04 AM, Mar 29, 2008

You can't trade Wilkerson since he signed as a FA. At least not now. I forget when it is that you CAN trade him, but not before the season begins.

And putting Clement on the bench would be really bad for his development. He's a guy who plays every day and comes up if you need a catcher or DH.

Posted by Lance

11:56 AM, Mar 29, 2008

OG, it's fine that you want to care about the human side. But, believe me, to these guys there are two levels. The major leagues and the minor leagues. Nothing else matters.

Brandon couldn't care less where he goes. It's not about where he goes. It's about what he's got to do once he gets there.

If you want to feel badly for Brandon do so for the reasons he's feeling bad about it. 1) he will be making a minor league salary 2) his free agency could be delayed by a year 3) he won't be around to help the big league club.

Believe me, those are the only three things he cares about. Besides getting right, of course.

I'm sure he doesn't like getting sent down. He may ticked off, but it's not like his feelings got hurt, or anything like that.

Posted by ACZAR

12:03 PM, Mar 29, 2008

They just said on FSN that Dickey didn't make the team. Why would they do that???

Posted by ACZAR

12:07 PM, Mar 29, 2008

Well apparently they traded a young catcher, no name was given, to the Twins for Dickey. Does this negate the Rule V "rule" that we have to give him back?

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