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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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April 4, 2008 9:26 PM

M's thumped 7-4

Posted by Geoff Baker

orioles1 016.jpg

A look at the crowd on its feet at Camden Yards for the game's final at-bat, with former Mariners reliever George Sherrill retiring his onetime battery-mate Kenji Johjima to notch his second save as the Orioles' closer. A much-deserved 7-4 loss for the Mariners here tonight. I can tell you that, down in the clubhouse, the team isn't as worried about its long-term hitting situation as it is the short-term bullpen status. Mariners manager John McLaren admitted his experiment with an 11-man pitching staff might soon be over.

"It's something we're going to have to talk about,'' he said. "We have talked about it.''

Hear what McLaren said in this audio clip.


They'll have to talk some more. The team was caught shorthanded in the sixth and seventh innings tonight. Cha Seung Baek gave up homers in the sixth and seventh, while Ryan Rowland-Smith was tagged for a double and a single. A wild pitch by Roy Corcoran allowed another run to score and capped a two-inning bullpen stint that turned a 3-2 affair into a 7-2 game.

McLaren would have liked to bring Sean Green in for that sixth inning. But with J.J. Putz out, Green has been bumped further back in the bullpen and wasn't available for such early use.

''The mindset's so much different because we don't have guys in those roles,'' McLaren said after the defeat evened his club's record at 2-2. ''Usually, in that situation you think about Green, but he has to go back (further in the bullpen). If you go to him too early, you're going to need him (later). And if you need him, you don't have him.''

McLaren didn't have much and that's the problem. Putz is tough to replace and his absence reverberates throughout the bullpen. That's why going with only 11 pitchers, for the sake of carrying extra backups rarely being used, isn't working out.

Mariners starter Jarrod Washburn felt he was making good pitches those first two innings, when the O's hitters ran his pitch count up to 61. But those pitches kept getting fouled off.

"You just keep trying to make a pitch and hope they put one in-play,'' he said. "You can't just give in to them and try to put one over the plate.''

Washburn didn't give in. McLaren, as I suspected, said he tried to ride him through the fifth because of those two lefties among the first four batters. But Kevin Millar popped that go-ahead homer out to left field. Still, in that situation, a 3-2 decifict should not be the end of the world. The Orioles are a rebuilding team and the guys being trotted out to the mound, like Steve Trachsel and Dennis Sarfate, were hardly Cy Young Award material. But the M's made them look that way and didn't really get going until the ninth.

I asked Jose Vidro about that play in the seventh and he told me Brad Wilkerson had the green light and was going on a straight steal. It wasn't a hit-and-run with two strikes in the count. Wilkerson was thrown out easily after Vidro swung and foul-tipped a third strike into the catcher's glove. Tough inning for the M's.

Richie Sexson wasn't making a big deal out of his home run. He said it was only the fourth game of the season and that folks have to be patient with him and the offense.

"We're talking about four games,'' he said. "It really is four games. I felt good for four games. I didn't get a ton of hits, but I feel it's important.''

He's right. But I'd still like to see Mike Morse, who got that ninth-inning double, get some playing time tomorrow night. He will.

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Posted by CMH

9:33 PM, Apr 04, 2008

LAA losing to Texas 6 to 0 top 8th. Broussard hit a grand slam

Posted by CMH

10:00 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Texas 11 - LAA 0 going into bottom of 9th

Posted by AKMarinersFan

10:02 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Now we think Morse is going to. make a difference? This has got to be the most ignorant team and reporters in the league.

Posted by scottM

10:23 PM, Apr 04, 2008

from HelpFelix: "With Morse in RF we definitely won't have to worry about Wilkerson's 2008 $3M additional AB incentives kicking in!"

Why is it that people think the M's obsess about whether a player's incentives will or won't kick in at the beginning of a very long season? If you were a self-respecting manager on the hot seat to win games, would you tolerate having the front office meddling and micro-managing a strategy to keep certain players from vesting, or meeting incentives this early in the season? The conflict of interest would be appalling. If Bavasi, et. al., are going to be paranoid that a player might meet his incentives, then why would such contracts be negotiated in the first place?

Instead, I have no doubt that the F.O. would be delighted to see Vidro, WIlkerson, Beltre, Sexson, Ibanez, Silva, Ichiro, Bedard, Washburn, Batista ALL live up to their high seven or low eight figure salaries.

This is not to say that the F.O. shouldn't be more careful in the future to tie up so much money on a player like Sexson. But, having done so, the team is going to see if it can get a decent return on the investment with RIchie.

The M's will play who they pay, and haven't shown that they're afraid to pay who plays well. I can only see manipulating a player's at bats if the season is lost and there is no interest in re-signing them. Remember, a pennant race generates great revenues to pay these incentives.

As for Morse in RF, Adam is right about his sub-par glove. Wilkerson should be our regular. I disagree about what Adam says about Morse's bat, though. We should be seeing it more, at least once every close game! Let's at least see how "hot" it continues to be. Tonight's scorching double looked pretty hot to me.

Posted by aaron

10:26 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Dont sound like much of a fan, "akmarinersFan"....

Posted by CMH

10:31 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Final - Texas over LAA 11 to 6. Everyday Eddie gets final out.

Posted by PRchef

11:04 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Missed today's game but it sounds like it was a tough one. Glad to see Richie get one out. Let's hope he gets on some sort of roll. Nothing would be better for this season than Richie getting back to form for the Mariners.

Thanks for the updates CMH

Posted by joe

11:06 PM, Apr 04, 2008

Atta boy Richie!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

11:17 PM, Apr 04, 2008

AKMF - Eeyore, you're seriously going to keep this nonsense up all year, ain't ya? Not everyone enjoys watching a team crash n burn, or recreationally insults people.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:08 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Morse is a disaster in the outfield. He has no natural instincts out there. He can't read the ball off the bat, he makes last minute reads that forces pure athleticism to make routine fly balls into ugly adventures. He easily represents the worst fielding corner outfielder in the major leagues. I would even go as far as saying he'd be the the worst defensive outfielder in the PCL if he was in Tacoma right now. Morse is a young lighter version of Vidro. A player that can hit for contact, almost no power, and has no position to play on a contending MLB team.

The reason Morse looks like an option is because Bavasi
made the stupid decision to sign Richie Sexson's twin hitter in Wilkerson. Wilkerson is a career .249 hitter combined with Sexson in the line-up is going to kill the offense all year. There should be no platoons, Wlad Balentien should have been the opening day right fielder.

Posted by Dr D

1:16 AM, Apr 05, 2008

LOL. How many games last year did you see Morse play defense in the outfield, Resin?

He played 3 innings total OF defense in the majors last year, and 3 total games for the Rainiers, home and road.

That's quite a scouting report, dude. But don't you think the blogs are going a little overboard scouting a guy they have not seen?

Cheers,
Jeff

Posted by scrapiron

1:17 AM, Apr 05, 2008

So who will they add to the pitching staff and who will they drop? My guess is they call up Dickey. They could use his rubber arm right now more than ever. I also add Arthur Rhodes of Ray Cochoran. Cochoran hasn't earned his spot on the team, it was handed to him because of his options.

I also think they are going to release Jimerson to make room. It's a shame, since IMO the bench player bringing the least to the table is Miguel Cairo. Bloomquist can play the same positions, and Jimerson has more speed. Cairo is the most expendable, but contract-wise the most expensive to remove.

Posted by sunny.in.nanning

4:27 AM, Apr 05, 2008

According to ESPN - MLB Power Rankings the Orioles are the worst team in the Majors. They say the O's fans have given up on their team. Let's hope the M's don't give them too much more to cheer about.

Posted by Charles

4:32 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Aaron and Chris: You know what? Not everyone enjoys praising a team for mistakes that make the team worse. Just because someone criticizes the way a team is run doesn't mean they aren't a fan. In fact, if they are criticizing the way the team is run in the face of a loss you could say that they want the team to win more than you, a self-proclaimed fan because of your positivity regardless of the team's record.

I'm not sure whether I'm in complete agreement with AKMarinersFan, just because I think it's worth it to play Morse (maybe at first rather than in right field, but what the heck) to see if he can help the team with his offense, but don't trash a guy for wanting his team to do well so badly that he gets frustrated when they don't.

Posted by Saltherring

6:09 AM, Apr 05, 2008

This team wouldn't be half bad with the "K" twins (Sexon and Wilkerson) on the bench, replaced by Morse at first and Wlad in right.

Posted by benihana

6:57 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Charles - is "positivity" a word?

I do agree that a true fan can be truly critical of their team without infringing on their loyalties.

All I know is, Wilky is a bust. In the off season it was called a great low risk move, which on paper it probably was. But I think now is the time we take advantage of the fact that it won't cost us much to send him packing, sorry Wilky.

Morse can definitely hit, but he could definitely be a liability in the OF. However, I remember watching Alfonso Soriano running amuck in the outfield for awhile until he got the hang of it, so maybe with Morse's athletic ability, he could learn to be a proficient outfielder. Granted, that's a huge maybe.

Wlad would definitely be the way to go in RF.

And seriously, what is the point of Miguel Cairo?

Posted by Lap Dog

7:00 AM, Apr 05, 2008

scrap/geoff/anyone,

did anyone ever confirm if dickey has options left? can he be sent up and and down this year without having to clear waivers? If Bavasi is looking for a short term fix in the pen and not a season long committment to 12 pitchers, then he might call up a player with options (like he did with Corcoran) instead of putting dickey on the roster and having to keep him there or expose him to waivers.

Anyone, who knows the answer to the "option" question, please chime in. I've seen different takes from different posters so I'm confused.

Posted by Pygmalion

8:08 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Maybe the answer is obvious but I don't see how adding another pitcher would help. After all, we already have the 11 best pitchers in the organization on the team. So how would adding another pitcher, inferior to any already on the team, help? The problem isn't that we don't have long relievers able to eat up innings. It is that we don't have good pitchers able to shut down opponents. Unless the new pitcher is J.J. Putz, I see more of the same.

Posted by jeff in SoCal

8:15 AM, Apr 05, 2008

I do not see the Mariners in the playoffs if Washburn is the fourth starter. Let Dickey replace him and Washburn could be used for long relief.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

8:22 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Can't help with Dickey's status but he did not get off to a good start with Tacoma last night.

"Dickey gets loss in debut for Tacoma"

He gave up 5 runs, 3 earned, in 7 innings.

Posted by Chuck

8:34 AM, Apr 05, 2008

I hate to rain on Richie's parade and find negativity in his home run--but I will. It is just another example of his inability to hit in the clutch and put up meaningless numbers. The game is already lost in the ninth and he decides its time to go long. Morse can hit. Each time he has been in the bigs hes' hit. Whats McLaren waiting for?

Posted by Seth Cotner

8:41 AM, Apr 05, 2008

If the Mariners cant beat the Rangers, O's, and (Devil) Rays... what chance do we have against real teams such as Detroit, Red Sox, and Angels? I know its only the 4th game of the season... but you have to beat the teams you should beat. I cant remember a season opening with such a favorible schedule.

With the Angels pitching in the shape it is, we need to take advantage now. Anything less than a 6-3 record going into the Angels series next week will be a dissapointment.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

8:57 AM, Apr 05, 2008

The fact that Dr. Detecto posted my comment from Geoff's blog onto his website without consent speaks volumes about the man who has created a persona of being a doctor of knowledge. His humor borders on racially insensitive stereotypes in language like this line I read on his site, "Careful what you ax for."

Mike Morse turned not 1 but 2 routine fly balls into runs scored for opponents just this spring. The fact Dr. Detecto cannot comprehend that Mike Morse won't improve defensively overnight to justify his playing the outfield, is shocking. His comparisons of Morse's poor defense to Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, Cliff Floyd, demonstrates inability to properly evaluate players. I authorize Dr. Detecto to post this on his site.

Dr D's article

Posted by SteveS

9:06 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Am I the only one annoyed by McLaren's comments about not using Green in the sixth or seventh? One of the signs of poor bullpen management is an obsession with using guys in 'roles' -- *this* is our eighth-inning guy, *this* is our guy vs. left-handers, etc. If you thought Sean Green was the best guy to go to in that situation, if he's the best arm in your bullpen and you're in a situation where you need that arm (say the top of the 7th, with the best of the O's lineup coming to bat), then it's just this simple: USE HIM. Obsessing over using him at the 'right time' leads to exactly what it did in this game: not getting to use him at all, because the game was suddenly out of hand by that point.

Posted by Full Count

9:07 AM, Apr 05, 2008

It just to easy to criticize the Mariners lineup full of average contact hitters and no power, good pitching and average bull pen, its only a game and I love it.

Supporting this team win or lose is what us fans do. The criticisms are frustrations resulting from a bad general manager and the players provided. This team is 9th out of 30 teams in MLB team salaries $117,993,982, so we know we can't buy a team and developing one through the minors hasn't proven to be a consistent success. At what point should we focus on the entire management, why are we spending and not getting results. Safeco provided by our city and citizens is one of the most profitable stadiums in MLB,
we the people are present and accounted for and we have paid the price of a new stadium, thats great and we continue to buy tickets and all the things that go with that. Management seem very comfortable with the financial arrangements, I really question there commitment to being a baseball pennant winner.
I guess we wait.

Posted by Adam

9:10 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Resin - What's foolish about that article is that he would dare mention Morse in the same breath as Burrell, Manny, Floyd, Garrett Anderson, Jeff Conine, or Jack Cust:

Do you have any idea how bad Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, Cliff Floyd, and Jack Cust really are?! Those guys are true defensive liabilities, liabilities that genuinely affect the game routinely. That doesn't mean that their teams don't balance the minuses and plusses of those players without getting shrill about it.


Yes, Dr. D, their teams put them in the lineup despite their gloves, because they produce with the bat. Why would anyone even suggest the Mariners could balance the plusses and minusses of Morse and decide his bat is worth the defense he brings? Why would anyone suggest his bat is as impactful as Manny's, or Burrell's, so as to look past defensive deficiencies??

Give me a break.

Posted by Lance

9:30 AM, Apr 05, 2008

If we're short in the bullpen by game four it's not a matter of being short in numbers, but short in talent.

Baek and RRS pitched in their first games. R-S only a third of an inning at that.

If McLaren is already pining for a twelve-man staff the problem may not be in the pitchers, but in the guy that's managing them.

And, he's the one that criticiized Hargrove for overworking the bullpen last year! Now he wants to use Green every night.

The problem isn't in an eleven-man staff, but in the fact Brandon Morrow isn't right. He should be here, not Roy Corcoran. But Brandon is too messed up. Until he's back just adding mediocrity in numbers doesn't help anything.

Just like last year, these starters need to go seven regularly. Until they do a twelve-man staff isn't going to help anything.

Washburn is up to his old tricks. Five hundred pitches by the fourth inning. They say he had no command. That's not the problem. He's just AFRAID to throw strikes because he's AFRAID they'll get hit. Maybe they would, but the point is doesn't trust his own stuff. Until he does he'll be no good to anyone.

Hey, how about a fifteen man staff? No need for a bench, anyway. It seldom gets used.

I'm really not seeing where McLaren is any different of a manager than Hargrove was. This year or last.

Posted by hcoguy

9:36 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Dr. D's rebuttal regarding the bashing of Morse's outfield defense is that he hasn't played the outfield.

Think about it.

The guys that seem him every day (his coaches) have not felt the need to have him log innings in the vast expanse of grass beyond the dirt.

We have not seen him pitch either but I will venture out on a limb and say that he is slightly better than Washburn but not as good as Batista.

Posted by ice

9:37 AM, Apr 05, 2008

The Mariners have pitching, but unfortunately not as deep as some fans think, especially with Putz hurt. Don't over analyze Baek, he is still needed for insurance should one of the starters get a minor ailment and miss a start. Feierabend is not as good as his first start and Dickey might need to adjust to the NW.

But Jimerson should be dealt and Norton called up. The Mariners need hitting over speed.

Posted by Pygmalion

9:42 AM, Apr 05, 2008

SteveS - No, you're not the only one bugged by McLaren's bizarre reasoning for not bringing in Sean Green.

We MIGHT need Green later.
We DO need Green now.

If this is all that you know, then in what world do you favor saving Green for later? A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, but it is definitely better than ONE in the bush!

Posted by Get Griffey

9:43 AM, Apr 05, 2008

Chuck- by that definition wasn’t Morse's double meaningless numbers too??

Seems odd that you bash Sexon for hitting a "meaningless" homer then praise Morse for hitting a "meaningless" double. Also by that definition ALL hits in the 9th are meaningless (if you’re losing by more than 2 or 3??) so why not just never try to make a 9th inning comeback at all, it's just not worth it. lol

By the way, what’s the cut-off point?? If cutting the deficit down to 3 with a homer is still bash-worthy why is a double less so? I mean both are just players selfishly padding their stats by “deciding” to hit when they know the game is lost… Right?? I mean, trying to still win, (or even play well) how rude of them. LOL

P.S. Next time look and see how many 9th inning comeback wins there have been over the years before you post something like that.

Posted by Dr D

12:53 PM, Apr 05, 2008

++The fact that Dr. Detecto posted my comment from Geoff's blog onto his website without consent speaks volumes about the man who has created a persona of being a doctor of knowledge. His humor borders on racially insensitive stereotypes in language like this line I read on his site, "Careful what you ax for."++

Didn't mean to offend, but since when does the USSM crowd ask permission to excerpt "Pocket Lint" Finnigan?

We withheld your name, out of courtesy. But yeah, if I knew that it would bother you, I wouldn't have done it. Just out of friendliness.

As I'm sure you know, there is absolutely no breach of etiquette (much less ethics) in taking public comments, and dissecting them on your private blog. That's the internet, boss -- offer a public opinion, and it becomes public.

.................

You'll have to help me out on how "ax" crosses the hair-trigger tripwire of PC sensitivity, because I can't imagine how. You're thinking it's a satire of urban language?

Not that I plan to start hopping through PC hoops now at my age, but THIS tripwire surprised even me. :- )

Posted by Dr D

12:59 PM, Apr 05, 2008

++Mike Morse turned not 1 but 2 routine fly balls into runs scored for opponents just this spring.++

LOL. Ordinarily you guys are into "sample size," albeit not with much familiarity with what statistical sampling is.

Somebody told you in an e-mail from Arizona that Morse butchered a fly ball, and that produced your detailed skills analysis above? :- ) It's going to take a LOT of that patented scoffing-at-dissent to recover from that post, my man.

As you know since you read the article, I don't doubt that Morse needs some work. But neither you, nor I, KNOW.

So we might hold off just a weeeeeeee bit on burying Morse as being worse than every single outfielder above AA baseball individually. At least until you see him play, maybe? :- )

Stay cool,
Jeff C

Posted by Dr D

1:01 PM, Apr 05, 2008

++Dr. D's rebuttal regarding the bashing of Morse's outfield defense is that he hasn't played the outfield.

Think about it.++

Nice try. That's not the rebuttal, though.

My rebuttal is that YOU HAVEN'T SEEN him play the OF.

The Mariners have.

Posted by Dr D

1:17 PM, Apr 05, 2008

Now watch all these re-submits show up in a string of 10 dupes :- )

++Yes, Dr. D, their teams put them in the lineup despite their gloves, because they produce with the bat. Why would anyone even suggest the Mariners could balance the plusses and minusses of Morse and decide his bat is worth the defense he brings?++

Adam, your arguments I respect, and that's a fair question. So how about I answer it fairly.

What "suggests" Morse's offense, is:

a) His 32 hits in spring

b) The way in which he accrued those 32 hits: working the count, waiting on the pitch, and driving it hard to RF. AB after AB.

c) Morse's lifetime .305 AVG in the big leagues (is a "gamer")

..........................

This does not "prove" Morse's offense to be equal to, say, the 35-year-old Cliff Floyd's (at 250/350/420 ELP).

But you are sharp enough to realize that Morse's spring does "suggest" that his bat may carry his glove as well as Cust's or Floyd's bats carry theirs.

...................

The QUESTION is whether Mike Morse has taken enough of a plateau leap to outhit Brad Wilkerson and Jose Vidro. You can't BEG the question by saying, well, Morse's past is so pedestrian that we have no right to give him 10 games to even look at him.

C'mon Adam. I don't like Morse either. But he's worth a flier.

It might be fun to ridicule Morse RF, but it's not especially intellectual to do so.

Jeff C

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

1:43 PM, Apr 05, 2008

My POV on McLaren so far:

He has no clue how to manage his BP. Adding a 12th pitcher? Why? He had the chance to keep Dickey over Baek (sorry guys, we don't really need him) as he could be the starter insurance should Washburn stink up the joint.

As for his use of the bench, WTF was he thinking using Willie to PH for Lopez? Huh? Willie should NEVER, EVER be used in a PH role.

If Cairo is so valuable, why is he the only bench player without an appearance? The only "experiment" that Mac needs to end is keeping Bloomie's slower twin brother Miggie. Buh bye to him and then call up Norton.

Wilkerson looks lost at the plate. I haven't checked yet but is he a slow starter? So far I am wishing they'd end the experiment and bring up Wlad. Can't get any worse, eh?

Posted by Faceplant

2:12 PM, Apr 05, 2008

"My rebuttal is that YOU HAVEN'T SEEN him play the OF."

Uh, I can't speak for anyone else but I certainly have seen Morse play in the OF.


"The Mariners have."


And the Mariners also continue start one of the worst defensive OF in baseball in LF every night. The Mariners do not value corner outfield defense. Like, they don't value it at all. If they did, Raul Ibanez would be the DH.

Posted by dumpire51

2:17 PM, Apr 05, 2008

Even though Richie got a homer, I am already tired of the designated out he creates in the middle of the order. Either move him way down or bench him. Thre are others who can play first (like Raul). Then Morse could get more swings.

Posted by Adam

2:33 PM, Apr 05, 2008

But you are sharp enough to realize that Morse's spring does "suggest" that his bat may carry his glove as well as Cust's or Floyd's bats carry theirs.

I strongly disagree.

Posted by Faceplant

2:40 PM, Apr 05, 2008

From Dr. D's blog after post after post arguing for Mike Morse to play more.


"Look, I'm Mike Morse's biggest cynic."

That's why the topic of all but two posts on your front page are about Mike Morse?


And by the way you don't need to watch a guy for two full seasons to scout his defense. It only takes a few games to tell whether a guy consistently gets a bad jump, or takes bad routes. It doesn't take a season to tell you if someone is slow, or gets bad reads on the ball.

This sample size argument is complete nonsense.

Posted by Dr D

3:18 PM, Apr 05, 2008

That is nonsense, Faceplant.

Why do you think ML orgs employ cross-checkers? Their own scouts don't even agree, half the time, on whether a fielder reads the ball off the bat -- and that is after seeing them take 8-10 chances. And that is evaluation by people who know what they are looking for.

You two or three guys know what a good/bad/mediocre/iffy/catastrophic jump is and isn't, and you can make a conclusive determination based on two batted balls?

What are your credentials to make that assertion?

I've been watching and coaching baseball for 30 years, and I can't give you the final word on an outfielder's jump based on 10 batted balls. What do you guys know that I don't? Would you mind specifying exactly what you saw in Morse's reactions, on which batted ball, that allows you such condescending finality of opinion?

...................

The Mariners' field staff, I'm sorry to say, does possess credentials superior to yours as it pertains to technical evaluation.

It doesn't prove that they are right, but it certainly calls into question your self-assuredness based on seeing Morse react to fly balls 0-2 times.

....................

You two or three guys are not about baseball analysis. You're about positioning yourself to jeer at the Mariners.

I mean it in a good way. :- )

Jeff C

Posted by Adam

4:01 PM, Apr 05, 2008

Personally, I think there is a sufficient body of work from Morse to conclude that his bat is not worth putting up with his lack of skill in the field and on the bases.

I think he needs some playing time (I wouldn't mind seeing how he does at 1B or spelling Vidro at DH), but he's not a guy you create PT for.

Posted by Faceplant

4:24 PM, Apr 05, 2008

"You two or three guys know what a good/bad/mediocre/iffy/catastrophic jump is and isn't, and you can make a conclusive determination based on two batted balls?"

First of all, I've personally seen Morse play in the outfield in Tacoma. It's more than two batted balls.

"I've been watching and coaching baseball for 30 years, and I can't give you the final word on an outfielder's jump based on 10 batted balls. What do you guys know that I don't? Would you mind specifying exactly what you saw in Morse's reactions, on which batted ball, that allows you such condescending finality of opinion?"

Let's see, he generally remains frozen for up to several seconds after contact in an attempt to read the trajectory of the ball. When I saw him he got turned around on a couple of routine plays, nearly dropping both. Anything that is hit behind him he has a tendency (like many outfielders who can't read the flight of the ball well) to run toward the side of the field the ball is going to, and then run back toward the outfield wall when he realizes the ball is going to be behind him. He had an especially bad time with balls hit deep to his gloveside, because his poor route would position him to the left of the ball causing him to get akwardly turned around.

Now is it possible he improved? Of course it is. But that's a TON of improvement, that most people don't make. Certainly not overnight.

"What are your credentials to make that assertion?"

Well, I've played baseball from little league to highschool, but that's irrelevant anyway. The idea that you have to somehow have "credentials" to make observations about the game is ludicrous. Theo Epstein never played a day of baseball in his life. Are you going to tell him that he's not qualified to evaluate a player? On the flipside Joe Morgan is in the hall of fame. And he's also one of the worst baseball strategists one could imagine.

"I've been watching and coaching baseball for 30 years, and I can't give you the final word on an outfielder's jump based on 10 batted balls. What do you guys know that I don't?"

Because you've been around something for a long time, does not make you any better than anyone else at it. The "you aren't qualified" to make an observation argument is really tiring.

"The Mariners' field staff, I'm sorry to say, does possess credentials superior to yours as it pertains to technical evaluation."

And that explains why they continue to run one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball out there day after day?

"You two or three guys are not about baseball analysis. You're about positioning yourself to jeer at the Mariners."

If I hated the Mariners I don't think I would spend hours on end on a Mariners blog. And I don't think I would spend my money on going to Mariners games. Or Rainiers games (I probably go to half of their homegames.) Being critical doesn't make you less of a fan, than someone who would rather clap louder.

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