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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 11, 2008 4:31 PM

Norton up, Jimerson designated

Posted by Bob Condotta

Bob Condotta here filling in for Larry Stone and Geoff Baker on the beat for one night, and there is one little piece of news as the Mariners announced before the game they have recalled Greg Norton from Tacoma and designated Charlton Jimerson for assignment.

Norton is here and available to play tonight while Jimerson spent the pre-game on the phone, making plans for his now-uncertain future, and shaking hands with his former teammates. He said he doesn't know if he would accept an assignment to Tacoma, hoping he'll get picked up by a Major League team sometime in the next 10 days.

Mariner manager John McLaren said the move was made to add a little more offensive punch off the bench. He also said Norton will give the M's a more flexible bench, saying opponents had been able to "make some moves that we couldn't counter.''

"We need to get a different look,'' he said.

Norton, a switch-hitter, hit .409 in 22 at-bats at Tacoma with no homers and three RBI.

McLaren said he liked Jimerson's talents but that "we just never had the opportunity to use him.''

In Jimerson's only at-bat, he hit into a double play yesterday in the 7-0 loss at Tampa Bay.

PUTZ THROWS, GOES WELL --- In another piece of news, J.J. Putz threw for 10 minutes from 130 feet today and said "everything went well. We're not trying to forecast anything. All I know is tomorrow same thing, long toss, with 20 throws with the catcher down, flat ground. Not a bullpen, flat ground. We don't know what is going to happen after that.''

But McLaren sounded encouraged saying "he threw well, he felt real good, free. But we don't know the next step.''

TONIGHT'S LINEUP --- It reads like this:

Ichiro
Lopez
Ibanez
Beltre
Vidro
Sexson
Wilkerson
Johjima
Betancourt

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Posted by Buschleaguer

4:53 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Well thank goodness we swapped out Norton for Jimmerson - that should finally take the heat off of the other bench players who've been overused. / sarc off

Posted by -j.

4:59 PM, Apr 11, 2008

What a stupid move. They designate the best basestealing threat off the bench and only plus outfielder on the team outside of Ichiro for Greg Norton? McClaren hasn't used his bench anyway. If you do this, at least bring up another pitcher to alleviate O'Flaherty's suckitude.

Since this is the last we are going to see of Jimerson, let me point out that I can count at least three times late in games this season already where Raul's lack of bendable knees have cost baserunners. Points in the game where Jimerson should have been in and would have got to at least two of those balls.

I officially hate this bench.

Posted by PRchef

5:04 PM, Apr 11, 2008

I thought I heard someone talk about Sexson going to the DL?

Posted by sjazzdude

5:05 PM, Apr 11, 2008

How can Mac say he never had the opportunity to use Jimerson?? With Wilkerson's on-going battle with futility, I would think this would be the perfect opportunity Charlton to prove himself. Instead, Mac keeps Wilkerson and his .057 batting average in the lineup.

I'm confused with McLaren's train of thought. Why is he thinking of late inning pinch-hit situations when he should be trying to jump start the starting lineup??

Posted by oregongal

5:13 PM, Apr 11, 2008

I honestly thought Jimerson would be safe until after next Tuesday. He was jazzed about wearing Jackie Robinson's number according to a story on the Mariner's own page.

"Moves we couldn't counter?" Since he hasn't been using his bench, maybe Mac has some unknown ESP powers that need tuning up.

Posted by Bobby Ayala

5:14 PM, Apr 11, 2008

I, like every other intelligent fan, would have preferred to see Cairo designated instead of Jimerson. Cairo offers nothing, Jimerson offers nothing but he's really fast.

Still, I'm excited to see Norton on the team -- we finally have a lefty on the bench now! And one that we can actually use late in games... if McLaren ever wants to.

Posted by CDUB

5:24 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Vidro hitting fifth....? Why?

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

5:24 PM, Apr 11, 2008

why is betancourt still batting last? i guess they figure its basically the same as lead-off, since he'll be hitting first a lot innings with 3 straight strike outs coming before him...

Posted by oregongal

5:30 PM, Apr 11, 2008

tallahassee--I'm assuming Yuni bats 9th as the AL version of LaRussa batting his pitcher 8th. Just like you said, it gives you a chance to have 2 hits together and 2 guys with some speed together.

Posted by Romarville86

5:41 PM, Apr 11, 2008

I have wanted Yuni to move up to number 2 in the lineup for a while but he is a great 9 hitter and after the first go around it doesn't really matter where you are in the lineup.

Posted by Pokenour

5:42 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Norton for Jimerson, interesting, if not predictable move from McLaren, but there remains his claim that he could never use Jimerson in a game. To the contrary, there was the first game in Tampa with Sexson on first, McLaren has Wilkerson bunt to move Sexson into scoring position with the apparent intention of manufacturing a run. It was ineffectual management having Sexson remain in the game for this ploy, here Jimerson should have been used to good effect on the base paths. Nonetheless, Burke bailed out McLaren's move with his dramatic home run. Still McLaren has had opportunities to use his bench including Jimerson in late inning defensive replacement and specialized base running as cited above. The problem is that he does not use these specialized tactics that are effective in the strategy of more proven managers. It is this lack of strategy and tactical insertion of bench players that give me great alarm when considering McLaren as an effective manager.

A strong bench is a necessity and even if players such as Bloomquist and Jimerson are not great threats with the bat, they can be used as late inning defensive and base running replacements of McLaren's favored veterans. His recent unwillingness to invert Burke's role with Jojima again suggest a failure to adjust to the needs of offensive production. Last year, he stayed with a woeful Sexson, continuing to bat him in the middle of the lineup despite his terribly performance with the bat. Such managerial tactics do not bode well for an effective manager. For example, Lou Pinnella, an effective manager, played Mark McLemore almost daily moving him around the field giving rest to his regulars. In this way, McLemore was very productive and the regulars remained healthy and strong throughout the season. Another bench player under Pinnella who contributed like a regular was Stan Javier. McLaren's failure to effect his old boss's bench tactics is a cause for concern, because his bench players are given to languish and cannot possibly stay sharp throughout the season. With Bloomquist and Morse, McLaren has a flexible bench that can be used more effectively, but Cairo seems to have no role other than to take up a slot that might better go to a relief pitcher.

In reality, McLaren exhibits great talent as a bench coach - he is great at protecting the delicate ego of his veterans, motivating and cheering on his charges, etc. - but he does not seem to have the huevos necessary to challenge players and make the necessary difficult decisions that underperforming veterans protest, as such he has no effective authority of this team and he is, therefore, an ineffectual manager. It is a classic example of what has been called the Peter's Principle where a likable and otherwise competent fellow is promoted beyond his abilities thereby failing to meet the needs and demands of his position. Despite his great coaching staff, McLaren remains the Bench Coach of the Mariners.

Posted by stango

5:42 PM, Apr 11, 2008

This is a good move. Not as good as designating Cairo, but he's more expensive He's making $850k (which, by the way, is a raise from last year. nice job Bill), while Jimerson is only making 390k

Either way, we need SOMEONE who might actually be able to get a PH, or actually be a better choice at the plate in some situations than our starters.

Our bench is horrible, so this is a good move, as it makes the bench better.

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

5:45 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Oregon- I think you might be right, but since Betancourt is one of the few guys currently hitting, I'd like to see mac bat him second. That way he'd still buddy up with Ichiro, and it means that he'd get an extra at bat each night.

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

5:49 PM, Apr 11, 2008

"I have wanted Yuni to move up to number 2 in the lineup for a while but he is a great 9 hitter and after the first go around it doesn't really matter where you are in the lineup."

It does matter, in fact it matters very much. Since the game will usually end on some batter in the middle of the line up (Wilkerson, uhhh-hmmm), its the difference between 4 and 5 ab's. I'd like to see our hot bat Betancourt hit rather than Kenji/Wilkerson/Sexson etc.

Posted by stango

5:56 PM, Apr 11, 2008

PR:

ussmariner posted that Norton was getting called up, but they didn't know who was getting sent down. It was a tonuge-in-cheek suggestion that Richie go on the DL with "an acute case of tired-of-getting-booed-at-home-itis"

Posted by JI

5:56 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Never had a chance to use Jimerson??? Whaaaa??? Not even to replace Old Man Ibanez??? The guy who's the worst outfielder in the league????????

Posted by oregongal

5:58 PM, Apr 11, 2008

But, but, but if relief pitchers have to know what inning they'll pitch for the season, don't batters have to know where they'll be in the lineup? ;)

Posted by i heart Morse

6:00 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Geoff wants to know why Seattle fans are so hard on the Mariners? It's precisely because of moves like this. Please explain to me what skill set Cairo has that's better than Jimerson? Ridiculous.

Outside of Ichiro (and boy has he been lighting up the basepaths) we now have no legitimate base-stealer on this team.

Posted by Pokenour

6:10 PM, Apr 11, 2008

McLaren strikes me as having a very static view of the universe - relief pitchers must solely be used in previously specified innings, hitters in psychically determined at bats, speedy bench base runners and defensive replacements are never to be used and likewise forget going with the hot hand - e.g. Burke. It is like his is the "fundamentalist" of Baseball in his dogmatic devotion to his veterans.

Posted by Dignan

6:14 PM, Apr 11, 2008

I agree with getting Norton's bat on the bench, but DFA'ing Jimerson instead of Cairo?? Once again Bavasi hamstrings himself by giving Cairo too much money. If he DFA'd Cairo that would make him have to answer to his superiors for wasting money.

Posted by PRchef

6:20 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Stango

Thanks for the clarification

Posted by Zach C

6:25 PM, Apr 11, 2008

this is a little troublesome, how are they gonna bring up another pitcher? who's gonna get sent down?

Posted by SDF Mariner

6:30 PM, Apr 11, 2008

How about "Norton up, Cairo designated"?

Morons, morons, morons, morons, morons.

At least Royals, Pirates, Marlins, Rays fans can all say their management doesn't have the money to compete rather than say we've got a TON of money and we just don't have the BRAINS to compete. WTF?

FIRE BAVASI!!!

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:40 PM, Apr 11, 2008

It is like his is the "fundamentalist" of Baseball in his dogmatic devotion to his veterans. ........Pokenour

Hallelujah! If you have a bench full of situational players why not run them in. I mean, run them all in every chance you get. Didn't have a chance to use him........ what a crock!

Posted by Lance

6:43 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Norton should have been on this team in the first place. They had no LHed hitter on the bench, otherwise, and he earned the spot.

Whether that meant Jimerson, Cairo, or Bloomquist wasn't on the team matters little to me. Certainly, neither Charlton or Miguel earned their spot in ST. Bloomie only because he was incumbant.

Posted by Dignan

6:55 PM, Apr 11, 2008

If Bloomquist wasn't from Poulsbo, would he be on this roster? Would he be on any MLB roster? Maybe an NL team...which is where he should be to get more AB's.

Posted by sjazzdude

7:01 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Why does Mac have Vidro in the 5th spot?? Is he nuts?? Tonight's lineup is haphazard to say the least. I don't like Lopez in the no. 2 spot. and Ibanez is not a no. 3 hitter. Why is Wilkerson in the lineup? with his .057 average, what could he possibly add?
I guess we can call this game already. With this lineup, they couldn't even beat a league league team on a rainy day.

Posted by Pokenour

7:02 PM, Apr 11, 2008

is an effective bat off the bench - but Jimerson was an effect base runner and late inning defensive replacement, particularly valuable for service in left field spelling Ibanez. Bloomquist, although not such a good hitter, is an exceptionally valuable tool because he can play nearly every position and he is a good base runner - such versatile players are always a good idea for the bench. Morse has potential to be an effective hitter and perhaps even everyday player, however, the only role I can see for Cairo is mentor and competition for Lopez and perhaps an occasional spelling of Bentancourt and Beltre. At least three regulars - Vidro, Ibanez and Sexson - however, have very little flexibility being DH type players. Predictably McLaren is counting on the rebound of Sexson, but he is also counting eighty stolen bases from Ichiro, which seems in both cases highly improbable. Of course, Sexson and Vidro have no trade value, so they cannot be moved short of DFA. Ibanez can play first and seems to be an ideal DH, but the limitations and inability to perform of Sexson and Vidro remain severe problems for managing this team. Then there is Wilerson, who has shown nothing, and really has no place on this team. Better to have kept Wlad for development and growth as he has shown his potential and is ready to contribute.

Posted by sjazzdude

7:03 PM, Apr 11, 2008

excuse me, a little league team on a rainy day.

Posted by Pokenour

7:05 PM, Apr 11, 2008

And excuse me - Norton "is an effective bat...."

Posted by -k

7:23 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Dignan - Bloomie isn't from Paulsbo. Hehe graduated from high school with me from South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard.

And that's not why he's on the team. He's a very valuable player who can play 7 positions. in fact, he's the team's emergency catcher too in case somehow burke and Joh are both not available. Plus, when given the chance to play regularly, his offense picks up. He'll never hit for power, or hit well enough to be a starter, but his average would be up in the .270 area if he got a chance to hit more than once a week. Someone above mentioned Mark Mclemore, that's a good analogy. Mark got to play 5 days a week giving the regulars a rest. blommie doesn't get that chance, but could contribute if given the chance.

Posted by -k

7:35 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Pokenour - First off, where's your name come from? it makes me think you are calling Luke Ridenour of the sonics slow, or possibly a pokemon. either way it's rather funny.

Second, your analysis of Mac's managing style is the FIRST (out of 1000's) of complaints on this blog about Mac that didn't sounds like incoherent whining. I'm not ecstatic about Mac managing, but all of the unfathomable criticism on here makes me want to defend him. Thank you for finally giving me someone to agree with about his ineffectual managing that didn't make me feel stupid for doing so.

Also, would you have rather seen Cairo DFA? I would. Jimmerson is a quality basestealer, and could have been use to replace wilkerson in RF in late games to help the defense. Bloomie is also a good base stealer, but Cairo offers nothing to the bench that bloomie doesn't, and is not a the baserunner bloomie is.

Basically i'm agreeing with everyone else in saying Cairo should be gone instead of Jimerson. Now that Norton is finally with the team, lets see this: Cairo DFA and Dickey brought up.

Posted by Lance

7:38 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Good to see Sexson dropped down to the six whole. Glad to see Mac make that move.

Not glad to see Richie and Wilkie hit back-to-back still.

I still believe the correct answer is Ichiro, Lopez, Betancourt, Ibanez, Beltre, Sexson, Vidro, Johjima/Burke. Wilkerson/Morse.

Posted by Lance

7:40 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Okay, okay. I know. Hole, not whole.

Posted by Pokenour

7:51 PM, Apr 11, 2008

-K

Pokenour is an Algonkian word from my ancestry among the Powhatan peoples, but I dare not tell you its meaning.

Thanks for the support of my analysis of McLaren's management style. He lacks strategic action and he fails to make any tactical moves such as inserting Jimerson as a base runner or late inning defensive replacement. Absolutely, I agree with you concerning Cairo DFA.

See the latest blog, why not Norton for Sexson tonight?

Posted by Pokenour

8:12 PM, Apr 11, 2008

-K

PS

In my opinion, your analysis of Bloomquist is very accurate, he could easily hit .270 if given a chance to play regularly as Mark McLemore had under Lou.

Also - I attended Tahoma High in Maple Valley, BA from UW, but originally from Virginia

Posted by antsy in anaheim

9:32 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Vidro is a ralley killer. Can Mac go to the bench, please?

Posted by JDUB4UW

10:40 PM, Apr 11, 2008

No wonder we struggle so much. We keep using old sorry veterans past their prime and won't give young kids a chance to play. That's probably why most teams in contention have a better balance and winning percentage than we do. It was nice to see an article about the kid Jimerson who was given the opportunity to wear Jackie Robinson's #42 the other day, only to be disappointed to see him dismissed today. Our management is really irritating. I say we designate all of them for assignment...

Posted by Pokenour

10:59 PM, Apr 11, 2008

Agreed

Posted by kingk

11:28 PM, Apr 11, 2008

The worst outfielder in the league hit 2 hrs and a double scored and drove in 3 runs...Oh I forgot, results don't justify what a poor fielder he is

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