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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 21, 2008 11:18 AM

Heading home

Posted by Geoff Baker

A look above at what a "getaway day" can be like for baseball writers who have to cover a game, then catch a flight home right afterwards. Don't forget, we have to have all of our newspaper stories and notebooks written before getting on the plane. Some of us even update our blogs. The half-hour it took to play the bottom of the ninth did not help at all. Enjoy the footage.

So, you want to talk Frank Thomas? OK, fine. Wonder what's running through Bill Bavasi's head right now? Bavasi is going to look at Thomas, just as every team looks at every potential waiver dump this time of year. Here's the thing, though. Remember how badly the 2004 season set Bavasi back? All of those veteran bats who went off the cliff on him at once? If you don't, here's a recap. I'll list the bigger-name veterans and their impressive 2003 numbers. Then we'll look at their 2004 totals. I'll use the OPS+ stat. Remember, that's the park-weighted on-base-plus slugging numbers. A score of 100 is league average, so anything below that is percentage points below league average while above it would be the opposite. A score of 105 is five percent above, 95 is five percent below. Capisce?


John Olerud, age 34...107
Bret Boone, age 34...140
Edgar Martinez, age 40...141

Not bad, huh? And remember, these guys all had serious track records of productive hitting. But then...


John Olerud, age 35...90
Bret Boone, age 35...94
Edgar Martinez, age 41...92

And so, if you're Bavasi, I'd think you'd have to be a bit skittish about going after Thomas.

It took me a couple of phone calls to find out that the Blue Jays are worried that Thomas is simply "done'' as a hitter. And when you're done, you're done. Some guys do go to the NL and keep their careers alive, depending on their positions (like Rich Aurillia, Scott Speizio). But this is the AL and the M's are looking for a pure power hitter if they go after Thomas. But is he done? That's the big question. I also know, from years covering the Blue Jays, that they tend to be cheapskates at the craziest of times. So, is this strictly a move to avoid shelling out $10 million to Thomas via his 2009 option? That's for the M's to decide.

Some of you have mentioned, correctly, that Safeco Field doesn't favor right handed power hitters.

For me, it's not as big an issue with a guy like Thomas. Just like Richie Sexson, if you can rake, you can rake. But if he's "done'' then none of the simulated numbers projections, or peripheral numbers from last year (or this year, in what is a very small sample size) will be worth a hill of beans. As with the three guys above, when you're done, you're...well, you've figured it out by now.

So, this is not just a matter of looking at some stats. Some true digging and homework would have to be done before taking this guy on. Phone calls would have to be made. Hitting folks talked to. Videos studied. Thomas will want guarantees for next year, since multiple teams are expected to sniff around him. If this was a simple case of paying him the major league minimum for 2008 and that's it, then it would be a no-brainer. It's not. Real life is a lot more complicated. Thomas had an OPS+ of 125 last season. But the last thing Bavasi needs is another "done'' veteran coming in, posting an OPS+ of 92 and sucking up more millions in 2009. If that happens, and the M's fall out of contention, Bavasi might not be around to see Thomas collect the last of those payments. This is where a judgement call is needed. This is where the good GMs come up with the true gems, or know when to pass on coal.


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Posted by Mike

11:28 AM, Apr 21, 2008

With so much our lineup being made up of 30ish hitters who might be ready to fall of the cliff I'd be really hesitant to add another.

Now if there were a 40ish lefty who posted a 1.045 OPS last year...I know, I know. Never going to happen.

Posted by scottM

11:38 AM, Apr 21, 2008

Thanks for this link, Mike. Well articulated counterpoint that looks at both sides fairly:

It's 4 years old but here is some info on "clutch."

I am still left wondering if statistical analysis can every capture the "heart" of a player and the ability of some over others to come through more often in key situations. I remember the clearest example of this for me was with the Mets in the mid-1980s. Keith Hernandez, a .300 lifetime average first baseman routinely came through in the clutch. George Foster, the left fielder who had come to the Mets after hitting 55 HR for the Reds, padded his stats when it least mattered. My argument would be that the statistical methodology used to measure such differentials are not adequate for the task.

One could argue that Eric O'Flaherty simply hit a spell of bad luck. Managers tend to go with this for two or three games, but when there is a pattern of a reliever coming in and losing game after game, then the idea that this guy "chokes" is an ugly pattern and that player is sent down. The opposite is true with JJ Putz. Maybe good luck explains a few of those saves last season, but over the long haul, his is by the definition of a closer, a clutch performer.

I think the stat gods need to hit the numbers harder to determine what common sense observations tell us. Some players perform better under pressure situations.

Posted by OCJeff

11:40 AM, Apr 21, 2008

I hesitate with the signng of a guy like Thomas. Not only for the reasons Geoff alluded to, but also because of the track record we have with signing guys like this. I mean, there is a long list of former power hitters like Kevin Mitchell, Scott Spezio, Al Martin and even guys like Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson that were all well past their prime but some how got big buck from us to play here. It's not that I don't want Thomas, it's just that I don't want to pay him a ton of money to become another Richie Sexson in our lineup ... .250 hitter with good power. I would much rather get a cheap singles hitter that hits .300 with so/so power. It seems like we have some of those in the minors that we could pay $350,000 a year.

By the way, did Richie put a lightning bolt patch on his jersey this weekend or something? I mean, even the times that he got out he was getting good wood on the ball. He very easily could have had five home runs this weekend had Saturday's game been a day game in the warm, Anaheim air. If he can just hit about .275 or so with 35 HRs and 100 RBIs, I think we make it to the playoffs.

Posted by OlyHomer

11:44 AM, Apr 21, 2008

I would much rather bring up Clement who can bat left handed and we need left handed bats. He has shown he can hit, albeit in late September but need to bring him up now and get him that playing time and maybe by August he could be a decent player with the veterans around. I just don't think we need another veteran guy on the team.

Any decision on the starting lineup? I really think they should move up Washburn to Thursday with Batista on Friday and then Dickey or Bedard on Saturday. That way, the rotation is back to where it should be. So either Dickey is the number five or Bedard is the number one starter. Washburn and Batista would be on normal rest. I don't know if someone has already stated this in a previous post because I tend not to read most of the comments.

Posted by Marc

11:49 AM, Apr 21, 2008

I think Geoff makes good points with his 2003 vs 2004 numbers, but those are stats for players who were already signed and who were nearly impossible to release or even bench in 2004 given the nature of their previous contributions. The missing piece in this argument is how much it may cost the M's, or any other club, financially to sign Thomas this year and to determine how long to give him before you declare boom or bust. The cost is probably minimal, certainly a lot less than those who prefer to see a Griffey return. The benefit could be enormous if Thomas still has anything left in his bat. And the M's certainly wouldn't won't get any better by standing pat. I think Bavasi's gotta at least talk to the guy.

Posted by ricofoy

11:53 AM, Apr 21, 2008

The situation with the Big Hurt illustrates the genius of Billy Beane. You won't see him shelling out millions for an over the hill DH.
He signs Thomas in 06 for half a mill. Gets a great year out of him but has enough sense not to open the vault for him. Let's his dimwitted former protege Ricciardi sign the Big Hurt for what turned out to be 18 million for about a year. Nice signing there. Beane turns around and signs Cust for the minimum in 07 and he gets Thomas production from him. Now if he decides to do so, he can get Thomas back in 08 for the minimum.
Genius, I tell ya!!

Posted by scottM

11:56 AM, Apr 21, 2008

One thing about the Twins organization. Like the A's (and unlike the M's) they tend to be very good assessors of talent and they don't like to throw money around. My intuition tells me that the Twins are seeing exactly the performance decline that GEOFF points out and, this is why they are eating the big salary.

There is no indication that Bonds has hit his natural age decline.

Even so, if WIlkerson can't get it together, then I favor bringing up Balentien and grooming him for the long term.

Posted by Mike

12:02 PM, Apr 21, 2008

ScottM--For me, sample size really is the problem, I think, with evaluating "clutchiness." Just as a for instance, RRS yesterday. He was in a clutch situation, that's for sure. But he's in a situation where he should prevail 70% of the time, so is it clutch to do what he did? It certainly was nervewracking. But if he goes 7 out of 10 in those situations is he clutch?

My gut feeling on the notion of clutch is that it is an after the fact construct we use to explain why something happened when we have no other ready explanation and don't want to cite luck. That's not to say that clutch performances and performers don't exist but that we overrate the value of clutch. But it does give color commentators something to say.

Posted by Big Ebu

12:11 PM, Apr 21, 2008


Thomas does present an interesting dilemma for the Mariners. If we sign him and he produces like he did in 2007 (which is what we would hope for), then his Option will almost surely vest and we will be on the hook for his $10M salary in 2009. Yet if we do nothing then it is quite likely that Vidro’s option will vest and we will be stuck with his salary in 2009. So maybe it comes down to who Bavasi would rather risk being “stuck” with in 2009, Thomas or Vidro.

Posted by NB

12:13 PM, Apr 21, 2008

If Frank Thomas is "done" what is Jose Vidro?

Posted by Ziasudra

12:14 PM, Apr 21, 2008

(I tried to post on the last thread, but the reply screen went blank)

Some ramblings - the checked-swing no-call can be explained by the tv replay. The ump had his view blocked by the base runner; the ump was in proper position, he just didn't have a good enough angle (and, as you know, I'm a notorious ump-basher).
Some years ago, I was playing ina game (not baseball), and I pulled a fast one to be declared the "winner." That has haunted me ever since. It told me (no one else) that I wasn't good enough to win under the rules. Now it can be that some steroid users aren't apparently bothered by their conscious, but I would be so bothered by wanting them on my team. Forget Bonds. And, if Guillen had to cease and desist using, and has lost capability thereby, we did well to let him go. (PS, as pointed out Morse is in a different category)
[And you could forget Griffey, who shafted the team on the way out of town.]
Let's give the AAA boys a chance.
One last thing - clutch pitching. When Corcoran first got here, he let all inherited baserunners score, but they didn't sully his ERA. Since that time, he has done much better (in my opinion) even if his "stats" are worse. But, he can be safely stashed in AAA when JJ and/or Bedard gets back.
On Mike Blowers - I like his laid-back demeanor - speak when you have something to say more valuable than silence. I didn't hear his comments on "Japanese players," but perhaps he meant it as a compliment? good hustle, good work ethic, good attitude? etc.

Posted by scottM

12:16 PM, Apr 21, 2008

from Mike: "My gut feeling on the notion of clutch is that it is an after the fact construct we use to explain why something happened when we have no other ready explanation and don't want to cite luck. That's not to say that clutch performances and performers don't exist but that we overrate the value of clutch."

Choke is the corollary. You're right that RRS should win 70% of the battles, but only if he is pitching as expected by keeping the ball over or near the plate. Lowe kept missing the plate. So, the Angel batters, patiently, let Lowe walk three of them. Was it choking under pressure, or an off-day. Unless we can get into Lowe's mind we won't know.

Michael Jordan could make the shots down the stretch. Chris Weber with outstanding physical skills, had a reputation for not getting his teams over the hump. Clutch VS choke it seems to most of us. We may, as fans, overrate this phenomenon, but I have watched sports and patterns of performance too long to think that this phenomenon only seldom exists. The drama is real. It's just not easily quantifiable.

Posted by Michael

12:23 PM, Apr 21, 2008

After thinking things over and hearing that Frank Thomas has lost bat speed, I'd rather see Clement promoted to DH. Isn't it about time we groomed one of our prospect for long term success? Who had ever heard of Troy Tulowitzki or Matt Holliday? The only thing I know about Jeff Clement is that he can hit. Maybe he isn't ready to catch, but I'd rather give the ABs to Clement than Thomas. Wouldn't you rather go after Bonds than Thomas? Which one would a pitcher fear?

Posted by cdawg88

12:24 PM, Apr 21, 2008

2006: 7 HR 47 RBI .289 AVG .744 OPS
2007: 6 HR 59 RBI .314 AVG .775 OPS

2006: 39 HR 114 RBI .270 AVG .926 OPS
2007: 26 HR 95 RBI .277 AVG .857 OPS

Yes, there is a downward trend in Thomas's stats. But, using the small sample size we have from this season, Thomas is avg. 1 HR in every 5.3 games. In 2007, he avg 1 HR in every 5.96 games. My gut tells me that Thomas is PO'd right now and would love nothing more than to sign with a contender and prove the Jay's wrong by posting huge numbers.

Putting Thomas in the same category as those listed in this article is insulting (except 'Gar). You can't compare Olerud and Boone to the Big Hurt!!

Thomas has 516 career homers, placing him 18th on baseball’s career list. In addition, he has hit 264 career home runs as a designated hitter, the MOST in baseball history.

With a CAREER average of .302, Thomas is one of four players in baseball history to record at least a .300 average, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs and 1,500 walks. The others are Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Wow, if I had a chance to sign the three names above I would do it in a heartbeat. Wouldn't you?

Posted by Ollie

12:29 PM, Apr 21, 2008

The answer to whether Thomas is done or not is simple. If the Mariner sign him, he's done. If the A's or the Indian's sign him, he isn't.

Posted by grant

12:30 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Frank Thomas? Why would we do that to ourselves now that Richie Sexson is finally hitting again? If we decide to get an old power hitter, why not Bonds? I personally don't want either, but if we're going down that road, we might as well get the best out there. Bonds > Thomas... lefty bat > righty bat.

Posted by nuin

12:33 PM, Apr 21, 2008

capisce not capiche

Posted by James from Walla Walla

12:33 PM, Apr 21, 2008

A right handed DH is NOT what we need. Especially, one that can be very moody and difficult to get along with at times.

We need a left handed bat with some pop!!

Left handed bats such as Griffey, Nick Johnson, or Giambi would seem to be my picks to go for.

I am for bring up Clement instead. Let him DH along with Morse. Have him back up catcher, 1st base, and maybe play some RF. This means releasing Vidro or move to bench. If we keep Vidro let Cairo go.

Posted by David Gee

12:45 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Overaged players have been the franchise's downfall in recent years. We need young, hungry players. This past offseason we picked up Wilkerson, who was clearly on the decline, and he's hitting, what, .041? We got lucky with Vidro last year but now he's hitting the wall too. Let Thomas clog somebody else's lineup.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:49 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I have zero faith in Bill Bavasi using current scouting reports, videos, to properly evaluate any player whatsoever. History supports my opinion. (Reed, Olivo, Ojeda, Foppert, Aurillia, Speizio, Wilkerson, Everett, Lawton, Pokey Reese, Horacio, Weaver, Washburn, Parrish, Rick White, Jason Davis)

The fact any A.L. GM in the league would use a non power hitter, or someone who doesn't drive in runs at the D.H. position, should be self-explanatory.

Posted by cdawg88

1:16 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Some stats to throw out there about Thomas's slow start this year. Below are his batting stats by month in '07.

April 4 HR 13 RBI .250 AVG .793 OPS
May 4 HR 9 RBI .193 AVG .717 OPS
June 5 HR 18 RBI .289 Avg .953 OPS
July 3 HR 14 RBI .270 Avg .767 OPS
Aug 5 HR 26 RBI .316 Avg .959 OPS
Sept 5 HR 15 RBI .333 Avg .943 OPS

As you can see he's a slow starter, but catches fire when the race is on (something the M's have been missing for 10+ years).

Posted by Faceplant

1:57 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"I mean, there is a long list of former power hitters like Kevin Mitchell, Scott Spezio, Al Martin and even guys like Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson that were all well past their prime but some how got big buck from us to play here."

Scott Spiezio, Al ZMartin, Vince Coleman, and Rickey Henderson were never power hitters. Al Martin had some power, but I certainly wouldn't consider him a power hitter. And of those four, only Spiezio got anything close to big money.

There is nothing wrong with signing veterans to a on year deal. If they suck you DFA them and cut your losses. It's low risk, high reward.

And by the way, a 92 OPS+ from the DH slot would be an improvement over what we have now.

Posted by Faceplant

2:00 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"One thing about the Twins organization. Like the A's (and unlike the M's) they tend to be very good assessors of talent and they don't like to throw money around. My intuition tells me that the Twins are seeing exactly the performance decline that GEOFF points out and, this is why they are eating the big salary."

Huh? Am I missing something? Because Thomas was released by the Toronto Blue Jays, not the Minnesota Twins.

Posted by Faceplant

2:05 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"If we sign him and he produces like he did in 2007 (which is what we would hope for), then his Option will almost surely vest and we will be on the hook for his $10M salary in 2009."

The Jays DFA'd him. Any team that claims Thomas is only responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary. The Mariners, as far as I know, would not be on the hook for his vesting option.

Posted by Faceplant

2:06 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"If Frank Thomas is "done" what is Jose Vidro?"


I literally spit water on my keyboard!

Posted by Faceplant

2:11 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"Choke is the corollary. You're right that RRS should win 70% of the battles, but only if he is pitching as expected by keeping the ball over or near the plate. Lowe kept missing the plate. So, the Angel batters, patiently, let Lowe walk three of them. Was it choking under pressure, or an off-day. Unless we can get into Lowe's mind we won't know."

So if Lowe is facing a team of Beltre's, or a hacktastic team like the Royals and they swing at all of those balls and get themselves out, does that mean that Lowe is still "clutch"? The problem is that so much is dependent on factors that are not in the pitchers control.

Posted by marinersfan

2:17 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Don Geoff,


Is that why the NL's called the senior circuit? Maybe he could fill the void left by Guillen?

Posted by tommyfoutball

2:17 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Punt, pass, and kick him to the hall of fame, or Tampa, or whever guys go to finish out their careers.

Posted by arthur

2:31 PM, Apr 21, 2008

From the other post about bats available and cheaters (Bonds):

Bonds may indeed have been a cheater, but cheating is one of the most honored traditions in baseball if you can get away with it. Remember Gaylord Perry? I loved watching that 300th win. And listening to Dave Henderson talk about trying to pick up a baseball after one of Gaylord's "dew droppers" was a hoot.

Nevertheless we won't go get Bonds so no reason to drag this debate out. But I will say the fact that NO ONE has touched him is pretty indicative of how people throughout MLB feel about his presence on a team.

The M's are starting to click, even Wilk. And Mark Lowe will be fine. Let's wait a while before making major changes. The season is young.

Posted by Choska

2:36 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"This is where the good GMs come up with the true gems, or know when to pass on coal."

So you are saying that Thomas will sign a two-year $18 million deal with the M's tomorrow?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:41 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I'd take a chance on Jeff Clement at DH, before taking a chance on Frank Thomas at DH.

Posted by Stat Prof

2:47 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"The Jays DFA'd him. Any team that claims Thomas is only responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary. The Mariners, as far as I know, would not be on the hook for his vesting option."

Actually a team that claims him off waivers would be responsible for his contract. If they wait until he becomes a free agent, they are only responsible for the ML minimum salary for the rest of the season, however you can be that if Thomas has a choice of teams to go to he'd ask for some kind of signing bonus or other arrangement for his 2009 services.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:48 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Resin - Wow. Dang, man. That's a depressing list of people. I hadn't lined them all up before. Ugh.

Posted by Lance

3:09 PM, Apr 21, 2008

This is regarding Batista's quotes after yesterday's game on his mystery discovery.

With his success against the best hitting team in the league with a fastball 4 to 5 mph less than normal, I wonder if Miguel is seing himself going through his moyermorphusous?

Posted by Faceplant

3:18 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"Actually a team that claims him off waivers would be responsible for his contract. If they wait until he becomes a free agent, they are only responsible for the ML minimum salary for the rest of the season, however you can be that if Thomas has a choice of teams to go to he'd ask for some kind of signing bonus or other arrangement for his 2009 services"

And I stand corrected. I doubt he will be expensive.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

3:47 PM, Apr 21, 2008

OK, now that I understand that we could be responsible for $10mil in 2009 - don't sign him. Too risky. I would now agree with the Clement DHing scenario. I can't wait on Vidro and Wilkerson for more that another two weeks or so. We can't have such a lack of punch at both RF and DH. We have to do something about that no later than mid May if it doesn't change.

Posted by Faceplant

3:49 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I highly doubt it's 10 million. He could probably be had for a couple of million.

Posted by daddydriz

3:58 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"[And you could forget Griffey, who shafted the team on the way out of town.]"

Wow, Ziasudra. That opinion didn't seem to be shared by too many M's fans at the lovefest at Safeco last year. I certainly don't want to re-hash the Griffey saga, but how exactly did he shaft the team? He was within his rights to veto all trades he didn't like. He was absolutely honest with the M's about their ability to re-sign him (zero). He could have gone the A-Rod route, convince the team he was signable (when he clearly wasn't) and avoid having to play for three teams in two years. Or the RJ route and tank half a season to force a trade. Grif was a class act in his dealings with the M's.

Sorry for the sojourn down memory lane, but I don't like revisionist history.

Posted by Ben

4:01 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Is there at all in any rumblings or whispers of bringing Jeremy Reed up? I think adding his defense in right field or left field (and even spelling ichiro occassionally) would be a huge lift and Balentin can't do it, Morse certainly can't do it, Bloomquist can't really do it and wilkerson needs to keep hitting as he did yesterday.

If we're not going to get any hitting out of right field, i'd at least like to negate the amount of runs going out that way... but i don't ever hear the once-promising prospect's (Reed's) name mentioned much.

Posted by Arturo Bandini

4:04 PM, Apr 21, 2008

totally off topic

Ahhh good ol John it just me or does Greg Norton resemble OLY when he bats left handed??
and for that matter Mike Sciosia could be Garth Brooks long lost brother.

Posted by Christopher Diggins

4:08 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Geoff, have you seen Jeff Clement's numbers in Tacoma. He's hitting 400 with 4 or 5 home runs? I know this is small sample size but hey why not bring him up to DH? He was up last year and did pretty well.

Posted by Stevo in Oregon

4:10 PM, Apr 21, 2008

No offense Ben, but I just don't like Jeremy Reed. Bloomquist can hit as well as him, he covers just as much ground in the OF, and he can play multiple positions. I don't think Jeremy will ever have a significant impact with the big club.

You're right though, for what Wilkerson is providing at the plate, you may was well have Reed out there defensively.

Posted by Ben

4:20 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I just don't know what happened to Reed - he was supposed to be a steal in that Freddy Garcia deal - a great outfielder and a nice high average, lead-off type guy... but he seems to have disappeared into obscurity. We need a backup outfielder that can play all 3 OF spots - and he has the range for that (the other bench players and wilkerson do not really).

I'm sure no minor leaguers will be brought up for these positions over the next couple weeks unless there is some sort of injury - so all this is most likely moot anyway.

Posted by Babu

4:38 PM, Apr 21, 2008

According to the Tacoma paper (sorry again, Geoff), here's the latest on Wlad's knee:

Balentien injured his left knee in Saturday’s 12-3 loss to the Sky Sox after sliding into the fence while chasing after a foul ball.

Brown said X-rays were negative and Balentien was being reevaluated. Regardless, Balentien will be held out of games for the rest of this homestand, Brown added.

In addition, Eric O'Flaherty has been called up to AAA Tacoma and pitched in yesterday's game. He pitched two innings and got the win, with the following line:

2.0 IP
3 H
2 R
2 ER
1 BB
2 SO
9.0 ERA

Posted by Nat

4:39 PM, Apr 21, 2008

McLaren repeatedly said in ST he did not want to have a 4th lefthanded OF (Ichiro, Ibanez, Wilkerson) - hence, no Reed. That's why posters so often talke about trading Reed for another piece. Whether you agree with Mac about that is a whole 'nuther matter.

Posted by Ben

4:41 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Ok - well let's go get a good right handed RF backup then. Ship Reed and Baek to someone for a good RF player - perhaps a starter for that price.

Posted by Mr. X

4:47 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Done? Done like a chocolate chip cookie? Done like a sweet potato pie? Interesting.

Resin, you forgot a few of my favorites. Pat Borders, Ramon Santiago, Kevin Appier, Dave Burba (and his new grip), Wilson Valdez, Yorvit Torrealba, Dave Hansen (twice), Ben Broussard, Eduardo Perez, Marcos Carvajal, Fernando Vina, Justin Lehr, Aaron Small, Sean Burroughs, Rey Ordonez, Dan Reichert, Terry Mulholland, Hiram Bocachica, Roberto Petagine, Joe Borchard, Jim Parque, Guillermo Quiroz, Jake Woods, and Jason Ellison.

Posted by kranky

5:26 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Face it. Bavasi hitched his wagon to Beltre and Sexton when he signed them. Since that has not worked out that great, the rest of it (all the goofy trades) has been wndow dressing.

The right thing to do is: (1) dump Wilkerson and Cairo; (2) put Vidro on the bench; (3) call up Clement to DH and serve as third catcher; and (4) call up Reed or Wlad to play RF in a platoon with Morse (once healthy) until one of them proves he can hit consistently, then that guy is the starter.

Because this makes perfect sense and can be easily done, it will not happen.

Posted by kranky

5:30 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Correction: I should have said "(all the goofy trades and free agent signings)."

Posted by Donovan

5:51 PM, Apr 21, 2008

The hesitation to bring Clement up has nothing to do with doubts about his bat. The problem is that the M's see him as Kenji's eventual replacement. They want him playing regularly in Tacoma to become a better catcher. The hitting is already there, but his catching is suspect. There has been a raging debate here for over a year on the wisdom of using (or squandering) Morrow's arm in the pen when, with some more minor league seasoning, he might be a fine starter. Earlier today, somebody posted a quote from Steinbrenner about Joba Chamberlain, making the point that Bavasi was an "idiot" for not sending Morrow down for development. Bringing Clement up just for his bat would be exactly the same thing. I'm not completely decided on this issue, but If you are against Morrow in the bullpen, I don't see how you can support Clement as a DH.

Posted by Cheers

5:52 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Why not throw Vidro in the dfa list as well? It is best to avoid letting his contract vest, alla Thomas in Toronto. Bringing up the young players you mention makes perfect sense to everyone but Bavasi and McLaren, so lets dfa those guys too.

Posted by Cheers

6:16 PM, Apr 21, 2008

While it is pleasant to see Richie Sexson improving his eye and beginning to get his stroke again, it is best that we remember this is his contract year. Does anyone really want to sign him to another contact? Frankly I think it would be a mistake to sign Richie to another year and it is at this conclusion that the M's need to think about !B for next year. In this same vein, it is unlikely that Clement will ever be the regular catcher, in Tacoma, he often DH's while Johnson catches, perhaps his best use would be at 1B as a replacement for Sexson next year. Accepting his limitations as a catcher might be the best thing for him, such foresight might give the M's a better handle on their personnel. Bring Clement up to DH and sub at 1B. Next year given him 1B and move Raul to DH, it is time to get him out of the outfield as he is too slow, but he can still contribute at the plate.

Going with some of the young talent cannot be any worse than continuing to suffer the pathetic efforts of Vidro, Wilkerson and Cairo. It also builds the team for the future, although I think they can still compete this year. Remember good pitching more often than not beats good hitting and it looks to me that the M's have their pitching sorted out with some very good performances in the balance both among starters and relievers. So I do not think we will have to worry so much about the pen, unless McLaren finds a way to screw it up, which is highly possible given his proclivities as a manager.

When Balentien is recovered get him ready and into action in right, but for the meantime perhaps Reed for at least some defense and more average than Wilkerson. Surely management must consider some moves to improve the offense and the defense with some of the better AAA talent, the present fiasco cannot continue least we waste the fine pitching. Baek remains a trade chip that packaged with Morse or Reed might bring a reasonably good outfielder - perhaps with the right persuasion, that outfielder count be Junior. THe M's might back channel Griff with his friend Bone, in and effort to convince him to play at the Safe which was built for his sweet swing.

Posted by Ziasudra

6:22 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Well, daddyritz, Griffey publicly told the M's he would accept a trade ONLY to Cincinatti. Therefore the M's had ZERO leverage to get value for one of the best players in all of baseball. We got nothing for something. I guarantee the FO remembers it. i remember it. And, I was not cheering last summer like all the short-memoried droolers.
Let him rot in Cincinatti.

Posted by Rot n snot

6:31 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Holding a grudge only makes you less interesting and non-reasonable in the world at large. Junior gave his best years to the unforgiving concrete of the Kingdome and he always put forward his best effort, why was his move back to Cincinnati not seen as simply a desire to go home as he said? Now perhaps with the right inducements, he'd be ready to come home to Seattle where his skills help built the Safe.

Posted by drlo

7:01 PM, Apr 21, 2008

driz, while I have mellowed out a bit on Griffey in recent years and believe that he might add value to the Mariners now (especially if we keep playing guys in power positions who don't hit for power), ziasudra is absolutely right in his characterization of Griffey's departure. Had Griffey simply told the FO quietly that Cincinnati was the only option, perhaps not a problem. But he was loud and vocal on this point, broadcasting it everywhere and in particular in Cincinnati, and indeed he badly handicapped the FO in their efforts to extract value. This is not revisionist history. Do you recall the wild expression of affection given to Cameron by the fans in his first game at Safeco after the trade? That was before we even knew what we had in Cameron, and those cheers were directed as much to Cameron as Griffey's replacement and reflected fan opinion of Griffey's boorish behavior.

Comparing Griffey's or anyone else's behavior with ARod's is holding him to a very low standard. Perhaps he didn't mislead folks like ARod apparently did, and he didn't tank it like Randy did. But that doesn't make his behavior reasonable or proper, and neither ziasudra nor anyone else is re-writing history on this one.

Posted by ricofoy

7:28 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Oh brother! Everyone in baseball knew Cincinnati was where Jr. wanted to go - how much leverage do you think the M's had? He wanted to go home and signed a below market contract to do so.
The Kid..the greatest athlete Seattle has ever seen, not a hint of steroids or any off-field issues period and someone here would like to see him rot in Cincinnati??
Save your venom for someone who deserves it.

Posted by doug

7:47 PM, Apr 21, 2008

i dont see why rich gets so much flak when beltre escapes unscathed, he has been slighy better but not near worth his contract. He isnt an all star, not a top 20 3b and just Ks a metrick FUCK ton. Guy is just as much as a bust as sexson, at least big rich is a local boy . BUSTRE had a big contract year and bavasi was retarded enough to sign the guy and he just SUCKS.

Posted by NB

7:54 PM, Apr 21, 2008

"He isnt an all star, not a top 20 3b"

I have no interest in really debating however this is arguably the wrongest statement I've ever read on this blog.

Beltre might be the best third basemen in the American League not named Alex Rodriguez.

Posted by stango

8:00 PM, Apr 21, 2008


Word. I wasn't gonna bother, but...

I don't think it's the "wrongest" though, don't you remember Cubby? I think you were around last year, he would still have the top 25 wrongest statements.

Posted by Haha

8:02 PM, Apr 21, 2008


Pronunciation: \ˈig-n(ə-)rənt\
Function: adjective

1 a: destitute of knowledge or education ; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified b: resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence

Posted by Ignorant

8:10 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Play nice!

Posted by Haha

8:11 PM, Apr 21, 2008

doug: have you been living abroad for the last couple years? You must have the guy mixed up with someone else. Adrian Beltre = DEFENSE. Like Gold Glove. He can hit as well. Suffice it to say the Mariners wouldn't be at .500 w/o AB. Watch a Mariners game or two or five, bud. You might learn something.

Posted by Nat

8:29 PM, Apr 21, 2008

There's a great article about George Sherrill in the Baltimore Sun-,0,3433237.story

I miss GS!

Posted by stango

8:30 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I'm sorry, I really, really do try to play nice. I think that I've successfully avoided attacking anyone up til today. Time to start a new streak. That was admittedly immature.

but... Beltre?!?

D'oh! There it is again!

My apologies

Posted by stango

8:34 PM, Apr 21, 2008

On a totally different, more positive, note:

Tomorrow's Felix Day!

You never know when it's gonna be a game to remember...

Posted by Nat

8:43 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Also, while I was browsing I found an update on Balentien- if this has been posted already, sorry for the duplication-
So nice to get good news for a change!

Posted by NB

8:54 PM, Apr 21, 2008


True. True.

Doug is the Adrian Beltre of Wrongness. Cubby is Alex Rodriguez.

Posted by tylerv

9:00 PM, Apr 21, 2008


What do all you beat writers do during the games? Jot down notes? Actually, I want to know if you guys make comments to eachother about the game? Just curious how you may influence eachother's angles and if you guys point stuff out to one another like a couple of friends watching the game together would.

I really like reading recaps of games Ive watched because often the take is different from my own, and I think its hard to put a game so easily into a story like you guys do.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:11 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Nate-It's a roll of the dice what you get there as far as information goes. The scouting analysis on that site is by far the poorest I have ever read in my life. Kei Igawa is no frontline starter, it argued against the debate Bedard's mechanics were a red flag for injury. I read Johjima was a defensive liability there, and it stated Jose Lopez's bat speed was slow. If you google that site it warns that entering that site can harm your computer. No thank you.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

9:14 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Speaking of rumors. Geoff any word on the rumors I read Bedard is going to be out for a few months? The team's unusual silence makes one wonder.

Posted by BNorth1321

9:38 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I say give him a chance. I guarantee he will have more home runs than vidro at the DH. McLaren could platoon Vidro and Frank at DH. Frank for lefty pitchers and Vidro for righty pitchers. It will give our bench even more depth and give more security for power as well!

Posted by ode

9:41 PM, Apr 21, 2008


You are right about that site, but it's not as bad as the Mariner's Revolution site was. Talk about crappy analysis. I was convinced it was a joke site until someone told me that the authors were actually trying to be serious.

Posted by Nat

9:45 PM, Apr 21, 2008

BNorth1321- apparently that was the reason Thomas got angry in the first place, i.e., hitting PT. It doesn't seem likely he would want to platoon for any other ML team.

Resin- don't go there if you are afraid for your computer. I have followed Churchill for a few years and his information on AAA players is accurate as far as I can tell. I have no reason to doubt this.

Posted by BrianL

10:12 PM, Apr 21, 2008

You know, I'm actually happy to see that a majority of the people here agree that Beltre is one of the top third basemen in the league. Stellar defense with an above-average bat is a great thing to have from your hot-corner guy.

In the next offseason or during this season, before FAs are brought in, I'd really like to see Adrian's contract extended a few more years. It is extremely hard to replace the skillset Adrian brings through free-agency.

Also, re Churchill - I bought a copy of his Prospect Insider book for 2008, fantastic read and well worth the 10 dollar price tag for a digital copy. His evaluation of the top farmhands in the system is spot-on. Just reading his piece on Carlos Triunfel makes me giddy for the future.

Posted by Adam

10:27 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Resin has some sort of unnatural bias against Churchill and Propsect Insider. Of course Churchill's scouting reports or his quoting of ML scouts has absolutely NOTHING to do with Wlad's injury report - it's comparing apples and oranges - but that won't stop Resin.

I read Churchill's site solely for his work on Mariner prospects - it's the best around. Of course his evaluations are off sometimes - there isn't a ML scout alive (not saying Churchill is a ML scout) who wasn't wrong about at least one prospect. If you want news about the big-league team or roster moves, go somewhere else (his misreporting of Adam Jones' callup last year and his report that Jim Colburn would be the pitching coach were way off), but Churchill does provide good info.

And there is no reason to believe that his update on Wlad is innaccurate.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:33 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I'm a subscriber to Baseball America. Superior pro site for accurate reliable scouting information by scouts on players despite a poor track record of rating prospects by the editor.

Posted by BrianL

10:36 PM, Apr 21, 2008

For anyone who is interested, Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing is holding an "Open Statistical Question Thread" for anyone to comment in. Register for an SB Nation account and feel free to post your questions regarding the popular metrics being used today.

again re Churchill - I've never been a fan of his roster moves speculation and trade rumors, but his prospect reporting is some of the best out there. For Mariner specific minor league prospect information, Churchill is the best bar none.

Posted by Adam

10:39 PM, Apr 21, 2008

My quick take on Frank Thomas:


To the extend that he'd be better than Vidro, he might be worth a look, but I see a downward trend in his numbers that is a bit alarming.

His line drive rates the past four years:

2005: 20.8%
2006: 19.2%
2007: 17.0%
2008: 12.8%

His groundball rates:

2005: 24.7%
2006: 23.5%
2007: 29.9%
2008: 31.9%

One might be tempted to look at his abnormally low BABIP in 2008 and write off his poor numbers to bad luck and a small sample size. There's no doubt that his BABIP should get better, but the numbers above tell me that his bat is getting slower. He's a flyball hitter, but when he starts hitting fewer balls in the air and and on a line, it tells me his physical skills are declining.

Couple that with the fact that Safeco is death to RH flyball hitters, and I would not invest in Frank Thomas, even for the low price he'd be available at.

Now, if this were a choice simply between Thomas and Vidro, I'd take Thomas and send Vidro to the bench. However, there happens to be a ML-ready bat in Tacoma whom Thomas would block and likely fail to outproduce. Outside of Barry Bonds, the best candidate to take over for Vidro at DH is Clement. Let's get him up here, waive Cairo, move Vidro to the bench, and let Clement DH 5 days and week and catch once or twice a week.

He should be the choice, not Thomas. Aside from the fact that Thomas is a real candidate to flop, there's simply no need to block Clement's bat. Bavasi would be making a mistake if he went for the Big Hurt.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

10:45 PM, Apr 21, 2008

It's not an unnatural bias. It's my opinion to what was written earlier. When people come in here an start spamming for his site, which is bombarded by ads as it is, and asks its readers to pay for information that is not by an MLB scouting director or organization or scout, you better believe I'll put my 2 cents in. Unlike Adam, I am not skewed by being a blogger there. Not everyone shares the same point of view as yours Adam.

Posted by BrianL

10:53 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Easy Resin.

I don't blog on Churchill's site but I still respect his work. Charging for the book is no different than what the more mainstream outlets like Baseball Prospectus does. Furthermore, the Prospect Insider contains a great deal of information gathered by, gasp, real MLB scouts. The first part of each prospect analysis is the scout take, then Churchill's elaboration on what the scout's say.

Being a stathead doesn't mean you never use scouting reports.

Posted by Adam

10:55 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Resin - so you resent the fact that he tries to make a bit of money to keep the site going? Really? That's awfully petty. Nobody's forcing you to pay a thing. I've never paid for any of his reports. And just because someone comes on here and says "Prospect Insider is reporting that Wlad's ok" doesn't mean they are "spamming" for Churchill.

And just because I do post there on occasion doesn't mean I have any sort of bias or am skewed. Yes, you are entitled to your own opinion, but that doesn't mean it's rational.

From what I've observed, you take special care to attack Churchill's site when it is mentioned here. Not sure why you feel the need.

Posted by Aarron

11:28 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I don't see the harm in getting Thomas. Replacing Vidro in dh would only help us, and we can get Thomas dirt cheap....I say go for it! Its a cheap and effective way to experiment....Then later (after his 600th HR) we can focus on getting Griffey. Griffey can replace wilkerson in RF (god willing).

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:31 PM, Apr 21, 2008

BrianL- Feel free to spend as much money as you like on that site and take the word of the author and his staff of scouts. And you have every right to pimp this kid all you want. Just as I have every right to disagree with the opinions on that site.

Adam, you need to get a better handle on your emotions. The accusations you make are false. Just because you don't spend money there doesn't take away from the fact you do have to pay for downloading content. This isn't a court room where you need to win the jury at every topic. Relax get some fresh air.

We all get it. You love Churchill and you resent my perspective because I don't like sabermetrics. If you settled down, you would clearly see that we almost always agree on most topics. I have every right to voice my opinion. I even agree with your sabre Gods quite often despite not using the same path to get there. However, on this topic I disagree. I think it's poor scouting analysis, you don't. Move on.

Posted by Corey Miller

12:13 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Hey Geoff just out of curiosity can you make two Game Threads? One for those of us that just want to ask about the score and how the pitcher is looking...the weather...girls at Safeco...things like that. And then maybe another thread for everyone who wants to argue...bicker...slander...and debate during the game?

If it is too much trouble I understand but wow it sure would be nice.

Posted by fart

12:33 AM, Apr 22, 2008

great Adam's back....

Posted by Babu

4:00 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Just to note that Prospect Insider is saying the same thing about Wlad's injury that the local Tacoma press is saying.

Posted by Paul

6:15 AM, Apr 22, 2008

The very fact that Bavasi is looking at and considering signing a declining Frank Thomas at this point in his career is evidence that Bavasi is aware that Vidro is an inadequate DH. I'm relieved that Bavasi obviously feels this way, because up until now, it seemed that Bavasi was naively or stupidly happy with our team's offensive capacity.

Now that we know that HE knows Vidro isn't hacking it, we should definitely hold him to a higher standard to get something done. By something, I DON'T mean get Frank Thomas. I mean swing a trade or bring up a younger, more capable hitter with some pop.

Posted by eastcoast

7:31 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Just when you thought it would be impossibe for the M's lineup to get older and slower, you hear these Frank Thomas rumors.. uugghh.

Here's my take: I understand that it is early but lets consider the ptiching situation. Felix appears to have taken the next step. Silva doesn't dominate, but eats innings and can keep his team in games. Bedard, assuming he will come back healthy, makes for a nasty trio. Add Batista and his revelation, Washburn and +/- Dickey. The BP gets back a healthy JJ tonight to join Green, Lowe, Morrow, Rhodes, RRS. Several of these guys are young, but I feel confident that they will grow into their roles given time. Overall, I think you have to feel pretty darn good about the M's pitching long-term.

Offensively it's a different story. We've already seen guys like Jackson, Greinke, Santana, Saunders manhandle this line-up. We haven't even faced any of the AL elite yet (Beckett, Dice-K, Carmona, CC, Halladay, Lackey, etc, etc). Given our pitching, we need to be able to manufacture runs in games vs good pitching to give ourselves the best chance - and play good defense. I suggest that we look to supplant Wilk with someone who is quick on the basepaths, gets on base, and plays good D. Someone in the Coco Crisp, Cory Patterson mold. I would think these guys are more likely available than a power hitter and would go a long way towards our ability to scratch out runs. As for DH, we need power! I understand the desire to have Clement play C everyday, but would love to see him in Seattle splitting time at C/DH/1B. I picture this line-up.

RF Ichiro
CF Crisp/Patterson, or someone like them
3B Beltre
LF Ibanez
1B Sexson
DH Clement
C Johjima
2B Lopez
SS Yuni

Posted by byebyeSexson

7:39 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Thomas No, Clement Yes!

Posted by JohnS

8:30 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Thanks for the video. Almost felt like a beat writer for the M's watching it.

Posted by doug

6:29 PM, Apr 22, 2008

yall keep sucking BUSTre's dick, the entire national media mocks the signing as being equally bad as sextons

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