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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 22, 2008 8:18 AM

More than just Happy Felix Day

Posted by Geoff Baker

OK, OK, I borrowed some of today's headline from countless other websites. But seriously, what's not to be happy about if you're a Mariners fan? The last time Felix Hernandez took the mound, in Oakland, he threw a complete-game. Got to be happy about that.

There are a few other things worth noting if you are a fan of this team. Or, even if you're looking for signs to see whether this 10-10 club is legit. Hernandez has gone seven innings or more in three of his starts already. But he is not even the staff leader in that department. Carlos Silva has gone seven or more innings on four occasions, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista once each. (Originally, I'd written that Washburn had two, but it was only one).

That makes nine starts of seven or more innings by Seattle starters. Want to know how long it took the 2007 M's to notch that many? They didn't get their ninth such start until May 27. Yes, that's right. This year's team is five full weeks ahead of last year's pace.

So, does it really matter? You'd better believe it. When a starter goes seven innings, it enables a team to use its bullpen in defined roles. The setup man and situational lefty can go in the eighth inning, the closer in the ninth. The M's have yet to take full advantage of this because all of their top bullpen arms were either injured or imploding the first few weeks. Brandon Morrow is now back and slowly working his way into form, Ryan Rowland-Smith has usurped Eric O'Flaherty as the situational lefty and J.J. Putz should be re-activated off the disabled list today.

Given all that, a .500 record is not the worst possible outcome.

Oh wait, I forgot about Erik Bedard. Interesting that he does not have a single one of those seven-inning starts. And he's the guy who, historically, was the most able of any of Seattle's starting five of going at least seven. That, for me, is the most intriguing part about the 2007 rotation. It is obviously vastly improved, and not just at the top end. Silva's addition has stabilized the middle, Hernandez has taken a step forward (so far) on the top end, Washburn is pitching better than last year and Batista, if he's right about discovering a new way to go deeper in games, could provide the biggest surprise of all at age 37.

Throw a healthy Bedard in that mix? You can see the possibilities.

But for now, at least, the M's have weathered a severe early-season injury storm and offensive rollercoaster mainly because of the starters. Remember, the bullpen has already blown two games the M's were leading in entering the ninth. If not, this is a 12-8 team.

Last year's crew did deliver plenty of so-called "quality starts'' of at least six innings and three earned runs or less allowed. But still not as much as the M's have seen this season.

So far, the Mariners have 11 such outings, with Bedard contributing two of them. Last year, it took until May 2 for the M's to reach that total. So, they are more than a week ahead of that pace. But again, while "quality starts'' are OK, get too many of the six-inning variety and the bullpen is still being taxed. Last year, the M's had five "quality starts'' of seven or more innings among their first 11 overall. So far, this year's team has eight such starts in their first 11.

It might not sound like much, but it all starts to add up. The more games where relievers can be used in set-roles, where eighth-inning relievers don't have to come into a game in the sixth or seventh innings, the less wear and tear you're liable to see down the road. Considering how last season ended up, it's a welcome trend indeed for a squad with designs on contending for a playoff berth. These are not just innings being delivered. They are quality innings.

Let's compare the M's to the Angels so far:

7+ inning starts

Mariners -- 9
Angels -- 7

7+ inning quality starts

Mariners -- 8
Angels -- 6


6+ inning quality starts

Mariners -- 11
Angels -- 11

Yes, I know. The Angels are missing John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar. From what I heard in Anaheim last weekend, Escobar is likely done for the year. Lackey should be back towards the end of May. But remember, the M's haven't really had a healthy Bedard yet, either. So, that's a 1-to-1 sawoff. This could be a very interesting race.

With Seattle's full bullpen unit finally rounding its way back to normal, these seven-inning outings should prove more useful each day. To answer a question below, when Putz comes back, I could see Roy Corcoran getting sent down. Now, if only the team could get some hitting from its RF and DH spots...



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Posted by Ziasudra

8:26 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Good comments - gives the true M's fan hope.
Are you confident that JJ will be reactivated today? If so, who gets cut? My guess would be Corcoran, but ?

Posted by scrapiron

8:41 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Remember Geoff in your pre-season projections you said the key to winning the West was Sexson and Vidro with .800+ OPS. So far, Sexson has been a pleasant surprise here. Vidro, not so much.

I keep looking at that .400 hitting catcher at Tacoma and keep thinking that might be our .800+ OPS DH. And if you rotate Johjima/Clement at C/DH Clement still gets his development at catcher in. I just don't know how much longer we can wait for our DH to show up.

Posted by Get Griffey

8:51 AM, Apr 22, 2008

" I just don't know how much longer we can wait for our DH to show up."

The answer... NOT MUCH LONGER!

Posted by SDF Mariner

8:55 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I give Vidro until mid-May to see if he can get things going. If not by then, he's got to find a seat on the bench as a pinch hitter. We've got to run the best possible lineup out there and also make sure Vidro's option for 09 doesn't kick in due to plate appearances.

Now let's just pray Bavasi doesn't sign Frank Thomas to further block Clement's path.....

Posted by Mint Husky

8:56 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Erik who? Oh yeah, that guy we sold the farm for. Nearly forgot about him. Pride of the rotation, my eye...

Posted by ron

8:58 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Geoff, your credentials as a statistician are slipping. 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10, not 9.

Tell Larry Stone he's usually on the money, but wrong this time. Another old, slow guy who's over the hill is not what we need. I agree with the idea of bringing up Clement. And as soon as Balentien heals, maybe we can give up on Wilkerson as well.

Posted by BrianL

9:02 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I'm still not convinced that Clement should be DHing this year. If Kenji does not come back to the club next season (either by the Mariners choosing not to resign him or Kenji signing with another club) Clement is the next catcher. While it's clear that there isn't much improvement left for his offensive side of the game, he still needs work behind the dish handling a pitching staff.

As hard as it is to do, it might be best to let Clement catch in Tacoma for a majority of this season. Doing this could avoid a disaster scenario next season, the return of the Catching Carousel of Doom that we were forced to endure in 2005.

Now, since I'm obviously not in favor of calling up Clement (yet), here's my solution:

*Vidro to the bench of DFA'ed (Really, anything to keep that albatross option from vesting)
*Ibanez to DH
*Reed to LF

At the very worst, Reed stinks it up at the plate just as much as Vidro. Despite that, Reed still provides stellar defense in the outfield, allowing Ichiro to shade slightly more towards right-center to take pressure off Wilkerson (or whoever the heck is out in right). At best, Reed hits something like .250-.260 with good speed on the basepaths.

With Ibanez also in the DH spot, he gets more rest and thus has a better chance to maintain a productive bat.

Posted by Frito Bandito

9:15 AM, Apr 22, 2008

LONG LIVE THE KING!!!!!!

Posted by scrapiron

9:15 AM, Apr 22, 2008

BrianL - If Kenji catches Bedard, Silva and Batista and Clement catches Felix and Washburn, then Clement still develops as a catcher and you are prepared for the possibility that Kenji leaves as a free agent. Plus it lets each catcher rest their knees and DH every other day.

Posted by Steven Donegal

9:21 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I think 20 games is a little early to judge the ball club, but my assessment at this point hasn't changed much from spring training. Starting pitching is far superior to last year; bullpen (due to loss of Sherrill and lights out season last year) isn't as good; and offense isn't as good due to losing Guillen. So far no pleasant surprises at the plate. But as I said 20 games is too early to tell much. Memorial Day is a much better indicator of where the club is going to be. For now, I'll stick with my over/under victory number of 83.

Posted by BrianL

9:29 AM, Apr 22, 2008

But is catching two out of every five days enough work to help Clement develop? Is learning how to catch at the ML level on a team trying to vie for a playoff spot a smart idea for both the club and Clement?

At the least, I think the Mariners are going to wait until after the all-star break to call up Clement for DH duties. I also don't believe that the Mariners are going to use him at first base in the near future, or ever (Moneyball actually had an entire chapter devoted to Scott Hatteberg explaining how hard it is to move from C to 1B). If you think Richie Sexson is a disaster at first base, Clement would be the defensive equivalent of Armageddon.

Also, concerning roster moves -

When JJ is activated I suspect Lowe gets sent down (even though it probably should be Morrow).

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:34 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Can Clement learn more from AAA instructors and catching AAA pitchers, 5 times a week, than he can from ML instructors and catching ML pitchers once or twice a week?

Can Clement learn more about hitting major league hitting from the AAA hitting instructors and off AAA pitchers, in Tacoma?

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:37 AM, Apr 22, 2008

HAPPY FELIX DAY!

It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day,
Hip hip hooray, It's Felix Day,
It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day,
Glory alleluia, It's Felix Day!

I'm a Mariner fan, and I can't complain
Just gimme Felix, 2 runs and I'll go insane!

It's Felix Day, It's Felix Day,
Let's go out to the park -
It's-a-Felix-Daaaaaaaaaay!

Posted by BrianL

9:38 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Chris -

I suppose it comes down to pressure. At the ML level, any mistakes that Clement makes behind the dish are going to be magnified tenfold. From everything I've read, Clement still has a great deal of work on the defensive side of being a catcher.

If he's learning how to catch at the ML level, and he ends up hurting the team with his glove it could prove to be disastrous for his development. At this point, with the catcher situation up in the air for next season, I think it's too big of a risk to take.

Posted by ajdaddy

9:56 AM, Apr 22, 2008

And Bedard should be back soon! (fingers crossed). I'd like to see Jeremy Reed up, especially if we continue to get non-production from RF and DH. He has a line-drive stroke, and plays very good defense, as well as adding a little speed. I'd like to see Lowe stay up, until Morrow gets squared away.
Oh, and as sports fans, check out the Game 7's in the NHL tonight! There is nothing like a Game 7 in hockey for passion and intensity...and I'm sure Geoff caught the Canadiens game 7 mauling of the Bruins last night...

Halte la, halte la, halte la,
Les Canadiens, Les Canadiens,
Halte la, halte la, halte la,
Les Canadiens Sont La!
Les Ca-na-diens!
Les Ca-na-diens....sont....LA!!!!!

Posted by BrettJMiller

10:05 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Why send Corco down? He's pitched really well. Trade Baek for a PTBNL or cut Cairo, they haven't done anything of importance...

Posted by Ziasudra

10:12 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Catching is not as clear as you all make it - Clement vs. Kenjii - Johnson is also in the mix - he is an excellent defensive catcher, and his BA is close to .300. Not much power, but if you put Clement at DH, Johnson is certainly an adequate option for Jojima next year.

Posted by Kunkoh

10:13 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I disagree regarding Washburn. Last April he was fairly effective; so I wouldn't say he's pitching better at this time than he did last year at this time. He continued his success in May and then collapsed shortly there after.

If you compare his final line last year vs this year, it may look like he's pitching better this year; but that is really incomplete since he did start well last year and may well collapse again this. (hopefully not!)

Either way, we really need Putz back, and Bedard health. Here is to hope!

Posted by Bob

10:20 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I think Washburn has gotten a bad rap by many, even though his performance last year was actually very similar to both Hernandez and Batista. If Geoff says he’s pitching better this year than last, with all the other perks of the current staff, it’s looking pretty good.

In 2007, Felix had a slightly better ERA and innings pitched per start than both Jarrod and Miguel. Jarrod and Miguel were very close in both these categories. All three were similar in quality starts (6 innings, 3 ERs), the starts giving up 3 runs or less but not 6 innings, and starts giving up 4 runs or more. (For Geoff’s 7 inning quality start, Felix had 10, Jarrod had 8, and Miguel had 6). Both Jarrod and Felix started 4 games that resulted n shutouts. The team wins for quality starts and starts with 3 runs or less is also similar.

The big difference is in the team wins when giving up 4 or more runs. Both Jarrod and Felix gave up an average of 5 runs for those games, but the Ms scored an average of 6.5 runs in games Felix had started compared to 4.4 runs in the games Jarrod had started. The difference in these games was partially the pitching (Felix went more innings, thus had a lower ERA), but had more to do with how many runs the Ms scored.

ERA, W/L, team W/L
Felix – 3.92, 14-7, 21-9
Jarrod – 4.32, 10-15, 15-17
Miguel – 4.31, 16-11, 19-13 (not including 1 inning in relief)

Total innings, innings per start
Felix – 190.3, 6.3
Jarrod – 193.7, 6.0
Miguel – 192.0, 6.0 (not including 1 inning in relief)

Starts, quality starts, 7 inning quality starts, percent of all games started, team W/L
Felix – 30, 15, 10, 50%, 12-3
Jarrod – 32, 17, 8, 53%, 13-4
Miguel – 32, 18, 6, 56%, 13-5

Number of starts 3 ER or less, percent of all starts, team W/L
Felix – 20, 67%, 15-5
Jarrod – 21, 66%, 14-7
Miguel – 23, 72%, 17-6

Number of starts 4 ER or more, percent of all starts, team W/L
Felix – 10, 33%, 6-4
Jarrod – 11, 34%, 1-10
Miguel – 9, 28%, 2-7

Number of starts resulting in shutout, innings pitched
Felix – 4 -- 9, 8, 8, 8
Jarrod – 4 – 9, 8, 8, 7
Miguel – 2 – 7, 6.2

Posted by Nat

10:23 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Chris- In theory I like the idea of Clement playing C at the ML level and agree that for him it would be better than AAA. But would an on-the-job training C be better for the team? If you recall when Adam Jones got called up to play CF in '06, what a bust that was. He wasn't ready and it was apparent.

Although I haven't configured Reed into the mix until now I think that might be a solution to have Ibanez move to DH and put Reed in LF. Has Reed played LF at all?

Posted by BrianL

10:26 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Ziasudra

Most people are looking at Johnson only as a backup catcher for a ballclub somewhere (Perhaps here, perhaps elsewhere). He does not figure in to being a starter with the Mariners anytime soon, or ever.

The problem with moving Clement to DH is when you consider position-by-position production. With Clement's skillset, he would be simply a league-average DH that's not worth writing home about (and can also be found via free-agency without too much of a hassle or price tag). However, that same skillset could immediately launch him into the top five or six catchers in the AL.

In other words, Designated hitters are easy to find. Catchers aren't. If you have a good hitting catcher who needs defensive work, you let that good hitting catcher work on his defense rather than move him to DH.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:31 AM, Apr 22, 2008

BrianL - Good points, all. I can see the argument for Clement getting more bake time to work on his catching exclusively, even though it still means we have a power drain in the ML club for 08.

Though I keep coming back to what Boston has done with guys like Ellsbury...

Posted by bavasirocks

10:31 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Geoff, correction: The last time Felix took the mound in Oakland, he threw a complete game and gave up 2 runs, 1 earned. Not a shutout.

Posted by BrianL

10:40 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Chris

Trust me, I'd love to see Clement up right now to hit in the Mariners lineup. However because of the simple fact that he's a catcher and good catchers are extremely hard to find, I have to think a little more time at Tacoma would serve both him and the ML club best in the long run.

It is a very tough pill to swallow, though. Our current DH is a joke and our current catcher is struggling right now (though I'm fairly certain Johjima is going to get things turned around. That alone makes it extremely tempting, and to a certain extent justifiable, to call up Clement to help the Ms now.

Hard decisions to make, each option having its benefits. As it stands now, I think we're not at the point yet where Clement needs to be an option. I view him as the late-July panic-mode call up.

I still would like to see Raul at DH. He's got a very good bat that is tailor-made for Safeco field, however I worry that Raul being a regular outfielder might take a toll on his production at the plate. If Raul's bat goes south, this team is in a lot of trouble. That's why I'd like to see Vidro jettisoned and Reed placed into left with Raul at DH.

Posted by scottM

10:49 AM, Apr 22, 2008

The Jose DH Blues

They Tried To take Me from the DH, But I Said 'no, No, No'
Yes I've Been Bad But When I Come Back You'll Know Jose Vidro
I Ain't Got much Time but Bavasi Thinks I'm Fine
They're tryin' To Make Me from the DH, But I Won't go, go, go

The Man Said 'why Do You Think You Here'
I Said 'i Got No Idea
I'm Gonna, I'm Gonna Lose My Salary
So I Always Keep A big bat Near'
He Said 'i Just Think Your Depressed,
Kiss Me Here Baby And Go Rest'

They wanna replace me with the Big Hurt, but I Said 'no, No, No'
Yes I've Been Bad But When I Come Back You'll Know Jose Vidro
I Ain't Got The Time And If Coach Mac Thinks I'm Fine
He's Tryin' To replace me with the Big Hurt, But I Won't Go Go Go

Posted by BrianL

10:51 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Also, my belated thoughts on Thomas:

Well, he's better than Vidro.

Other than that, pass. We have better internal options.

Posted by Sitting Bull

10:58 AM, Apr 22, 2008

All those starting pitching facts only highlight what a miserable hitting team we are. What a sorry bunch of FAs Bavasi has assembled. How can Beltre have 6 RBI on 22 hits and three homers?

Posted by BrianL

11:00 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Sitting Bull -

Funny what happens when no one is on base ahead of you.

Posted by Mike

11:04 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Time to make my weekly plea for Kenny Lofton to play left and moving Raul to DH and Vidro to PH. I think Lofton would be a better fit than Reed but either way it would be nice to have some range in left.

Posted by BrianL

11:08 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Mike -

I could live with Lofton, but I am worried that he might come with (as someone at LL so humorously put it) "Veteran Entitlement" attached.

But at this point I just want to see Raul at DH.

Posted by hcoguy

11:10 AM, Apr 22, 2008

HAHA.

So its Bavasi's fault that Beltre has gotten nearly all his hits with the bases empty? That is a new one.

Beltre is Bavasi's best free agent signing of his tenure here. Look at Scotty Rolen's or Eric Chavez's contracts if you want a comparison.

I don't blame anyone but the reason is Ichiro's somewhat annual slow start to the season. That, along with nearly every pitcher figuring out to throw bendy stuff low and away and get Adrian to chase.

That said, Beltre is far from a problem in the lineup currently.

Bonds Bonds Bonds.

Posted by Mike

11:13 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Bonds works too but we've been told that will never happen. Several have speculated that Bonds would be a good fit for Oakland. If Oakland is still in it in a few weeks I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted by BrettJMiller

11:19 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Man, I really hate how it's not politically correct to call people names sometimes...

Posted by Paul

11:29 AM, Apr 22, 2008

BrainL - I agree that Clement would likely only be an "average" DH but a top 5-10 catcher right now, offensively. The thing is, we have a dead-last type of DH right now and a top-10 catcher in Kenji. So rotating them between C and DH give us an upgrade at DH either way, and Clement can play C with some regularity too. You still keep Burke up as a D replacement late in games as needed and shed Cairo. It's a win-win.

Plus, if DH's are easy to find, who do you suggest at this point as a Vidro replacement? I'd be in your camp if I saw someone out there that we could reasonably get.

Posted by BNorth1321

11:37 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Can we please sign Frank Thomas. I have a feeling he will pay off for this year bigtime. They don't call him the big hurt for nothing. He has always been a clutch hitter. Look at his lifetime average - .302. This is remarkable for his size. He provides the CONSISTENT punch were looking for and can't go wrong for the price of $390,000!

Posted by BrianL

11:37 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Paul -

As I mentioned earlier, there's no need to "get" anyone for DH. Raul is out in left and would be best served by moving to DH. It's imperative that his legs stay healthy and DH is the way to do it.

If Kenji is still struggling and the offense is still miserable come July, then the panic button will be hit and Clement and Wlad will be called up. I'm not willing to jeopardize Clement's development unless absolutely necessary, and we're not there yet.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

11:38 AM, Apr 22, 2008

I'd risk Baek clearing waivers if his options are out and keep Corcoran instead. Not really believing Corcoran is great or has any upside, he at least has shown a better ability to limit the home run ball. A huge plus in a bullpen arm.

What I saw of Frank Thomas this year, I didn't like. His bat speed has slowed. When a hitter is trying to sell to the ump a ball thrown down the middle of the plate as a ball inside by jumping back outside the box. It flags you to believe he is done.

I might add, I said the same thing about Sexson. Honestly,what statistics can't explain is that Sexson has shortened up his swing recently, especially on the inside fastball. Still not a believer that Sexson will be consistent in his adjustment, but it's possible he could turn it around. If he starts to tank again after the break, I'd look at Brian LaHair to take his spot. No sense in being loyal to a guy who is a free agent after the year. If we can DFA a community gem like Olerud, we can certainly DFA Sexson if he falters.

Posted by Alex

11:41 AM, Apr 22, 2008

So how about this roster?

C-Johjjma, Burje
1B-Sexson
2B-Lopez, Cairo
3B-Beltre
SS-Betancourt
OF-Ibanez, Ichiro, Wilkerson
DH-Thomas, Vidro
U-Bloomquist

SP-Bedard, Felix, Silva, Washburn, Batista
LRP-Dickey
RRP-Green, Morrow, Lowe
LRP-Rhodes, RRS
CL-Putz

-If Wilkerson keeps struggling then Balentien gets his chance
-If Thomas doesn't figure it out then Clement gets his chance
-Hopefully Norton and Morse clear waivers but if not thats ok with me
-Hopefully Baek and Corcoran clear waivers but if not that is also ok with me

If the M's were willing to deal away alot to get Bedard with a win-now mentality then they should have the best set of guys they can get on the team and that means not holding on to guys like Morse and Baek

Tell me what you think?

Tell me what you think?

Posted by BrianL

11:42 AM, Apr 22, 2008

Eh...Brian LaHair really is a AAAA prospect. I don't see much of a future for him. I'm just hanging on until the off-season when Mark Texiera becomes available. That would be a dream-signing for me.

Now from what I've seen in Sexson, I'm a bit encouraged. His swing looks shorter, which translates into better contact/power. I'm not convinced he will keep it up, but for now he's off my list of players to worry about.

Thomas isn't a hitter built for Safeco. Right-handed flyball hitters are going to have a tough time in Seattle.

Posted by Paul

11:44 AM, Apr 22, 2008

BrainL - I've actually agreed with that idea for a while. I mentioned last week that Reed and Balentien shoudl both come up, and VIdro can go to the bench while Raul goes to DH. DFA Cairo and Wilkerson. Of course, we're still running into the problem of being just average at best at those positions offensively, but at least both give us defensive upgrades that our pitchers will appreciate.

Posted by AMichael

11:56 AM, Apr 22, 2008

You know I really like Burke but the truth is he should be down in Tacoma as an emergency catcher and Clemen should be in the majors catching once or twice a week (maybe more if Kenji doesn't start hitting) and being DH. Vidro to the bench. When Balentein is healthy bench/release Wilkerson as well.

Posted by Walrus

12:08 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Guys,
While I toally agree with those that say Raul should be the DH, that will not fly with M's FO or Mac. Look at the pitching stats. How much better can they get with Reed or Lofton in the OF?
The M's FO, if true to their typical form, only sees the problem with the offense...not defense.
Thus, until the pitching actually starts seeing the effects of the poor defense, we can only hope for an offensive improvement...like Thomas (not good fit for Safeco), or Sosa (worse for Safeco), or Bonds (not gonna happen) or????
The ??? is the problem.

Posted by Ziasudra

12:09 PM, Apr 22, 2008

I thought someone pointed out that Baek had already cleared waivers once, and if DFA'ed again he was lost for good. Anyone know for sure?

Posted by Aaron

12:42 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Hey Geoff, any word about Thomas?

Posted by BrianL

12:45 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Ziasudra

From what I understand, the Mariners can DFA Baek again and have him go through the same process. He wouldn't be "lost for good" but there is a likely chance another team will snatch him off of waivers.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

12:50 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Calling my shot - When Putz comes back Baek gets DFA'd.

No way they send Corcoran down and keep Baek. Dickey can do Baek's job as long man/spot starter.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

12:53 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Brian,

Clement can still learn to Catch at this level while DH'ing 4 games a week and playing C 1-2 more.

I've read Roger Hansen's comments and I don't see how he couldn't learn at this level now and prepare to see MLB pitching one year in advance of getting the full time C job.

Signing Thomas and his ego is in my opinion a bad move.

Posted by BrianL

12:56 PM, Apr 22, 2008

1-2 games a week isn't enough to develop a catcher, period.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

12:56 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Brett, we can't cut Cairo for a P. Either Baek goes or Corcoran goes when Putz comes up. They could send Dickey down but they risk that this time, somebody grabs him.

I think Dickey = Baek but with slight upside. Baek should be gone when JJ comes back. I've been impressed with Corcoran's calm pitching demeanor. The guy is a little bulldog out there. I am willing to bet the league will figure him out soon, but then again his pitches do have some interesting movement on them since he doesn't throw very hard.

Right now, Corcoran can help this team more than Baek. I hope the team gets this.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

12:59 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Brian,

I disagree as it looks like Clement has learned all he can at AAA.

His all-around game is solid. Now it's time for him to see MLB pitching. It will not derail his game whatsoever. He will still learn as Hansen will most likely be up here working with him.

Posted by Mike

1:01 PM, Apr 22, 2008

"While I toally agree with those that say Raul should be the DH, that will not fly with M's FO or Mac. Look at the pitching stats. How much better can they get with Reed or Lofton in the OF?
The M's FO, if true to their typical form, only sees the problem with the offense...not defense."

Yeah...imagine how much better our pitching would be if we weren't 11th in the AL in turning batted balls into outs.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

1:02 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Sorry but I cannot accept sending Norton away for Thomas. Norton, while not a stud, is a good off the bench hitting option. His career numbers back me up on that. Cairo should go, Clement comes up.

Baek goes, JJ activated.

When Bedard is back, either

Posted by BrianL

1:13 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Beady Eye Guy -

Clement has serious issues blocking the ball and throwing the ball right now, issues that can be ironed out with regular repetition and practice in Tacoma. If he can get his footwork under him he'll be a fine catcher.

However, he needs to be playing catcher every day to do this. If the ML club isn't going to give him the chance to catch every day, then he needs to be working on this in Tacoma.

Posted by Lance

1:20 PM, Apr 22, 2008

"Throw a healthy Bedard in that mix? You can see the possibilities." --- Geoff

A healthy Bedard? Isn't that an oxymoron?

I disagree with Geoff's stating RRS is the sitchy-lefty. I think McLaren is using Arthur for that "role". But, he's not really good for more than a hitter or two, so better keep Ryan around.

Send down Corcoran? Thanks right, send down the guy doing a good job and keep the fireballers who hardly look ready for prime time. Morroow is still mixed up. It's so obvious.

And, I'm still waiting for Silva to suck, like Adam says he does. Unless this is his sucking. Funny. I always thought sucking had a negative connotation. He looks good to me.

Posted by BrianL

1:25 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Lance

Keep in mind that you're viewing Silva with a pretty small sample size. Silva is a great mid rotation starter, but not 12 million a season good. You give that money to frontline guys like Felix or Bedard.

Had the Mariners given Silva something more reasonable (6-7 mil a year perhaps) I would have called the signing a great move. However with the money he's making, I'd call it overpaying for a decent pitcher.

Posted by jujay

1:31 PM, Apr 22, 2008

I dont care if we are overpaying him, we havent been able to sign any other guys cause no one wants to come to seattle, so we have to overpay. we did what we had to and Im happy with silva

Posted by Adam

1:32 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Lance - Silva does not suck. He's just not as good as everyone thinks he is right now.


Again, he's actually pitching a little bit worse than he did last year, yet his ERA is almost a run and a half lower. That's not going to continue.

Posted by Lance

1:35 PM, Apr 22, 2008

"Clement has serious issues blocking the ball and throwing the ball right now, issues that can be ironed out with regular repetition and practice in Tacoma. If he can get his footwork under him he'll be a fine catcher. However, he needs to be playing catcher every day..." --- BrianL

Weighing in on Clement, do you know how long we've heard that mantra on Clement? This is the third year. And, in that time what kind of improvement has he shown? Not much if one is looking with objective eyes.

Clement would make an excellent DH/firstbaseman/3rd string backup catcher for this team. Especially next year once Sexson is gone.

But, if he was going to be another Jason Varitek I think we'd have seen more progress by now. Unfortunately, it's just not happening. While his useful bat is languishing in Tacoma.

Posted by Lance

1:46 PM, Apr 22, 2008

"Again, he's actually pitching a little bit worse than he did last year," --- Adam

You're kidding. Adam, Here's a Silva stat I'd be curious to know. Double-plays per nine innings last year, this year and career. That shouldn't be too tough for your buddies at Elias. I think a stat like that would offset any of the other ones used against Carlos that you hold so dear.

Posted by Stat Prof

1:52 PM, Apr 22, 2008

I don't see why we hold on to Baek. Is Bavasi trying to cook up a trade with him for a position player or something. His performances in relief show that he isn't suited for that role, and he didn't show much as a spot starter either. He isn't somebody to worry about losing. To me he seems to be a living example of a replacement level pitcher.

As for Cairo. Why is he here?

Posted by BrianL

1:54 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Lance I disagree with your assertion that Clement would make an excellent DH/1B.

First of all, Clement's never played a lick of 1B. He'd have to spend a season or two getting the footwork down before he could even be considered a decent 1B.

Second, his bat would translate into an average to slightly-above-average 1B/DH.

His bat may be good, but his value is as a catcher. You don't convert catching prospects like Clement to 1B/DH. Let him get one more season behind the dish under his belt then bring him up.

Posted by Big Ebu

2:24 PM, Apr 22, 2008

I agree with BrianL that Clement’s value to the Mariners is as a catcher, not a DH/1B. Converting him to a DH/1B is essentially making lemonade out of a lemon (not to say that Clement is a “bad” player, just that the decision to draft him with the 3rd pick in the 2005 draft is “bad”). Remember in 2005 we passed on Troy Tulowitski, Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury to get Clement because we needed a catcher. To give up after 3 years is a sad commentary on our ability to draft players.

You do not burn a top 5 pick on a DH. But then you also shouldn’t burn a 1st round pick on a setup man either.

Posted by Brad

2:49 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Barry Bonds!

Posted by rickyab

4:17 PM, Apr 22, 2008

I could not agree with Ebu more. You don't waste a top-5 pick on a DH or a setup man. However, if you think that it is not hurting Morrow or Clement's long term value to let them be a set-up man and DH right now then you do it because they are clearly better than whatever else you have. I don't mind the Clement DH idea as long as he sees some time at catcher and ends up there next, just as I hope Morrow finds himself in the rotation next year. Let's just hope the M's know what they are doing and don't ruin the biggest upside of these guys careers, which is SP and C.

How sick would the potential rotation of Felix, Bedard, Fat Silva, and Morrow be for the next several years once they get Bedard signed.

And also would it kill anyone to see Kenji leave next year. He has been a decent catcher, but it's not like we lose that much there if we think Clement is ready and Johson can back-up.

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