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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 25, 2008 9:58 AM

Waiting game

Posted by Geoff Baker

Whew! Is it my imagination, or are the days getting longer and the nights shorter? Seemed like a very long day yesterday that got even longer after the ballgame began. No writer likes to see a massive lead change like that while trying to write newspaper stories on deadline and keep a blog updated. Crazy stuff.

Reading through your comments this morning, a few things jumped out at me. I think it was Stevo in Oregon who wrote that the M's would not have what it takes to come back from a 5-0 deficit. As much as the M's would love to argue that point, so far, they can't. Stevo is statistically right. In fact, when Ichiro homered to tie the game 7-7, it marked the second time all year the M's have come back from a two-run deficit. Not that they won the game or anything. So far, in games the M's trail by two or more runs at any point, they are 0-8.

That underscores just how inconsistent the offense has been. Seattle did everything right offensively last night -- for one inning. The third inning was a complete package of everything the M's have preached since spring training: two-strike hitting, a hit-and-run, sacrifice flies, taking extra bases and even a double-steal. And then nothing. Take out the shaky, erratic starting pitcher, who may have been hurt, and the M's went back to being the same offensive club we've seen. I don't care if they scored seven runs. They were outscored 8-2 after Adam Loewen was pulled. This is why that whole Pythagorean thing gets to me sometimes. Not all seven-run games are created equal. The M's had one big inning, then went to sleep until they were trailing 7-5. Let themselves be outhit 12-5 before the bottom of the seventh. That is not a strong offensive showing. That's jumping all over a bad-looking pitcher for one inning. Big difference. On paper, the M's will look OK in the runs scored department because of last night's outburst and a few more like it. In reality, they tend to bunch up a couple of big scoring games, then go on prolonged droughts. They had scored four runs or less in six of the last seven games heading into last night.

I'm not as worried about the bullpen as some of you are. The Mariners got squeezed badly in the seventh inning. Arthur Rhodes could not adjust to the strike zone, whatever it was, and paid for it. Happens. This bullpen has plenty of live arms and a good bit of depth. If Mark Lowe (who is coming off elbow surgery, remember?) can't figure things out, there are more guys who can step in until he does. If none of them figure it out and the bridge to J.J. Putz continues to be a problem, you can always put Miguel Batista in the bullpen come mid-season.

Actually, I'm looking forward to Batista's start tonight. Let's see if that new "discovery'' of his from his last outing really has allowed him to become a seven-inning pitcher at age 37. If so, it will transform this rotation in ways no one imagined. But we'll have to wait a few weeks to know for sure.

That's the theme of today's post: the Waiting Game.

It's not easy. In fact, it's the source of angst for many of you reading this. The gut instinct when things go wrong is to pinpoint a source and try to make a correction. Many of you have pointed out what the Toronto Blue Jays did with Frank Thomas, cutting him loose and eating $7 million in salary this season. I can tell you, though, had his vesting option for 2009 been something like $4 million once he reached 600 ABs (instead of $10 million at less than 400) then Thomas would still be with the Jays.

Don't kid yourselves. That was a money move. With more time and less money at stake, the Jays would have been willing to wait Thomas out to see whether he'd truly "lost it.''

But you can't go on waiting forever. I guess, the trick is figuring out when to go Kenny Rogers and know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em.

There is no precise formula. No exact date.

I can give you some ideas that I have on this. In my book, a team can afford to wait on wholesale changes as long as it is still within reasonable striking distance of the clubs it hopes to beat out in a given year. The M's being three back of the A's and Angels with more than five months to go certainly qualifies. Now, if Seattle goes out and gets swept this weekend, things become a lot more dire. Being six games out at any time is cause for concern. By mid-September, as one of you jokingly wrote this morning in a mock post attributed to yours truly, the season would be over.

It would not be over by April 27, but it would be another sweep or two from becoming almost unworkable. The M's almost did catch the Angels for a point last year despite being eight games out. But that was an unusual combination of a big Seattle streak and an awful Angels stretch helped immensely by them waiting a long time for Ervin Santana to come around. It's not something you can count on.

Six games or less seems pretty workable to me as a gap this early in the year. Not etched in stone, but workable. This team went out and spent seven figures on Brad Wilkerson expecting a certain return on the investment. As with any mutual fund, you can't just wait 2 1/2 weeks to see if that return pans out. Especially when the guy is now hurt. Wilkerson has to come back, be given the chance to show if he can produce the numbers expected by the team and then be dealt with from there.

I don't care who the guy is. Two and a half weeks from the start of the year is not enough time to make a call on an everyday player. Jose Vidro has had 3 1/2 weeks and has not looked good, but then he goes and hits that rocket over the head of Adam Jones last night. Sign of things to come? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Point is, none of us knows.

I've been writing all along that mid-May would be my cutoff point. I think 1 1/2 months into a six-month season is enough time to make a call. The M's might carry it through May, giving some guys a third of a season to produce. As long as the team is still within reasonable striking distance -- reasonable being the key word here -- that type of wait is doable. Gives Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien the chance to fully get into their seasons as well. Clement appears to be ahead of schedule. Perhaps this allows the team to move up the timetable. For me, going into June with three severely struggling hitters is too long. Not when you have potential replacements.

But there are also no guarantees the replacements will be much better. No matter what we think, or project. And once you replace a guy, that's it. It's tough to go back to that well. So, the way I see it, being less than a month into the season, with a three-game gap between the M's and the division leaders, is too early to make a definitive call. If the team was going to be that antsy, it should not have started the year with the aforementioned hitters. But it did. It had that much confidence. Before pulling the plug, the team must justify the newfound lack of confidence to itself. And it does that with a sample size greater than a few series.

But the team also must not delude itself. The team's management must have the courage to admit a mistake. To know within its mind when the true drop-dead date is and stick to it. As I've mentioned, it's not an exact science. But for the Mariners, it could become an important science nonetheless.

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Posted by Idaho Invader

10:17 AM, Apr 25, 2008

How many more confidence shattering/game screwing over Mark Lowe appearances do the M's need to see before they let him sort out his command "issues" in Tacoma?

Maybe they can get him on the Baek regiment of never pitching...sigh

Posted by Get Griffey

10:20 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Nice post Geoff.

I just hope we don't wait too long past the drop dead mark before any needed changes are made.

Posted by Get Griffey

10:23 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Did I forget to mention....

FREE R.A.D.!!!!!

Posted by KirklandDawg

10:24 AM, Apr 25, 2008

On a side note........does anybody know what happened to Bret Boone's comeback ? Looking at the minor league stats, he's been idle recently.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

10:29 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Why does Rhodes get the free pass? I haven't seen any of the Seattle writers criticize his performance (oh yeah it was the umpire....;please!) . Rhodes was done 5 years ago. Why is he on this team.

Posted by Mike

10:34 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Rhodes is on the team because we traded Sherrill, EOF needed work and the FO prefers veterans, even washed-up veterans to young players.

Posted by Mike

10:39 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Kirkland---Please don't mention Boonie. The front office might hear you and as a proven veteran might be too tempting for the Ms to pass up in case Lopez continues to post a sub .700 OPS.

Posted by Adam

10:43 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Jose Vidro has had 3 1/2 weeks and has not looked good, but then he goes and hits that rocket over the head of Adam Jones last night. Sign of things to come? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Point is, none of us knows.

One AB shouldn't create any doubt about the kind of hitter Vidro is. I actually cringed a little bit when Vidro hit that ball, because I am certain McLaren will point to it as justification for keeping Vidro in the lineup, hitting 5, for another month or so. Until Vidro's next big hit, at least, which might actually take another month.


But there are also no guarantees the replacements will be much better.

Come on, Geoff. That's a horrible cop-out. Teams replace fading veterans with young players all the time. It's not as risky as you make it sound.


I can give you some ideas that I have on this. In my book, a team can afford to wait on wholesale changes as long as it is still within reasonable striking distance of the clubs it hopes to beat out in a given year.

Each game is important, no matter how close you are in the standings. Good teams make changes based on performance, not wins and losses. It would be delusional to keep Vidro and Wilkerson in the lineup just because the team is only three games out. That's really bad strategy.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:45 AM, Apr 25, 2008

So, for the record:

Mid-May + More than 4 games out = panic.
June + 3 hitters at sub-700 OPS = panic.
Anything else = getting into season, no panic.

Gotcha.

Now, who's going to go sit in the right field seats the day that Griffey hits #600, with a large banner reading "Congrats on 600, Junior - come home soon"? I've been sorely tempted. Even though I'd rather see Wlad and Jeff before Junior.

Posted by Grandson

10:45 AM, Apr 25, 2008

THIS IS YESHIVA. i am an banning all connies.`

Posted by AKMarinersFan

10:48 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Jose Vidro has had 3 1/2 weeks and has not looked good, but then he goes and hits that rocket over the head of Adam Jones last night. Sign of things to come? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Point is, none of us knows.

Geoff what you failed to mention is that Adam Jones was playing womens...uhhh....girls softball depth on Vidro. So that "rocket" would have been a routine pop up for a real major league hitter.

Have you notice how shallow all teams are playing Vidro this year? Ever think that may have something to do with his lower batting average. He is not getting the bloop singles that he was last year.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:49 AM, Apr 25, 2008

IdahoInv - My thoery is because they only want one project down in AAA at a time, and EOF is already there for the reasons you describe. They need some reserve of good people in the minors in case of injury. If all they have to call up in case of injury is people with command / confidence issues, it will just blow up even worse.

So, better to have a hit-or-miss Lowe up here than not. Even though the logical thing to do is swap RAD for Lowe, at this point.

Posted by Donovan

10:49 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff - an interesting research project (which I'm too lazy to do on my own time) would be to look at the pattern of position player roster moves made by playoff teams in the last 10 years - if there is one. People on this blog have called for the demotion, trade, or release of every single player who has appeared in a Mariner jersey over the last 12 months (possibly excluding Felix, but including Ichiro, Beltre, and everybody else). That also goes for every M's coach (maybe Stottlemyre has a pass so far) and even the TV and radio announcers (inlcuding HoF'er Niehaus). Obviously putting us in charge would be chaos. I'm curious if there is anything you can learn from championship teams about when and how often you can make major roster moves that result in replacement of a starter without destabilizing the team. Maybe there is no pattern, but it would be interesting to see. I'm talking every day players, not bullpen moves or reserves. You'd also have to factor out moves made due to injury. Every team is forced to adjust their lineup due to injury sometime during the season, but that is beyond their control. You have a crack staff at your disposal who can run these numbers don't you? :).

My sense is that there have been relatively few teams that have significant remodeled themselves during the season, then gone on to make the playoffs. I'm sure there have been cases of key individuals replaced via trade or promotion, but I'm thinking they are far more rare than cases where somebody steps in as an emergency replacement due to injury and sparks a team to success. I also doubt there are many precedents for teams that sack 2 or 3 starters during the season, then go on to win anything significant, but maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I'd like to know.

I'm quite certain that many of the demands of fans here (and probably everywhere else) for the FO to "Do Something!" during the season are unrealistic. I'm curious just how unrealistic, based on precedent.

Posted by macdoubter

10:52 AM, Apr 25, 2008

But there are also no guarantees the replacements will be much better. No matter what we think, or project. And once you replace a guy, that's it. It's tough to go back to that well.

You're right, there are no guarantees. So the choice is between sticking with well-known hitters who have shown over a large sample size that they either cannot hit or are continuing on a downhill slide, or taking a chance with a hitter who offers a glimmer of hope because he has shown over a large sample size that he can hit, albeit in the minor league, which may translate into the big show. I think the argument goes beyond the risk of guarantee-no guarantee, because we've had enough of the hitters already that we would like to replace.

So, the way I see it, being less than a month into the season, with a three-game gap between the M's and the division leaders, is too early to make a definitive call. If the team was going to be that antsy, it should not have started the year with the aforementioned hitters. But it did. It had that much confidence. Before pulling the plug, the team must justify the newfound lack of confidence to itself. And it does that with a sample size greater than a few series.

I agree with the thought in principle. But I don't think fans are so much outraged that a team doesn't reverse course after 2 1/2 weeks, but rather that, as you point out, this team "had that much confidence" of putting together this lineup as it did and somehow expecting it to produce. It was a lousy product before the season started, and it's a lousy product today, put together with some hitters who have been lousy not just these past 2 1/2 weeks but for several seasons. To argue back and forth while focussing on this lineup within only a 2 1/2-week window indeed strengthens your argument and the argument of others who are surprised at those who appear to be too quick to overreact. But this isn't a new lineup, and it's the same ol' story of either the same ol' tired hitters or the continued mishandling of the team. In that perspective, this is not just a 2 1/2 week gripe.

Posted by Fan?

11:02 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I will be the spoiler....

The M's playing like they are will not make the playoffs. All of the bickering in the world will not dispell that fact.

The vapid offense will work out of the current slump in just enough time for the Angels to claim the West again.

Ptiching is good, as long as the starter can go eight innings.

Rhodes little tirade last night was dumb. That is what we consider veteran leadership? Felix is calmer, when getting squeezed, than that clown.

I will be at the game tonight. I imagine it will be like watching old people get shoved down the stairs.

Go Mariners........

Posted by macdoubter

11:07 AM, Apr 25, 2008


Good teams make changes based on performance, not wins and losses. It would be delusional to keep Vidro and Wilkerson in the lineup just because the team is only three games out. That's really bad strategy.

Well said, Adam, exactly. Sad part is, based on how long they've continued to keep Suckson in the lineup, we may not have even begun to get started with Wilkerson. Ughhh.

Posted by dc

11:14 AM, Apr 25, 2008

I don't feel the M's would ever eat a ton of salary in order to cut an underperforming player. Year after year after year we've endured having to watch struggling players 'work it out' on the field because they must be 'given a chance'. I don't feel the M's will ever subscribe to any 'sunk cost' argument. Hence, I really doubt they'll bring up Clement or will deal seriously with the likes of Wilkerson and Vidro.

Yes, Vidro has showed a couple of flashes of light in the last couple of games. However, the ugliest swing in the history of baseball that he showed the other night scares me to death. If Vidro was going 1 for 3 or 2 for 4 for a few days in a row I would be less concerned. I just feel he's gone to the hitters graveyard and the only thing we'll ever see out of him would be a Michael Jacksonesque 'Thriller' dance. By the time we figure it out it will be too late.

I'm concerned that we're going to be 5+ out once we return from Boston and New York next week. This lineup cannot win those series. The pitching? I'm not worried at all. Our staff (even in light of last nights stumble) is doing great and is amongst the team leaders. It's the hitting that will bring us home from that road trip worse than where we are now.

I'm happy with the players we have except the hitters in RF, Catcher and DH. I wish I could say the M's would deal decisively with those positions right away (akin to the Blue Jays actions this week) but I've never seen them make moves like that in the past so why should we expect any differently now? Granted, the Jays had the salary issue with FT, but it's the gutsiness and swiftness they showed that I would love to see materialize here.

I'm not jumping off the bandwagon and I'm not going to go kill myself. I'm just watching this team flounder at the plate and based upon past history I don't believe the M's will move quickly enough to keep us in contention. I'm no expert but I just don't understand why a guy like Clement is not brought up right away. I do understand why there's no specific Griffey rumors because the Reds want him to reach 600 homers before he departs. I'm not saying Griffey's the answer, I would just love to know the M's are doing what they can to address the issue.

The front office seems stunned with a deer in the headlights look on their face. I don't get it and it gets old after a while.

Posted by tallahassee-mariner's fan

11:14 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"This team went out and spent seven figures on Brad Wilkerson expecting a certain return on the investment. As with any mutual fund, you can't just wait 2 1/2 weeks to see if that return pans out."

The distinction I would make is that they only spent money on Wilkerson, and not a lot of money at that. Baseball teams spend lots of money, some of it pans out and some of it doesn't, so I don't even see how that should be relevant. Its pretty clear the guy is not going to cut it in the majors, so why pay in L's in addition to $'s?

"If the team was going to be that antsy, it should not have started the year with the aforementioned hitters. But it did. It had that much confidence."

Confidence? I think the word you were looking for was "incompetence". Easy mistake to make, the two words sound pretty similar.

Posted by Brian

11:20 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff,

I really enjoy your blog. Some of best work on the internet.

I especially enjoy the videos of your road trips.

Keep up the good work !

Brian

Posted by Mike

11:22 AM, Apr 25, 2008

So, sitting here quietly bemoaning that the Ms don't appropriately value defense I looked up the Ms rate of turning balls in play into outs (DER). We are currently 10th in the AL which might indicate that our pitching couldbe even better than it looks.

Think having bad defense doesn't matter? Remember back in 2003 when we had 3 centerfielders in the OF at the same time and JOhn Olerud at first? We led the league in DER , turning .726 of balls in play to outs. Last year our DER was .678. On 4,439 balls in play we gave up 1,431 hits. Had we converted the 2003 percentage we would have given up 1,216 hits. 215 hits over the course of a season is huge. Someone smarter than me can tell us how many runs that is but my guess is well over 100.

That's about the same difference as 3 Erik Bedards vs 3 Jarrod Washburns.

The demise of the Ms DER is as follows.

2001 .735 leads ML
2002 .711
2003 .726 leads ML
2004 .708
2005 .707
2006 .698
2007 .678
2008 .691

For those of you who think defensive stats are akin to numerology, feel free to ignore this post.

Posted by M's Fan in CO Exile

11:24 AM, Apr 25, 2008

Good post, Geoff. I agree with most everything you said in the third to last paragraph. Mid-May is definitely the cut-off for some of these guys. But we've got no depth internally to do what we want to do, at least not that will be ready in May.

I think we should give Wlad more time than that to get his game together if his numbers still look wonky and to be sure he's healthy. I'd still be in favor of finding one outfielder option outside the organization. Come the all-star break, we'll know whether Wlad is ready.

I am also willing to be more patient with Kenji past May. He's a decent defensive catcher and, in my book, you only bring Clement in as a catching option. In no case is he your DH answer. So, if the team plays 5 games in a given week, and Clement gets 2 starts and Kenji gets 3 at some point mid-season, I'd be ok with that so long as Clement is ready, and Kenji is still struggling.

Kenji has not clearly demonstrated that his skills are deteriorating, though, so you don't do that Mid-may. Vidro outperformed his skillset last year and unfortunately still didn't bring much to the table as a DH when he was playing at his best last year. Dropping him the bench in May is simply an upgrade that is overdue. As I have said, internallly, the team did a poor job of creating outfield depth, and so there's no way this team replaces 2 spots outside the organiation at once in May.

My solution for the M's, that also might be something they'd do (read: not my ideal solution)? -

Mid-may -
- Drop Vidro to the bench, move Ibanez to DH.
-Find an outfielder (Lofton?) who won't destroy you on either side of the ball, but plugs the gap.

Assuming things still stay as they are with other underperformers at the all star break:

-If ready, promote Wlad to play RF.
-If Kenji is still struggling, promote Clement to split time with Kenji (at least 2, maybe 3 starts per week). Rarely, Clement gets in as DH with Ibanez in LF and Lofton in RF.
-Pray.

The bottom line is that the team just doesn't have the internal depth ready (or the gumption to cover holes with decent acquisitions/trades from the outside) to fix all the problems mid-may. Wlad and Clement need at least half a season to be options this year.

Posted by scottM

11:57 AM, Apr 25, 2008

GEOFF, thanks for addressing your thoughts on bringing up Clement and Balentien. However, the mutual fund analogy is weak, because baseball players are, too often, as your argument points out, all-or-nothing propositions. You can lose 25% on a mutual fund and still retain 75% of your investment. When a player's OPS goes from 720 down to 540 (25%), that position in the batting order needs to be fully replaced. The difference between a Balentien and a Wilkerson will not be precipitous, but, at the rate Wilkerson is plodding along, it could be the difference in a few games in the win column. It also builds toward the future. Bottom line, I just wish we'd seen more hints from Wilkerson to be hopeful. Vidro, at least, has shown his clutch ability a few times.

From Dick: The offense needs to be more exciting. Has anyone noticed the attendance figures for the year.

Yes, the offense is too lackluster, but there have been plenty of exciting games. The wintery conditions this spring explains the low attendance. Too cold to sit and watch baseball at Safeco.

Posted by Geoff

11:59 AM, Apr 25, 2008

How do the A's constantly replace players--especially on offense while the M's barely do anything---other than sign other teams FA. Betancourt aside--the farm system just isn't producing enough O talent--at least that the M's are willing to bring up. I know it's early--but this offense looks pathetic. Vidro will come around I think--but still not what we need from the DH. Sexson has had some good AB this year--but he looks good in one particular game--and then awful once again in the next game. Wilkerson--havn't seen much--Jojima just doesn't look the same. We've got Lopez, Beltre & Ibanez going right now. Bentancourt from time to time and Ichiro is even batting under 300. Boy are the O's looking (right now) like they got the better end of the trade. Jones and Sherrill just killed us last night and 1-6 against Baltimore? Ouch! Good times. Our bullpen looks awful right now. Thank God Morrow and JJ are back. I'm not throwing in the towl by any means--I'm just not seeing it from the offense at all. Not exciting whatsoever!

Posted by macdoubter

12:10 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Who's gonna be surprised if Frank Thomas hits a couple of HRs against the M's this weekend? And probably one of them will be off of Rhodes.

Posted by Cranky J

12:11 PM, Apr 25, 2008

To quote Skp from 'Bull Durham':

- "You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you?"

- "Lollygaggers!"

- "Lollygagers."

Posted by scottM

12:14 PM, Apr 25, 2008

lackluster lolligaggers

Posted by Gigharbor Dad

12:17 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Geoff,
Thanks for the constant and continued well thought out and reasoned posts. Being a fan is a funny thing. You hate more than anything watching your team lose. Last night was PAINFUL. For some reason, when Baltimore scored that third run I could just see it coming... Oh well, it's still only one game. Hopefully we will are done with the O's for awhile. Looks like they are the team that's got just our number this year.

The losses make many of us want to react the way you do in on-line fantasy baseball and play mad scientist. Logic tells us that these are real people we are dealing with and as much as we wish it to be true there are no guarantees of performance just because of change.

Posted by ANDY R

12:21 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Is it just me, or is McClaren completely mismanaging this bullpen? I can recall a number of times this year when i have questioned moves regarding the bullpen (recently the last 2 games). Why does our head coach put so much emphasis on lefty-lefty or righty-righty matchups? If a pitcher is throwing strikes and getting outs, LEAVE HIM IN! Right? Isn't the idea to get outs using the least amount of bullpen pitchers? Last night Corcoran was throwing nothing but strikes and getting ground balls. I was floored when Rhodes came out to start the 7th. Corcoran could have given us at least 3 innings (We have all heard about his rubber arm) and then pass it to JJ in the 9th. McClaren is so caught up in matchups and numbers, he has already made up his mind which pitchers will throw to which batters before the inning has even started.

Posted by macdoubter

12:21 PM, Apr 25, 2008


Don't kid yourselves. That was a money move. [Toronto releasing Frank Thomas] With more time and less money at stake, the Jays would have been willing to wait Thomas out to see whether he'd truly "lost it.''

Geoff, is that what the M's have with Richie Suckson--more time and less money to waste to see whether he's truly lost it?

Posted by ANDY R

12:22 PM, Apr 25, 2008

AND DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON BRINGING IN LOWE WITH THE BASES LOADED AND NO ONE OUT. MCCLAREN IS KILLING ME. I want to root for the guy but come on.

Posted by macdoubter

12:25 PM, Apr 25, 2008

You're absolutely right, Gigharbor Dad, we are dealing with real people and not fantasy. For instance, Richie Sexson--he is a real person, and he's a real player, who really sucks and has really sucked for a long time.

Posted by Pete

12:27 PM, Apr 25, 2008

The offense just isn't very good. It was never going to be any good.

Is there anything more to say on this subject?

Barring a major trade, this is what we will see all year.

Posted by Pete

12:32 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Is there a weaker 5-7 section of the line-up on any team in baseball? Vidro-Sexson-Wilkerson is just awful. (I'm giving Kenji the benefit of the doubt -- he's been consistent for two years). I can't think of a worse section of hitters -- and none of them can run either.

I would love to look it up, but I won't waste my time. I really doubt there is. And if so, it can't be more than a handful.

Posted by Beniitec

12:35 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I waited all season last season for the M's to improve the team...maybe in September... Well there's always 2008 we said. Now what? Same, old, same old. The offense is the problem. Everyone here agrees. It's just April isn't good enough anymore. One month into the season is a lot of time to know your team. We know the bullpen will iron out the wrinkles, we have enough depth there. Lowe will get going again. R.A. Dickey, etc. The consensus is the same, improve the defense by improving the outfield and first base. Improve the offense by infusing some youth. I love Richie Sexon as a player, he's a hometown player, but this is a business. And this ship is starting to sink...again. For Wilkerson, well he may need until mid May. But we know our 1B, RF and DH dillema. We need some better hitters. Even our catcher's offense is greatly lacking. We need change. Now. Today. Not in a month.

More than any statistics, we should all be reading the body language on the team. The team does not exude confidence. Once they are behind, they know they are going to lose. Let's be honest. The Orioles have beat us in so many close games that we should have won. We need to try some new things as the same old things are not going to work given enough time. When you add a spark with youth, you ignite the team. All the veterans wake up... That's what this team needs. Or the pitchers are going to begin to give up on the season.

Posted by Choska

12:36 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Nothing will change until Bavasi is gone.

The rest of these arguments about Rhodes, Lowe, and Sexson are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Mariners have been mismanaged for years. YEARS. Not just 2 1/2 weeks. That Geoff and the other writers in Seattle mainstream media can't bring themselves to acknowledge that fact, and to call for significant changes in the Mariners front office, is a mystery.

muster up the courage to call for Bavasi's head is as damning

Posted by Jeff C

12:37 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I don't know why anyone would be disappointed at this point in the season with the .500 ball. That's where I thought they'd finish and it's where they are - they've met my expectations. No disappointment here.

I notice Geoff in your last blog entry you're starting to get defensive about the Jones - Bedard thing and who got the best of it (it really should be Jones/Tillman/Sherrill/etc/etc - Bedard) but really, I recall when the protrade crowd on this blog accused the antitrade crowd of wanting the M's to lose and Bedard to fail...I hope I'm not seeing the reverse of this admonition happening with the protraders...including yourself, Geoff.

Posted by Matt

1:06 PM, Apr 25, 2008

The Mariners offense is not "inconsistent"...it is perfectly consistent...consistently below average.

Being unable to win a game when trailing by two runs at any point is not a consistency problem. Only being able to put together one decent inning a game is not a consistency problem. Have four players in the line up hitting with the power of Duane Kuiper is not a consistency problem.

The Mariners offense doesn't need to worry about being consistent...they're already doing that. They need to worry about being good, and they are far from it.

Posted by John

1:09 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I saw this on www.mlbtraderumors.com. Is this true?

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners will give catcher Kenji Johjima a three-year extension. That'd keep him with the team through 2011, his age 35 season. He's in the last year of a three-year, $16.5MM deal; the new contract is probably similar.

Posted by arthur

1:24 PM, Apr 25, 2008

John McLaren is a complete buffoon. You could see it last year. I had hopes he learned something. Then when I saw him bring in EOF two nights in a row in the first series of the season, iwht other relievers (RRS) out there who hadn't pitched at all, I knew he had learned nothing. he doesn not know how to use a bullpen or a bench. Cairo is a complete waste. How pathetic is it that Willie is in RF two nights in a row? Greg Norton sits. And Vidro fifth? There is not another manager in the majors that would bat him there EVER, much less ofr an extended period of time. I'm not ready to throw in the tow but AK is right -- the only reason Vidro's "double" dropped in is because Jones was playing too shallow -- any other time, any other CFer, the ball's caught. But worst of all, this team looks totally dead on its feat, totally uninspired. Someone needs to come in kick hiney, take names and make changes NOW!!!

Posted by msb

1:33 PM, Apr 25, 2008

"I don't feel the M's would ever eat a ton of salary in order to cut an underperforming player."

Boone, Olerud, Spiezio and Aurilia say 'Hi'

Posted by JJ

1:35 PM, Apr 25, 2008

Choska hit it right on the head. The Seattle media wants to spin this team as a 2 1/2 week problem, instead of acknowledging that this has been the same mismanaged team for the past 5 years.

Posted by greyguy3@hotmail.com

4:36 PM, Apr 25, 2008

I don't like giving up on "struggling" hitters, but I definitely believe in giving up on bad hitter. Sexson hasn't been sucking for 2.5 weeks, he also sucked all of last year. I would think that's a statistically significant indicator of his current skill.

Vidro? I dunno. You would expect some decline in skill due to him being 34, but not this much. On the other hand, the guy is just not a good enough hitter to be a DH, so why would you hesitate to yank him in favor of someone who MIGHT be a good enough hitter to be a DH, if you can find such a person?

Posted by greyguy3

9:38 PM, Apr 25, 2008

"So far, in games the M's trail by two or more runs at any point, they are 0-8."

"That underscores just how inconsistent the offense has been. Seattle did everything right offensively last night -- for one inning. "

What's inconsistent about that? 0-8 is as consistent as it's possible to be. It's not like they score 19 one day and get shut out the next. Inconsistency isn't their problem, crappiness is their problem. Maybe they need to get over their love affair with aging veterans with bad knees who can't feild a position.

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