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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 29, 2008 9:33 PM

Better late than never for M's

Posted by Geoff Baker

indians0429 018.jpg

Back from the clubhouse and, let me tell you, I don't think tonight's 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians has staved off any coming changes for very long. For Hughdawg in the comments thread, the reason I'm not preaching patience after tonight is I just watched a team nearly blow a second straight game in which a starting pitcher was fantastic. Carlos Silva threw a "quality start" of seven-plus innings, allowing just two runs. You cannot lose games like those. This entire team is predicated around getting exactly those types of outings. If the offense is going to be so bad that you start losing those games, the season goes out the window. If this was a one-time occurrence, I'd chalk it up to a bad night. But this was the second game in a row that it's happened. Felix Hernandez threw seven shutout innings on Sunday, but gave up some runs in the eighth and lost.

This team cannot keep going into the ninth inning with only two runs scored. One of the two tonight was the result of a Cleveland error. Yes, that last inning was good to see if you're an M's fan. But it's the 17 innings prior to that one that were bothering me.

Carlos Silva was a real pro afterwards, considering he'd just seen the offense wait until the ninth before scoring five runs. The big blow came courtesy of a three-run homer that inning by Adrian Beltre, pictured above being congratulated by temmates on his way back to the dugout. Silva pitched well, but gets a no decision despite allowing two runs in yet another seven-inning start. The pitching has been there.

"The only thing that matters here is not the winning pitcher,'' he said, diplomatically. "It's getting the 'W'. You watched the last game against the A's, nobody can pitch better than Felix did and we lost. What I do is try to keep the score as low as I can and give the offense a chance to win the game.''

Yeah, but it's getting to the point where unless the pitchers spoonfeed the offense seven or eight strong innings, the team has zero chance. Can't happen. A team getting this many seven-inning outings from starters should be winning 70 or 80 percent of the time. Not less than 50 percent. The bullpen appears to be slowly finding it's way. But the hitting can't drag on much longer.

After talking to Bill Bavasi and John McLaren after the game, I feel stronger than ever that changes are inevitable. I asked Bavasi about Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement being held out of the Class AAA Tacoma lineup tonight. He assured me both were completely healthy with no problems. But he declined to say whether they'll be on a flight here from Tacoma tomorrow. Leads me to believe it's going to happen very soon.


I asked McLaren, during an upbeat post-game news conference, whether he really felt all that much better about the offense, given the two lone runs before the ninth. That's when his tone -- and the mood of the conference -- changed.

McLaren kept dropping the same word -- impatient -- over and over again, as if bracing the media for what is to come.

"I'm not singling anybody out,'' McLaren said. "I'm just saying we need to pick it up. Because we've got some guys struggling, and like I said, we've given them a month and there are options. We know that there are options and we're not afraid to go to those options if we have to. I hate to say that after a good game, but I've got to be honest with you.''

That's honesty. I doubt this game really changed the future all that much.

I saw little tonight that's going to change my mind long-term about this team's offensive woes. Let's see how Jose Vidro and Brad Wilkerson do tomorrow. Kenji Johjima is still in an awful rut and -- last I checked -- Jeff Clement is a catcher. Richie Sexson was having a brutal night until that double in the ninth. Lots of holes still present in the lineup, all in a row too.

So, a little bit of encouragement from Vidro and Wilkerson tonight. But the bottom line is, this team still had only two runs -- one earned -- heading into the ninth. If Clement and Balentien aren't playing in Tacoma, and service time doesn't matter, get them an airline ticket to Cleveland. If anything, they can force guys to stay at the tops of their game.

Not by scaring them from the bench. By sharing playing time, or platooning with the regulars. Let's see who is better and get the best guys out there. No one is saying hand Clement a job if he starts out 0-for-20. But at this stage, that's not much worse than the production the team is now getting. If you've got assets, it's time to use them before the season gets out of hand. I did not expect the offense to look this bad when the season began. I had much higher hopes for Vidro, Wilkerson and Johjima. Maybe they can still meet those expectations. But if they don't, if they keep going this way, the season is going to be all-but-done in a hurry. There really is not much more time to waste. A 4 1/2 game deficit heading into tonight is something I felt the M's would be leading this division by. They aren't and it's because of the bats. If they can't get the job done, find someone who can.

And if Clement and Balentien don't help, keep on trying. Vidro will still be a part of this team and likely Wilkerson, going forward. But they don't have to have 500 ABs in a season automatically. Make everyone earn their playing time going forward. It's the only way winning teams do it.

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Posted by ethan

7:24 PM, Apr 29, 2008

i wouldnt be surprised if we ink Johjima to a "2 year extension on his 3 year extension."

14 LOB

Posted by Nat

7:35 PM, Apr 29, 2008

It's a W and we'll take it!

Wow, Geoff, I know it's probably not happening yet, but it would be so exciting to have the rookies come up. I imagine they might struggle somewhat at this level, but hey, give 'em a shot anyway!

Posted by Adam

7:37 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Let's not kid ourselves. Vidro and Wilkerson just bought themselves some time.

They are professional hitters and all...

Posted by thatgirl

7:38 PM, Apr 29, 2008

I think the M's were at the mercy of the Japanese ownership as to why Joh got the 3 yr. extension. Beltre saved Mac's poor decision making ability with the BP. I agree with Geoff. Not much happened tonight to keep Balentien and Clement (at the least) from being called up.

Posted by dart

7:38 PM, Apr 29, 2008

great to watch the offense come alive in the 9th. I would love to see Clement and Balentein up here. They can't do any worse than the starters are doing now. I suspect that part of Bavasi's hesitancy to bring up Clement and Balentein is so that he can save face. Bringing up Clement and Balentein to replace weak bats such as Vidro and Wilkerson would be an admission that he (Bavasi) made a mistake in signing them.

Posted by Adam

7:42 PM, Apr 29, 2008

If Clement and Wladimir Balentien aren't playing in Tacoma, and service time doesn't matter, get them an airline ticket to Cleveland. If anything, they can force guys to stay at the tops of their game.

Only the Mariners would be stupid enough to bring up their top hitting prospects just to "motivate" their hitters. If they are called up, they had better play.

Posted by seavet

7:43 PM, Apr 29, 2008

What I liked was Raul's at bat in the ninth. Miss the cookie, miss the lefty's delight down, then go to work and scratch out a hit. That was the table setter.

Cripes, it was a win guys. Take a breath and enjoy it for a few minutes anyway.

Posted by dddddd

7:57 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Why enjoy the win when there is so much to complain about like the guy who posted why didn't Mac have raul bunt in the 9th? Great readingi

Posted by Mr. X

7:58 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Welcome to the land of the run producers, Adrian Beltre. Let's see more of that.

It's sad because Johjima is one of my favorites, but watching him at the plate is almost as frustrating as watching Shaq try to defend a pick and roll.

If I were a betting man, I'd wager Norton and Lowe (or Morrow) down, Clement and Balentien up. Not the best scenario, but the most Bavasi-like.

Posted by gMoney

8:07 PM, Apr 29, 2008

i'm with seavet.

Go M's!

Posted by Frito Bandito

8:07 PM, Apr 29, 2008

TGFB (Thank God For Beltre) Agree w/ Adam Vidro and Wilky bought themselves time. Sexon: 7 runners left stranded??? Any chance Johjima and his contract extension can be sent to AAA to learn how to hit again? A win is win is a win.

Posted by Faceplant

8:11 PM, Apr 29, 2008

"Welcome to the land of the run producers, Adrian Beltre. Let's see more of that."

Adrian Beltre posted the third highest VORP on the team last year, right behind Raul Ibanez while playing fantastic defense at a premium position. Beltre was an extremely valuable player last year. And he's having a better start this year. People refuse to admit it, but Beltre is worth what he is making.

Posted by Everett fan

8:12 PM, Apr 29, 2008

It was a win, which we sorely needed. But Sexson was awful - yeah, he got a double, after the game was won, and a rum-dum BP was throwing. What happened his first 4 AB's?? He looked helpless. And Joh made 7 outs in 5 AB's (2 DP's). Vidro and Wilks got a reprieve - but maybe Norton put a little fear in them. . . .
Now, what I wanted to say was the two utter stupidities pulled by our favorite manager:
1. Silva is over 100 pitches in the 8th, he just put the first batter on, with 2 lefties coming up - where's Rhodes?? twiddling his thumbs, lobbing the ball in the BP. Then Silva looks hurt after one more pitch - Mac leaves him in, anyway. What's he gonna do with Rhodes? Have him make coffee? My daughter would have known better!! (I don't have a daughter). Talk about not learning from your own mistakes (Felix two days ago!)
Number 2, back up to first inning - Ichiro on 2nd, two out, and a 3-0 count on our hot hitter, Beltre - he has him take a pitch!! Why? to set the table for two black holes? Let him rip at the cripple pitch - why is he playing for a walk? Does Mac think the next two batters are going to drive in Ichiro? (They didn't, of course). This one call alone is enough for me to lose all respect for Mac's managerial competency (if I had any left, that is).
[And, I hope he reads this - I'd tell him that to his face.]

Posted by Faceplant

8:14 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Looking over to the righthand side of my screen I saw this headline among the "Most Read" links.


"M's counting on Greg Norton to add punch to slumping offense"

Greg Norton's career line?

.253/.337/.427

Ew....

Posted by hughdawg

8:15 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Geoff, you baffle me. For the last month, 80% of the people on this blog have been calling for the heads of half our team, our manager, our GM, the nation of Japan, etc, but you have been preaching patience and staying the course. Give the guys a month to see if they can turn it around, you've said. So we finally get a big inning late in the game, and Vidro and Wilkerson have fantastic games, and you say that you don't see anything that indicates future success? In my experience with baseball, hitting is contagious and when a couple of guys get going, other guys follow. I think today was a harbinger of success - two guys pulled their heads out and tomorrow they're going to go into the game with confidence. Maybe Kenji and Sexson start feeding off of that, and all of a sudden we're scoring enough runs to give our starters real confidence in our team, and then who knows?

Posted by Faceplant

8:16 PM, Apr 29, 2008

"Talk about not learning from your own mistakes (Felix two days ago!)
Number 2, back up to first inning - Ichiro on 2nd, two out, and a 3-0 count on our hot hitter, Beltre - he has him take a pitch!! Why? to set the table for two black holes?"

To be fair, a LOT of hitters will take that pitch even if they have the green light. It isn't the first time I've seen Beltre do that.

Posted by macdoubter

8:17 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Geoff, I've criticized you a lot lately, and though you probably could not care in the slightest, I'll applaud you for this blog piece.

A few days ago I would have expected a different piece after a win like tonight's, something along the lines of "this offense figured itself out at least for one night, need more of the same, and the wins will pile up with this pitching," sort of thing.

I like how you didn't let up on the criticism and the call for making changes. Because, really, the problem still exists.

Again, not that you probably care, but ... Thank you.

Posted by Mr. X

8:18 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Last year being the key words. I'm talking about this year, not useless trivia.

Before tonight, he had 8 RBI, and 4 of those were home runs. Hopefully this is the start of something.

Posted by bigbri6968

8:23 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Interesting observation....neither Balentien or Clement is in the Tacoma lineup tonight...hmmm, something must be going on. No way does Balentien not play a night after hitting 3 HR's unless something is up

Posted by Get Griffey

8:24 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Exalent point Faceplant.

Posted by macdoubter

8:25 PM, Apr 29, 2008

hughdawg, I hope you're right, that the hitting will be contagious and this is the start of something big.

But in the meantime, how's that song go..."one night of love don't make up for six nights alone."

There have just been way too many bad swings, groudouts, and lost opportunities from these "hitters" (they almost don't deserve that title) for this win to really change or mean anything.

Posted by Beniitec

8:35 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Great post Geoff. I'm in complete agreement. Kudos to McLaren and Bavasi for talking the talk. But can they walk the walk? We'll see if they follow through with what they said. Also, the truth in lending here is that these hitters have got to do a lot more than what they did tonight...and tonight's offense in the late innings while securing the win for the team, didn't help the Silva earn his well deserved win.

Posted by drlo

8:54 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Totally agree with Faceplant on Beltre. I'm mystified by comments from time to time about his lack of productivity, and I presume such thinking can only come as a hangover from his poor first season. Since then, he has been a very solid performer.

Posted by glmuskie

8:58 PM, Apr 29, 2008

For those of you who would like an excellent overview of the M's, and a sense of perspective on this year and the organization as a whole, I'd suggest reading Sandy Hemenway's post 'I'm Angry' over at DetectOVision. I'm not here to plug another site, it just seems that amongst the many excellent posters here, there are some who would enjoy reading about how a thoughtful and analytical non-M's fan (Sandy is a Braves fan) views the M's situation.

And thatgirl, I think you're absolutely right.

Thanks for the blog Jeff, and all your hard work.

Posted by BavasiRocks

8:59 PM, Apr 29, 2008

There have just been way too many bad swings, groudouts, and lost opportunities from these "hitters" (they almost don't deserve that title) for this win to really change or mean anything.


Don't you think Fausto Carmona had a little something to do with this? I mean he isn't the Indians' No.2 starter for nothing. He has a 2.60 ERA in 34 innings, and is 3-1 so far this year.

Posted by Frosty Raptor

9:05 PM, Apr 29, 2008

I think Beltre's lack of RBI is more a reflection of the general sucktitude of the Mariners' lineup and his position within that colossal wasteland for most of April than his lack of "clutchiness". Vidro and Sexson have spent some time in front of him.

He's posting a .962 OPS right now. It takes an explicable amount of skill to avoid driving people in when batting at that rate.

Beltre is like a ninja with no one to assassinate.

Posted by Thomas

9:06 PM, Apr 29, 2008

This is the worse thing that could've happened. Now McLaren is going to stick with Vidro & Wilkerson for the rest of the roadtrip!

BTW, it's not just Clement & Balentien that needs to be called-up, I'd throw Reed into the mix as well. Not sure if anyone's seen his numbers down in Tacoma. The guy was minor league player of the year. I'm sure he has some talent.

Posted by Get Griffey

9:16 PM, Apr 29, 2008

"Beltre is like a ninja with no one to assassinate."

That one is going on my wall (figuratively people, I don't have an actual wall) of Best M's Blog Quotes!!

Very cool! ^_^

Posted by helpFelix

9:22 PM, Apr 29, 2008

IRONIC PEOPLE...

Management FINALLY puts there foot down with the team, an Wlad and Clement hits the papers this morning...WHAT HAPPENS?

The 2 guys with the MOST LIKELY upcoming impact by calling up WLAD and Clement...are Vidro & Wilkerson.

You don't think that was a big reason for those two to have standout numbers this evening...do ya?!

Start threatening Sexson by highlighting how much better LaHair is doing than Sexson this year, and LaHair being the next callup after WLAD and Clement...Us fans just "might" see Sexson go on a HR terror and bring his BA backup to the 250-270 level?!

Put the FEAR of cutting these bastards in their mind EVERY SINGLE DAY, and we "might" start getting production out of "some" of them.

You still bring up Wlad and Clement to MAKE A SERIOUS POINT and just cut Wilkerson and relegate Vidro to a permanent bench role. This tells EVERYONE else on this team that management isn't going to mess around with NOBODY on this team not producing.


Posted by hughdawg

9:24 PM, Apr 29, 2008

I don't deny your point, macdoubter. I've spent enough nights alone to know exactly what you're talking about. :) Nor do I mean to say that we shouldn't bring Clement up YESTERDAY, because he has shown he has gotten all he can out of Tacoma.

But what I am saying is everyone has slumps, and it's usually more mental than physical when you get on that level. Take for example why Richie is hitting 100 points higher on the road than he is at home. Do we really doubt that it's because he puts added pressure on himself at home because he wants Seattle fans to appreciate him and not boo him?

So if Wilkerson and Vidro got some big hits tonight, I think it could do something big for their mentalities and it could foster some more hits in the near future.

Posted by scottM

9:27 PM, Apr 29, 2008

The biggest kudos against Cleveland go to Carlos Silva. Only two runs thru seven plus innings!!!!!!!! I pointed him out mid season last season as a good free agent acquisition, and so far, he has paid off in spades!

Beady Eye, glad to hear that you don't think that Raul's LF defense is one of the M's problem areas. It just isn't our problem!

Nice to see Wilkerson and Vidro produce tonight, but Wilkerson, especially, was signed for his LH power hittiing to right field. Three singles tonight helped his batting average, but he has yet to show any semblance of power at the plate. Vidro showed some great clutch hitting, but, as so many have pointed out, his powerlite bat isn't what we need at the DH.

Free Clement!!
Sign Griffey!!

Posted by Choska

9:28 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Great blog, Geoff.

I couldn't agree more.

Antonetti in '08

Posted by helpFelix

9:34 PM, Apr 29, 2008

From all the rumors I've been hearing about Cincy and a potential interest in moving BOTH Dunn & Griffey...

Rumors I heard from Cincy fans, as well as stated Cincy brass to the media last year was that "if" they moved Griffey they acknowledged that they would have to pay nearly half of his annual salary to move him.

We also know what Dunn is all about...a PERFECT fit for SAFECO field with a major power LHB for LF! The ONLY problem is that you can't have Dunn and Sexson on the same team with their SO ratio. I'd be seriously thinking about working a 3-way trade with Cincy/Seattle/Giants. Giants wanted Sexson bad early this past offseason, but Seattle would have to eat half his salary.

Maybe there can be something worked out where we can send Sexson to Giants, and pay 1/2 his salary, and then send Burke/Baek/Morse over to Cincy & provide salary relief to Cincy for Dunn & Griffey...Put Ibanez over at 1B & Dunn in LF, with Griffey in RF.

I can sure handle Dunn in his prime (27 years old) consistently hitting 46-48 HRs a year. His SO ratio would be bareable in 2008 with those added HRs to our lineup!

Realistically though, I would prefer trading for Dunn now, and moving Sexson, and giving Cincy Burke/Baek/prospect for Dunn. Run with Wlad in RF, and Clement in DH/backup Catcher with Ibanez at 1B.

Posted by John

9:37 PM, Apr 29, 2008

No ARod in New York. Might help a little.
We're still going to need to hit, and I'm with everyone who says there's no reason to expect anything to change with our offense. Two more runs tonight until we got to their bullpen in one inning.
Vidro and Wilkerson bought themselves more starts, which is unfortunate. On top of that, if Johjima keeps hitting like this, there's no reason to keep him in the lineup. I'm really curious to watch this develop with Clement and Balentien.
I do think if this team can score four to five runs a game they're going to win a lot of games.

Posted by John

9:45 PM, Apr 29, 2008

helpFelix:
You are dreamin' dude. The Reds aren't going to take a guy who's out for the rest of the year, a catcher who's in the last year or two of his career, and a pitcher who wouldn't crack the starting lineups of half the major league teams.

Posted by scottM

9:46 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Helpfelix, I like your creative thinking vis a vis the Reds!

Posted by hmmm

9:47 PM, Apr 29, 2008

I need to see at least ten more good games (real soon!) from Wilkerson before I'm convinced. He has a poor, low-percentage swing with that wicked upper cut. I do like his grit and his patience at the plate. If there's one thing the rest of the team could gain from him it's that.

Vidro... I have a little more confidence he'll come around. He's smart, a veteran, reads the situation well, a clutch hitter. Just how long can one wait though...

Posted by seavet

9:51 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Everybody who wants the Big Donkey, raise your hand.

I'm sitting on mine. The only additional strikeout artists I want are the kind who pitch 'em. I've seen enough in the last three years to last me a lifetime.

Posted by Bobby

10:16 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Hey Geoff,

Die Hard Life Long M's fan here, this period has got to be the most frustrating month I've ever had as an M's Fan. By all rights Felix and Silva should both be 5-0. I know its only April and a lot can happen but we finally have the kind of Rotation that wins Playoff Series and our bats Suck !!! I agree that Clement needs to be brought up right now. One question who do you think the M's would throw at the Reds for Griffey after he hits 600 ?

Thanks for all your hard work on the blog man

Posted by Lance

10:24 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Good to see Wilkerson is capable of getting some singles. But, this guy was supposed to have some pop. And, he's shown absolutely no pop since he's been here. Not good for a RFer on which you were counting on around 20 home runs from.

Yes, it's nice to win. But, I'm just focusing on a dejected Carlos Silva sitting in the M's dugout before the offensive explosion.

Was he thinking "'a couple of more runs, guys. Please. Just a couple of more runs. I'm Carlos Silva, you know. I'm not Johan Santana.'"?

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

10:34 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Great blog post, Geoff!

High fives to Silva and Beltre! Go Mariners!

AAA guys and Griffey: Get on the plane.

No A-Rod in NY? Sweet.

Posted by Matt McMullen

10:43 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Burke for Griffey...yeah I am sure Cincy would mass go for that. How bout a 3 for 1 deal:

Lopez
Kenji or Rob Johnson
Fierabend or Baek
for Junior then you have this lineup after the call ups.

CF Ichiro L
SS Betancourt R
RF Griffey L
3B Beltre R
DH Ibanez L
LF Balentein R
C Clement L
1B Norton/LaHair B
2B Chen/Tuiasosopo R

Posted by Aaron

10:44 PM, Apr 29, 2008

We obviously need to drop some non-producers and give others a shot at "The Bigs". Sad part is that our owners seem to think that Asian players are untouchable...sad...real sad. It just disgusts me that some will get a pass because of there race...While others who have worked hard and deserve a shot, are stuck in AAA.

Posted by Adam

11:13 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Can we PLEASE stop with the "bring back Griffey" threads?

He sucks defensively. And if you want him at DH, then forget about calling up Clement.

He isn't half the hitter he used to be. He's got an OPS+ of 96, folks. And he's been in decline for several years.


FORGET ABOUT GRIFFEY. HE'S NOT VERY GOOD.

Posted by macdoubter

11:21 PM, Apr 29, 2008

BavasiRocks . . . no doubt the M's faced a tough starter tonight, but the bad swings, groundouts and lost opportunities to which I referred came in the majority of games prior to tonight's against many less impressive pitchers.

Posted by Matt McMullen

11:31 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Griffey > 7 of our 9 starters

Posted by M's Fan... Sexson

11:44 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Time for Sexson to move on... We are going to go nowhere until Sexson is out of our lineup and we start putting some guys in the lineup that can get a bat on the ball. Tired of seeing all the LOB next to his name.

Posted by Adam

11:47 PM, Apr 29, 2008

Griffey can't catch, can't play 1B, 2B, SS, or CF. He can only DH or play RF.

And better options exist.

Getting Griffey would be a poor, poor move. You all want to block Clement or Wlad, give up more prospects, and pay him, at age 38, for nostalgia's sake?

Posted by C diddy!!!

12:26 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Time to move sexson...If we can get a bag of baseballs or a new bat boy for him I would take it in a heart beat. He's dead weight in our line up with the way johjima and wilk are hitting as well. For people saying we should move lopez you are crazy, he does all the right things a #2 hitter does, hits the ball to the right side of the field and gets sac flies and it an excellent contact hitter......

Posted by George

12:29 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Adam I might agree with ya if just yesterday you weren't touting light hitting washed out Corey Patterson.

Posted by Faceplant

12:49 AM, Apr 30, 2008

"Last year being the key words. I'm talking about this year, not useless trivia."

As if his previous track record is useless?

"Before tonight, he had 8 RBI, and 4 of those were home runs. Hopefully this is the start of something."

The start of what? Being productive? In other words you are hoping he starts this year, what he already started last year?

Funny. If you are only talking about this year, why haven't you welcomed anyone else into the land of run producers? I mean Ibanez is producing. Doesn't he deserve a welcome?

Posted by Faceplant

1:00 AM, Apr 30, 2008

"Adam I might agree with ya if just yesterday you weren't touting light hitting washed out Corey Patterson."

Probably because Patterson is 10 years younger than Griffey, plays infinately better defense, and has almost the exact same OPS as Griffey.

At this point in the year, Patterson has almost certainly been the more valuable player.

Posted by jr 4 m's

4:01 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Griffey currently has an OPS+ of 103 not counting last nights game. If it dropped 7 points it shows the insignificance then of that stat in a month time frame...He had his highest ob% last year in 7 years
Last year his OPS+ was 119 if you follow that
Certainly he is down from a decade ago but look at his Cincy numbers and they are good... The guy can still flat out play and is way better than what we have...Blocking Wlad is an issue as is salary To say he is not good is stupid...he hit 30 hrs last year which everybody likes to reference, last year He also did not strike out very much Range factor was higher than league ave last year per nine stats at baseballreference.com...Griffey back here would enrgize the team the town himself...course you don't have some bs stat for that....

Posted by ruby

6:10 AM, Apr 30, 2008

In a tight game, I am shocked that Mac won't have Johjima sacrifice Wilkerson over, especially after his 2nd GIDP. Pathetic managing. Move Wilkerson into scoring position for Bentancourt and Ichiro. Lou never hesitated to have Dan Wilson sacrifice. As I recall Wilson was one of the game's better bunters, and staying out of those DPs was a formula for success. Again, very questionable managing.

Posted by Everett fan

6:22 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I guess I forgot to mention one other gaff (in the first inning) - Ichiro leads off with a single - Mac has Lopez do a hit and run. Why is that stupid? Because Carmona is known for his wildness. You put on a hit and run, and the batter HAS TO SWING at the next pitch. In this case it was high, and Lopez couldn't do too much with it. You put on a steal against an erratic pitcher; a hit and run against a control pitcher (say, Maddux). Evidently Mac doesn't' know the difference, or didn't read the scouting report.
PS - I can't envision Beltre not swinging at a cripple pitch unless TOLD NOT TO.

Posted by George

6:25 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Faceplant:

Patterson is NOT what the Mariners need to provide offense, I won't even bother to provide his numbers. Look em up. He stinks.

Posted by orefan

6:44 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Just wondering if anyone else is noticing that Yuni has slid back into having absolutely no patience at the plate? His last at bat he seen more pitches than his first 4 combined. He would be doing himself a favor if he took the same approach that Lopez has been , take until the first strike is thrown.

Posted by Mr. X

7:22 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Funny Faceplant, since I was the one calling Beltre our team MVP last year. I have nothing against Beltre or his contract. He's one of my "Top 5." That doesn't mean I can't criticize him for playing like Ichiro Jr. so far this year.

"In other words you are hoping he starts this year, what he already started last year? "

No, because last year is last year. This year is this year. Last year is over, this year has just started. Last year is now trivia, and has no bearing on this year whatsoever.

Why would I welcome Ibanez to the land of run producers when he's been doing it all year? Even after last night's heroics, Beltre is still hitting .238/.385/.452 (9 walks) with runners on with 6 baserunners knocked in. With RISP, he's still hitting .160/.382/.400 (10 walks) with 5 baserunners batted in. Worse than Adam Jones even. I'd like to see him do more than just join runners on base in those situations. He's been one of our better run producers in the past few years, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by bikeman

7:33 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Adam,

You wanted an Ibanez for Laffey trade, I said that would be a mistake.

Patterson pretty much can't be traded until June.

Griffey has a $16.5M for 2009. The Ms would have to exercise that option. Jr will hit no. 600 and the Reds will not exercise that option. Wait until the end of the year.

Posted by mike

7:34 AM, Apr 30, 2008

HEY AaRON YOUR A REDNECK RACIST.

Posted by bikeman

7:35 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Sorry, that should be "wait until the off-season after the Reds buy out the option."

Posted by mike

7:49 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Maybe it is Pentland that needs to go. The only holdover from Mike Hargrove. Has anyone watched Richie in his swings before the pitch comes? They are low uppercuts. And during his at-bats he always swings at low pitches with a low uppercut primarily missing them or hitting pop ups to the outfield. A good hitting coach would have him correct this. And the prevailing notion in MLB that hitters need to take pitches. Well what happens? They take a couple of pitches right down the center then they flail away at bad pitches. Everyone knows most hitters are going to take the first pitch or a pitch on a 3-0 count. So pitchers well be over the plate in most cases. Some hitters should forget the now common take a pitch practice and swing at good pitches rather than bad ones when they get a chance. Especially those that are batting .200!!! Tonight the M's will need to score because Washburn is pitching. I don't have much hope of a win especially if the bats are quiet again.

Posted by M's Fan in CO Exile

7:56 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Good analysis, Geoff. Although I think it is sort of a waste if Clement changes positions over this, if we are in win now mode let's do all we can to win, short of trading away the farm system. Sticking with all those struggling is a huge problem.

Posted by Mr. X

8:00 AM, Apr 30, 2008

This FO has already proven that rear ends through the turnstiles and in seats is more important than production. Over and over. Since Junior would sell out Safeco, and Patterson would bring maybe 5 new fans per night (unless he has family in town), we all know how easy that decision would be.

And I should clarify that I don't really believe that failed prospect Patterson would outproduce Griffey. Corey Patterson has a .280 OBP, and that's with 8 walks. Pathetic. We don't need another guy who can't get on base. When Brad Wilkerson is your #2 OBP guy among the starters, then bringing in a Patterson would not improve things.

Look for Mac to give Ichiro a couple of days off soon to "clear out the cobwebs" and bat Wilkerson at the leadoff spot. At this point, it would be an upgrade.

Posted by byebyeSexson

8:02 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Please get Richie off the roster. Too many LOB's. I don't care what his wonderful career bases full stats are!

Richie, say byebye

Posted by bleacher bum

8:24 AM, Apr 30, 2008

anybody notice Richie leaving SEVEN men on base by the middle of the 5th inning?

Posted by Mint Husky

8:25 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Ugh. So what, is this going to become the "get Griffey" blog? Stop with the wet dreams about KGJ folks. His glory days are over. About the only thing that makes me more sick to my stomach than Bavasi wasting a bunch of money on Griffey to appease a bunch of fans is the thought of Felix in pinstripes.

Posted by ron

8:27 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Why is strikeout 200 hitter Sexton still in the lineup? This is his last year under the contract, just cut him and eat his salary. He is the most overpaid player in baseball. Clement can move to designated hitter and Vidro can play first. Vidro is a career 300 hitter and he will get there.
Wilkerson's numbers before he came to the Mariners sucked. Why does anyone expect him to do any better than his career numbers which have been near a 230 batting average. They should have given Val---- a chance at that job before the season ever started.
Another great move this General Manager can look back on is his draft aquisition of Moore when they could have had the best pitcher in college baseball in Lineacom. Spelling is probably wrong on that name, but man can this kid pitch and he has more than one pitch. What a great starting pitching lineup we would have had with him iin the top 4 starters on this staff.

Posted by Adam

8:27 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I'm confused, X, because you've previously minimized the importance of OBP. Why does it matter now when you argue against Patterson?

If you look at Patterson's numbers, you'll see that he's a victim of a BABIP below .200. His LD rate is similar to his career rate, so it's not because he's losing power. Indeed, his slugging is the highest it's been in five years.

And it's not because he isn't being patient at the plate. He's drawn a walk every 10.5 ABs, a rate that would put him fourth among our regulars.

And he's only struck out six times, a huge improvement over previous years.

Since his BABIP is about 100 points less than his average over the past few years, I think it's safe to assume that he's just a victim of balls not finding holes. And that would explain the low OBP.


And, let's not forget the importance of defense and baserunning. He's very good at both.

Posted by GeoW

8:45 AM, Apr 30, 2008

I'd simply like to note that Vidro is close to leading the team in RBIs. He's on a pace for a 100+ RBI year. Isn't that amazing, considering the poor reputation he seems to have with contributors to this blog. Picture this: last of the ninth, down 4-3, bases loaded, one out. Who do you want up to the plate for the M's? At the moment, I think it's Vidro.

Posted by Mike

8:49 AM, Apr 30, 2008

A perfect scenario for him to pinch hit. I still want more power from my DH.

Posted by scottM

9:14 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Can Griffey learn to play a solid first base? Has he ever played first base? That would make his acquisition so much better for the post-Sexson era, and for when he no longer has the wheels for RF.

Posted by Lance

9:18 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Good show with Mitch, Geoff. I was especially glad to see the two of you get Jeff Clement's name right this time. And, even at the point where Mitch still seemed confused on it you set him straight.

If we're going to call this guy up to do some slugging for us I think we should all be able to say his name right. I'm glad you are now.

Also, a couple of thoughts from your show. I understand what you're saying about Yuni's regressing at pitch selection. I'm just wondering, if they give him a shot at hitting #3, would he actually focus better. Much like Jose focused much better when he was moved from #8 to #2. Yuni could be under strict orders that if he continue to swing at bad pitches back down to #9 he goes again. Make any sense? Isn't it worth just such a brief experiment?

And, I was surprised to here you say that if the team goes to eleven pitchers again Baek would be the one sent packing. Of course, he can't be sent to AAA without clearing waivers. And, I can't imagine all 29 teams would pass on him.

Which leads me to my next question. Can the team ask waivers on a guy without actually DFAing him? Then, if he doesn't clear pull him back? If he does clear, then you can send the guy down without losing him. Just wondered if that's possible. I think it is.

My choice would be to send down Brandon Morrow. Right now he is your weakest link. Then, if an injury occurs or someone else starts stinking up the place he can be be brought back. I mean, don't we really want to have our 25 best guys on the roster, potential and all hoped for dreams aside?

Posted by scrapiron

9:23 AM, Apr 30, 2008

Uh, the pink elephant in the room is production vs. right handed pitchers. Against lefties this team is the best in the American League.

VS. RH (A.L. RANK)
AVG .240 (14th), OBP .308(14th), SLG .371(13th), OPS .678(13th)
VS.LH (A.L. RANK)
AVG .321(1st), OBP .384(2nd), SLG .497(1st), .OPS .874(1st)

As far as Vidro, as long as a left hander is up, he's doing fine this year. It looks like Pepe Vidro has forgotten how to hit from the other side of the plate though:

2008 Jose Vidro (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
vs. RH .174/.250/.261/.511
vs. LH .318/.333/.545/.879

And for those discounting Jeff Clements' AAA stats, let's look at his 2007 MLB numbers. I realize it's only 15 ABs vs. RH, but it was against major league pitching.
2007 Jeff Clement (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS)
vs. RH .400/.500/.867/1.313
And his numbers at AAA continue on this same trend. The dude rakes righties. We need him now.


Posted by Lance

9:36 AM, Apr 30, 2008

GeoW - good thoughts on Vidro. He is the guy you'd want up there in just such a situation. Which is also why you can accept him at DH, and why he'd make a great pinch-hitter.

The guy you wouldn't want in that situation is Richie Sexson. Which is why Mac should use Greg Norton to pinch-hit for him in a scenario where you HAVE to have a base hit to tie a game or get you ahead in the late innings. Richie wouldn't like it, but it'd be the smarter thing to do. If it is about winning games. And, Mac has already gone on record saying he can't be making decisions to keep everybody his friend.

Posted by Faceplant

9:56 AM, Apr 30, 2008

"Even after last night's heroics, Beltre is still hitting .238/.385/.452 (9 walks) with runners on with 6 baserunners knocked in."

You want to talk about useless trivia? BA with runners in scoring position is a completely useless stat. It tells you nothing.


"Funny Faceplant, since I was the one calling Beltre our team MVP last year. I have nothing against Beltre or his contract. He's one of my "Top 5." That doesn't mean I can't criticize him for playing like Ichiro Jr. so far this year."

Beltre's OPS hasn't dipped below .795 all year. Most of the year it's been in the mid .800's. He's been producing from day one. Beltre was leading the team in VORP even before yesterday. He's actually been more valuable than Ibanez pretty much the entire year.

Posted by Cleveland fan in Seattle

1:12 PM, Apr 30, 2008

All you Mariners fans need to lighten up a little bit. The last time I checked Carmona is a pretty good pitcher and he holds most teams to under 3 runs per start. Also, Silva hasn't faired well against Cleveland yet he pitched a good game last night. Cleveland's bullpen has been suspect this year (along with their bats), and your team took advantage of Cleveland's weak spot - their bullpen. So well done. I know the team could be better (and they've dropped Wilkerson now), but be happy with a good win for once.

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