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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 30, 2008 7:46 PM

Same old song

Posted by Geoff Baker

balentien0430 054.jpg

Nice hit by Wladimir Balentien to get the Mariners on the scoreboard, but that's all his team generated on offense tonight in an 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Look, it's simple, score four runs or less and you're going to lose the game. The average runs scored by any team in the AL these days is about 4.5 per contest. You do the math.

The M's are now 4-13 in those games in which they do not score more than four. They are also now 0-11 in games in which they trail by two or more runs at any point. That's a bad sign of offensive weakness. The inabiliy to rebound from any type of small setback. Two runs should not be this fatal. Jeff Clement reached base on a single in the ninth that diving center fielder Grady Sizemore couldn't come up with. So, the two newbies have those hits out of the way. Jose Vidro didn't do much against Cliff Lee. Nobody did except for Balentien. Vidro will be back in there tomorrow because he's got good career numbers against Indians starter Paul Byrd.

But Clement will be in there as well. He'll be the starting catcher the next two days as fading Kenji Johjima, hitting just .177, takes a seat. The manager wants him to relax.

"He's fighting himself so bad right now,'' manager John McLaren said.

Try selling Johjima on that. He's anything but relaxed and getting more worried by the second.

"He told me to relax but I'm not going to relax,'' Johjima said moments ago, through an interpreter. "Just because I'm taking two days off, it's not going to mean that for sure I'll do well on the third day.''

Johjima said he has to spend the next 48 hours figuring out what's happened to him. A few of his teammates will have to as well as the mixing and matching and flip-flopping of positions begins in earnest.

It's time to let Balentien and Clement take a shot.

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Posted by joe

7:04 PM, Apr 30, 2008

The Balentien homer was impressive, but what impressed me even more about the kid. He sprints out of the box on an pop up to SS in the 9th. Great hustle! Vidro and co. should take notes or they may be gone next.

Posted by SICK56

7:07 PM, Apr 30, 2008

How much ya'll wanna bet that McClaren comes up with some lame excuse for FLUFFY's horrible outing??

Posted by Thomas

7:08 PM, Apr 30, 2008

It's time to sit Vidro and use him primarily as a PH. Isn't this the last year of this contract? If it is, why didn't they keep Norton instead of him? Wouldn't Norton have given them more speed and also an ability to play the field? I would give Clement all the AB at DH.

Posted by Babu

7:14 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Agree, Geoff, but I have to say it is less painful -- for me, anyway -- to watch a loss with the kids up playing instead of washed-up players or mediocre players. With the call-ups, you get not only their energy and desire, but the hope that they might get better, something that isn't going to happen to Vidro, Sexson and Co. Of course the rookies will struggle; of course they will make mistakes; of course they are not saviors. But better to see those struggles with some hope for the future than with no hope. And even if fans disagree with aspects of the call-up (Norton, for instance), the Ms made a move, replaced a veteran, and had both call-ups play on the first night they were available. Yeah!

Posted by Anthony

7:18 PM, Apr 30, 2008

C'mon Geoff, let's not fool ourselves. Cliff Lee is pitching as good as anyone in baseball, came in leading MLB with a .028 ERA and we're matching him with Jarrod Washburn. Some times you just have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher and move on to the next one. Let's get the series win tomorrow (have a feeling we will as Batista seems to be good,bad,good,bad and he was just bad so you do the math).

Balentien era now underway!! gotta love it. Good luck young manny.

Posted by scottM

7:20 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Ichiro throws right handed, bats left

Clement throws right handed, bats left

Ibanez throws right handed, bats left

Discounting switch hitters, how common is this in the big leagues to bat one way and throw with the other? How rare is it to have three guys on one team with this trait?

Hint, there's a great future publication for you GEOFF, a coffee table book on ambidexterity in major league baseball.


Good showing by the youngbloods tonight. Hope it builds enough confidence to translate into future wins.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

7:23 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Wow, what a nice shot in the arm from the call-ups! Love that energy boost!

We, the bloggers, earned the right to say, "We told you so."

Here's to the young guys. Go Mariners!

Posted by ethan

7:23 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Jeff Weaver and Jarod Washburn must have been in the same Special Ed classes together in high school.

Posted by hugh

7:26 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Don't jump off a bridge Jeff. There are still games left. Jeez, these games don't matter because it's early and stuff.

Posted by mickey

7:27 PM, Apr 30, 2008

There is some light at the end of the tunnel with the new players from Tacoma. What a great introduction tonight.

Normally I would have been upset at the loss but have some hope for future games now.

Posted by Thomas

7:32 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Isn't it about time the M's fire Bavasi?! He wasted $3M on Wilkerson when they could've just let Balentien, Morse & Reed compete for it.

As far as the Bedard trade, I think another GM could've given up less in return especially when you consider what the Mets gave up to get Santana.

I'm just sick and tired of the front office! We all know Bavasi is going to do something stupid again when it comes to personnel.

Posted by ruby

7:38 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I've had my fill of Jarrod "Zito" Washburn. Typically if the M's score 3, he gives up 4 (or more). If the M's score 7, he gives up 8. Time for the bullpen, let's see Baek or Dickey.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

7:40 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Hey, where are those bloggers that were so vigorously against bringing up the two young prospects? It's like a graveyard in here. There's a lesson to be learned here for those lurking around silently eating crow.

Young talent with no experience beats out lesser talent with veteran experience. Who wants Corey Patterson or Matt Murton please raise your hand?

Posted by Adam

7:58 PM, Apr 30, 2008

ScottM - the first time my son had a bat in his hands, I had him hit lefty. He's 7 now, and hits pretty well, all while throwing with his right.

Posted by Ben

7:58 PM, Apr 30, 2008

So does this mean the club house is at odds with the new guys? 2 against the rest? Or are people getting along with them?

obviously it's very easy and possibly way too early to see any sort of real reaction to the new guys.

Posted by SICK56

8:00 PM, Apr 30, 2008

ruby

You mean "FLUFFY" Washburn? I agree with you 100% He is a loser.

Posted by doug

8:00 PM, Apr 30, 2008

LOL NICE TO SEE YOU ADMIT THAT YOUR WRONG ABOUT THE MARINER BEING BIG TIME CONTENDERS GEOFF ROFL I HOPE U DIDNT PUT ANY MONEY ON THEM AHAHHA

Posted by Adam

8:01 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Resin - I wanted Clement and Wlad up, and I haven't seen many arguments, if any, against bringing them up.

I argued that Wlad would need a little more time in Tacoma, and if by mid-May he was ready, then it was time to bring him up.

And yes, I'd still go get Patterson. Let Ibanez platoon at 1B with Sexson, with Patterson in LF and Wlad in RF. That would make this team even better.

Quit patting yourself on the back.

Posted by BraveLittleTailor

8:04 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Same Old Song - but not really. Clement and Balentien give a lot of hope for down the road. Washburn vs Lee was a very tough matchup for Seattle anyways. Now I am not expecting great performances from the two new guys (but I do have my hopes up). All new guys pretty much have to go through a learning curve at some point but I am guessing even if they struggle they can out do a 600 OPS mark. If Clement and Balentien can do 800+ ops (which is certainly possible) then the M's can print playoff tickets. Even at 700+ it should be enough to hang with the division leaders

Posted by helpFelix

8:05 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Speaking of "Zito" and "Schmidt"...remember how close the M's were in signing them last year?!

That would of been devastating to our club in 2007 AND beyond!!!

You know Garth Brooks song "Thank God for unanswered prayers"?

You should be hearing Giant fans now regarding Zito. Gaurantted $135M counting his 8th year buyout amount...and he gets relegated to the bullpen this week. In fact, the way management is talking and slamming Zito it would surprise me if they DFA'd the guy. That would be a record setting salary DFA' d in the history of MLB.

Also , remember how "CLOSE" we were in landing Pavano 3 years ago?!

Bedard for the next 2 years is CHEAP compared to those contracts, and Felix for another 4 years..and that's not counting any possible extensions we could get from them soon.

After this hole Zito contract thing (Hampton, Pavano), and even how Sabathia got off to a horrible start the 1st 5 starts this year, I think the days of 7 year contracts are OVER!

I can see Seattle buying out Bedards last year of arb, and giving him a 3 year extension.

Posted by SICK56

8:06 PM, Apr 30, 2008

PATTERSON?!! what the heck? that guy flat out sucks. Getting him to help our offense would be like trying to fix a flat tire by shooting it with a .357
sure am glad you're not in the FO Patterson LOL retard

Posted by Ziasudra

8:07 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Looking at the starters, I had little hope of even competing this game, but I was delighted to watch to see Wlad, and even Jeff get in and do well. Although, right after Wlad's HR, and Cleveland went to a right hander, I would have had Jeff go in right then.
I was very dissapointed to lose Norton.
Actually, since Baek had a bummer tonight, maybe we could now DFA him, and nobody would grab him.
The post game show hinted at Joh's major failing: first inning, 2 strikes on Sizemore, and Joh sets up on the inside corner. Lefties LOVE that inside pitch! What was he thinking? "Ah - he wants an inside pitch, so he'll think we're going outside! We'll fool him!." Three pitches and the game is essentially over.

Posted by KML

8:22 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Can't figure out why they let Norton go?!? While I also think its about time to move Washburn to the bullpen and give Baek a shot at starting. After all, it is why they kept him on the team. Give him 5 starts and if he doesn't do any better than JW then bring R.J. Dickey back up and give him the opportunity. Our pitching is our strength but JW is our weak link. Time for him to start looking over his shoulder.

Posted by antsy in anaheim

8:24 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Another month below 500. Some things never change. The Ms are sooooo average it's pitiful. Loved watching the young guys. Everyone else, painful to watch. Even Ichiro. Bunt, steal, do something to ignite the offense. He's supposed to be our offensive threat. Did nothing in April. There's no way we can overthrow the Angels. We don't have a chance for the wildcard. So let's face it, post season is out. Which means we need to let the young guys play. From top to bottom. Even our 4 and 5 pitchers. What a fatal mistake letting Lincecum slip by and taking Morrow ahead of him. Another bonehead move by our brilliant GM who's supposed to have a keen eye for talent. Whatever.

Posted by Adam

8:32 PM, Apr 30, 2008

antsy - Don't jump off the ledge just yet. A four-game deficit in April isn't the end of the world. And we won't lose 7 of 8 one-run games, either.

A few more changes (Patterson to LF, Raul to 1B) would really help this team, but at least now it appears they are on the right track. I'd also love to see them send Morrow down to Tacoma and try to stretch out as a starter. It might take a couple of months, but if he's ready by August, he could be a real shot in the arm. I think we are all worried about the 4 and 5 starters - Morrow could be a plus at the back end of the rotation.

I think Lowe is ready to be the eighth-inning guy; send Morrow down, try to get him ready to start, and get him back up here. If he isn't ready, no big deal, just put him back in the pen.

Posted by Aaron

8:33 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Now lets get a slugger in there and we should be able to turn this ship around....

Posted by kranky

8:34 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I'll say it again. What the heck is Miguel Cairo doing on this team?

Someone, give me an answer.

Posted by kranky

8:37 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Cairo is there because they expect Jose Lopez to flame out at this point?

You keep Cairo, a guy who does nothing, over Norton, a guy who can hit?

Don't get it. Do not get it. I-d-o-n-o-t-g-e-t-i-t-a-t-a-l-l.

Posted by jherz13

8:38 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Can somebody explain Bavasi's recent actions? Why do you sign Johjima to a 3 year extension the same week you bring up Clement??????????

And why do you DFA Wilkerson after 50 AB after you spent 3 million to get him?????????

While I think Clement and Balentien are both ready to explode, how can Bavasi justify those moves? Oh wait, he can't.

And for the record, Wilkerson did not deserve to be designated. He has a .350 OBP and while he hasn't shown HR power thus far, he would have finished with the season with 15+ HR while Vidro will be lucky to get 4.

Posted by kranky

8:39 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Cairo is a cheerleader or mentor for Lopez?

Can't you make him an assistant bench coach then and let a player take his roster spot?

Did I mention that this Cairo thing bother me?

Posted by kranky

8:42 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Can't you teach one of the young guys in the bullpen to pinch run in an emergency?

What purpose does Cairo serve here?

Is some trade in the works that would get something for Cairo?

Nothing makes sense.

Posted by Tahoma

8:43 PM, Apr 30, 2008


Agreed KML, move Washburn to the bullpen, he is a one pitch wonder, give Baek his place in the rotation. Baek's initial ineffectiveness tonight may be due to his inability to warm up quickly in a relief role. Certainly afterwards he appeared sharp with his normal command, he has been a starter all his career and in his previous outing he demonstrated his ability to be an effective pitcher. Tonight, he settled in and pitched well after the mid-inning appearance.

Likewise, I add my voice to the chorus who are stunned with the retention of Turbo at the expense of Norton. Turbo gives you little effect when facing right handers and he has no ability whatsoever to play a position on defense, he is truly a one-dimensional player at this point in his career. That sole dimension is a right handed hitter against left handed pitching. Whereas Norton is a true switch hitter and he has the ability to play the corner outfield slots as well as first base. As for offensive ability and defensively flexibility, there is no contest in determining who should have been DFA - bye Turbo Vidro. But the Ms management - both FO and field manager - appears oddly biased towards veterans with endowed contracts, it is clearly a waste of resources and opportunities. Although I am delighted with the call up of Clement and Balentien, I am still in shock as to the realization of this long overdue measure at the expense of Bavasi's primary offensive acquisition - Wilkerson, but the fact that they stuck with Vidro is not so suppressing given McLaren's bias for veterans. At least with the dfa-ing of Wilkerson, there is every chance that Wlad will be the everyday right fielder and McLaren cannot displace him for a veteran unless he get a brain cramp and sends Turbo out there.

Here's to Wlad and Clement in their first appearance this year - both showed the promise to come.

Posted by kranky

8:43 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Hey Geoff. Please explain the Cairo thing to me. It just does not compute.

Posted by 56SICK

8:49 PM, Apr 30, 2008

SICK56 - while I agree that Patterson is no answer and has no place on this team, it is inappropriate to call or infer that someone is a "retard" in this blog. Resorting to name calling has always be the refuge of weak minds.

Posted by Adam

8:51 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I can give you six million reasons why Vidro is still with the team.

That and those magical seven or eight weeks in 2007 when Vidro fooled many into beleiving he could still hit the baseball.


The more I think about it, the best moves would have been:

Wlad, Clement, and Jimerson up

Vidro, Wilkerson, and Cairo OUT.

Having Willie as our 4th OF is a horrible thing. I'd much rather see JImerson as our 4th OF, Norton as a backup DH/1B, and Willie as our reserve IF. Both Jimerson and Willie can run and defend well enough - Norton is a better bat than Vidro, Jimerson is a better everything than Cairo, etc.


But I guess this is the most we can expect from Bavasi.

Posted by Adam

8:54 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Patterson is a better option than Griffey or Reed.

The team would be better with him in LF and Ibanez at 1B than with Raul in LF and Sexson at 1B.

Posted by Tahoma

8:55 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Kranky - The Cairo thing is something of a great mystery, surely Norton was a better option than the retention of Cairo. Even the good moves in bringing up Wlad and Clement are somehow deflated by retaining Turbo and Cairo, one of whom should have been released. Their retention again speaks to McLaren's bias of retaining aging veterans - a bias that hints of some sort of Oedipal complex, Mac is no field manager.

Posted by kranky

8:57 PM, Apr 30, 2008

You know someone in the Front Office sat around and thought about keeping Cairo over Norton. I'm not saying Cairo can't play; I have no idea because Mac won't play him. He just takes up a roster spot, doing nothing.

Geoff, please find the guy who decided to keep Cairo, a guy who does zero, over Norton, a guy who hits, which is in short supply right now on the Ms. Find that guy and probe his brain for the rationale. Use an icepick if you have to.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

8:58 PM, Apr 30, 2008

DFA Washburn.
Free Dickey.

Posted by SICK56

8:59 PM, Apr 30, 2008

56SICK

RETARD!

Posted by Tahoma

9:02 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Adam - agreed Wlad, Clement, Jimerson make far better sense than Vidro, Wilkerson and Cairo while such a move permits the retention of Norton as a strategic pinch hitting option. Pity the FO and field manager can's see with your logic in this matter, however, I do not think it necessary to acquire Patterson. Still you have a point, move Ibanez to first and dfa Sexson - moves which would make for a much better team both offensively and defensively.

Posted by 56SICK

9:04 PM, Apr 30, 2008

SICK56 - name calling really shows your class and level of maturity - juvenile behavior.

Posted by ross

9:04 PM, Apr 30, 2008

GEOFF-
Can you please ask someone in charge why we gave a 3 year 24 million extension to a crappy over the hill catcher batty .177 when we have a future all star in AAA (now called up) playing catcher and batting nearly .400

Posted by scottM

9:08 PM, Apr 30, 2008

From Adam: "the first time my son had a bat in his hands, I had him hit lefty. He's 7 now, and hits pretty well, all while throwing with his right."

It's interesting how throwing is probably the dominant hand for most while batting is related to which hand is on top. Even though the upper hand guides the bat, it's easy to see how whichever way we initially do this activity will likely be dominant for us. Switch hitting is something that a player would seemingly need to concentrate on doing from a young age to be evenly competent when he/she matures as a batter. How ambidextrous does an athlete need to be to be a good switch hitter, if it's learned young?

It would be interesting to do a study of guys like Ibanez, Ichiro, Clement, Vidro, Norton to see what hand they write and eat with, golf with, bowl with, play tennis with, etc. In other words, is the ability to bat left-handed the only thing they do well that way and how ambidextrous are these guys?

After all the talk of Clement as a left-handed catcher, I was surprised to see him today throwing right-handed. In other words, he's not a left-handed catcher, he's a left-handed batter and a right-handed catcher. It helps explain why LEFT HANDED BATTING catchers are so rare. They all throw right handed. I just checked it out and there have been only five left-handed catchers of more than 100 MLB games caught. Only one had over 1000 games caught. He played from 1984 to 1900 and, ironically, his name was J

Posted by Aaron

9:08 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I think the ownership has completely screwed this team by demanding that Joh be signed to a 3 year extension....its pathetic. Now you have a Gm and Mclaren scrambling to find spots for the people that can actually produce....

Posted by scottM

9:16 PM, Apr 30, 2008

RE Clement, the lefty batter: Ironically, the only significant left handed catcher ever to play in MLB, was named Jack Clements.

(that got cut off)

Posted by scottM

9:18 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Johjima is three home runs away from being traded for Griffey (a true lefty on the verge of 600!)


Posted by Tahoma

9:23 PM, Apr 30, 2008

ScottM - Why would the Reds want Johjima? and surely they would expect more in exchange for Griffey? Trades require value and are not one-sided wish fulfillment.

Posted by Aaron

9:24 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I hope your right Scottm, I'd cry if it was Clement!

Posted by Tahoma

9:27 PM, Apr 30, 2008

If wishes were trades, we could have long ago ridded this team of Sexson and Vidro. But now, how do we rid it of an underperforming catcher who has just been inked to a three year contract extension? Is this not the bane of the Ancient Mariner? A albatross which we have carried for two seasons now with Sexson... Vidro. Again with Johjima.

Posted by Aaron

9:33 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Because the Reds are in desperate need of a catcher...and Griffey in there line up is nowhere near enough to make them contenders for anything. They'll trade him right after 600 hr. They're trying to go younger. Besides they value Dunn way more than Griffey. Johjima packaged together with other prospects or Baek,Norton & cash should be enough to acquire an older slugger who wishes to retire a Mariner....He's going to demand its the Mariners or nothing just like he did to the Mariners when he demanded the trade to Cincy.....It should come cheap enough....

Posted by KML

9:33 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I'd like to see this line up tomorrow:

Ichiro CF
Lopez 2nd
Beltre 3rd
Balentien RF
Ibanez RF
Clement C
Sexson 1st
Vidro DH
Betancourt SS

Actually, I'd like to see a different DH but the choices for tomorrows game are kind of limited. Norton would have been a better choice but I really thnk you need to throw the kids right in and see what they can do.

Also, by my calculations Washburn will be the starter for the first game of the next home stand. Lets hope they move him to the bull pen and have Baek start instead

Posted by Thomas

9:35 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Don't blame management for the team's problem. Signing Johjima to an extension isn't the root of it. It's Bavasi and McLaren who dug their own graves.

Why would you comprise a bench of Bloomquist, Cairo & Jimerson coming out of spring training. I can understand keeping Burke & Morse.

The signing of Wilkerson was idiotic and a waste of money. Let's not forget that Bavasi also re-signed Horacio!

The problem with this team and the lineup is that it's slow, old and some of the talent is mediocre. Look at what they're doing with Morrow. Are they going to make him a starter or waste him away in the bullpen. At this point it's probably better that they go ahead and send him to AAA.

It's the personnel decisions by Bavasi and McLaren that's holding this team back. We can wait on Johjima's bat, but the three positions (RF,DH & 1B) where you need offense isn't getting the job done right now.

Posted by SICKO

9:36 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Where did all the trolls go? SICK56, Doug - juvenile tributes to adolescence. Must've hit the showers...

Posted by Tahoma

9:42 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Thomas - your logic is convoluted, "Don't blame the management...." then you do exactly that with Bavasi's signings and McLaren's bench selection.

Posted by Thomas

9:42 PM, Apr 30, 2008

The lineup should look like this for tomorrow:

CF Ichiro
2B Lopez
DH Ibanez
3B Beltre
C Clement
RF Balentien
1B Sexson
LF Reed
SS Betancourt

That's right....Jeremy Reed should be up and playing in LF. He's another talent that's being wasted away in AAA. Ibanez is in the last year of his contract and we all know he isn't getting any faster on the field. You give Reed another chance cause if he's found his stroke, it's going to save the team money from having to sign another OF.

For the people clamoring for Griffey, give me a break! He's not the same Griffey that left Seattle. Stop living in 1995 people!


Posted by Thomas

9:43 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Sorry...I meant to say "Don't blame ownership"...comments posted by Aaron

Posted by KML

9:46 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I've always rooted for Reed, but I just don't see the Mariners ever playing him. Even if they brought him up I don't see him doing anything but sitting on the bench. I'd really like to see him get another chance though, but only if he gets playing time.

Posted by Tahoma

9:47 PM, Apr 30, 2008

KML - your batting order has inherent flaws in unnecessarily grouping right and left handed hitters together. Perhaps a modification:

Ichiro, cf
Lopez, 2b
Ibanez, lf
Balentien, rf
Beltre, 3b (who likes to follow a rh hitter)
Clement, c
Sexson, 1b
Vidro, dh
Betancourt, ss


Posted by M Dogg

9:49 PM, Apr 30, 2008

"He played from 1984 to 1900 " Whoa!! I've got to meet this guy!! ; )
IMO: Even though some may believe that Patterson would be a better fit, not even the M's (insert adjective here) front office can pass up the PR bonanza and fan frenzy JR's return to Seattle will bring. Won't happen until after 600, and quite possibly not until next year when it will cost far less. Great job Balentein and Clement! Look forward to seeing more in the days to come!

Posted by KML

9:52 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Thanks Tahoma! I can live with that. I mostly wanted to see Balentien in the 4th spot and Sexson lower in the order.

Any other viable options for DH?

Posted by Tahoma

9:54 PM, Apr 30, 2008

How about Norton?

Posted by Tahoma

9:56 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Or perhaps Lahair? A youth movement might be just the ticket.

Posted by Thomas

9:56 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Tahoma...you know that Norton was DFA? I doubt he'll clear waivers.

Posted by Tahoma

9:59 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Norton dh -- just speaking metaphorically as I do not agree with the move retaining Turbo or Cairo over Norton.

Posted by KML

9:59 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Wish Norton was an option but he was designated for assignment. Can't believe it!! So if it isn't Vidro tomorrow then its either Ciaro, Bloomquist, Jojima, or who??

None a DH that strikes fear into another team. It isn't 1995 but I sure miss Edgar!!!

Posted by KML

10:01 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I like the Lahair option. Then maybe Ciaro goes?

Posted by Thomas

10:02 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Frank Thomas could've been the DH but I guess Bavasi & McLaren didn't think he was a good fit for the team.

Posted by Tahoma

10:03 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Along with Lahair, bring up Jimerson to be the fourth outfielder and pinch runner, DFA Cairo and Turbo.

Posted by Tahoma

10:06 PM, Apr 30, 2008

As for the Big Hurt, the milk is on the floor. Seriously he did not have a good record of production at Safeco over the years, but half the games are played elsewhere and this team needs some power.

Posted by Tahoma

10:11 PM, Apr 30, 2008

You know as I recall former Mariners, Sexson is not even a good imitation of Richie Zisk or Dave Kingman - both known for power and declining average when playing for the M's.

Posted by SICK56

10:25 PM, Apr 30, 2008

YOUR MAMA!

Posted by SICK56

10:30 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Yo mama so ugly they filmed "Gorillas in the Mist" in her shower

Posted by SICK56

10:32 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Yo mama so fat she goes to a resturant, looks at the menu and says "okay!"

Posted by Esteban

10:32 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Thomas said: "...Look at what they're doing with Morrow. Are they going to make him a starter or waste him away in the bullpen. At this point it's probably better that they go ahead and send him to AAA."

He will never be given a chance to start as long as he is in a Mariner's uniform, I'd be willing to bet my favorite Erik Estrada poster on that. The FO used a number five pick on a guy with loads of potential, perhaps enough to be a TOR guy, but with little experience as a starter, and then they don't allow him to develop in the minors. The best that he can hope for as long as he is here is to be used as set-up guy. Classic Bavasi, to be sure, but it sure doesn't bode well for his future earnings power.

Posted by Big Ebu

10:37 PM, Apr 30, 2008

scottM

I think that if you look at infielders, being a left handed thrower would seem to put you at a disadvantage. As a third baseman your glove hand is guarding the line which means most of the time you are going to have to backhand grounders. Also, if you look at how a baseball diamond is configured, it is designed such that most of the time an infielder is going to be throwing to his left (toward first). This seems easier to do if you are a right handed thrower vs being a left handed thrower. Of course I am right handed so maybe I am just biased. But in my sons little league, over the years I have seen many left handed hitters but very few also throw left handed (and most of those are guys that pitch).

As for a catcher, if you are a left handed thrower then a right handed batter is more likely to get in your way when throwing to a base. Since most players bat right, this would be a bigger problem for a lefty than a righty.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

10:48 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Folks...Mac is QUOTED as saying HE talked Bavasi into signing Cairo.

Cairo is his toy and Norton wasn't. It's clear to me Bavasi deferred to his manager yet again.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

10:50 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Tahoma...too late. We already TOOK Jimerson OFF the roster because Mac couldn't figure out what to do with him (argh!).

Either Reed comes up to take a pitcher's spot or Cairo's. All depends on when Bavasi tires of giving Mac too much rope.

Posted by Big Ebu

10:51 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Esteban

Unfortunately you may be right. I would like Morrow to be converted to a starter but he seems destined to be a reliever with the Mariners for now. Or if they do eventually convert him to a Starter, he may not blossom until maybe his 5th year… just in time to become a free agent.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

10:51 PM, Apr 30, 2008

LaHair isn't an option. We need another OF not another 1B/DH type.

Posted by helpFelix

10:56 PM, Apr 30, 2008

All this talk about Cincy trade rumors are flying out in the blog world.

This past offseason they were trying desperately to land a #3 type LHP. Washburn's short 2 year contract looks pretty decent compared to what teams have to pay longterm on the open market for these kinds of pitchers (4-5 yr deals).

Plus all the talk in Cincy world is dumping Griffey and Dunn, and bringing up Jay Bruce to play their top OF prospect in MLB.

Here's what I'd love to see, but more or less I'm sure it's just a pipe dream:

Trade Washburn/Johjima/Baek straight up for Dunn/Griffey. Cincy is dying to land a quality Catcher, but I would think they would want the CHEAP Burke in that package instead. Heck we also have 10 days to trade Wilkerson, and Hattenberg wants out of Cincy because of Votto now. Lot of different scenerio's with Cincy & Seattle right now!

Boy, if there's anyway we could land BOTH Dunn & Griffey I'd FLIP 1st off! THEN when I caught my breath, i would initially be concerned about Dunn & Sexson in the same lineup with all those SOs. BUT it couldn't be any worse than placing Sexson/Wilkerson back-to-back in the lineup the way Mac has been doing all month long. AND THEN I'd realize that Ibanez would end up going to a platoon 1B role with Sexson, and Sexson would ONLY be in the lineup with LHPs, and Ibanez with RHPs...so the Dunn/Sexson SO dual wouldn't be a major concern for me. PLUS we can dish Sexson over to the Giants, who've been wanting him since the end of last year & pay half his salary to offset the Dunn/Griffey salaries!

Washburn/Johjima/Reed/Baek to Cincy (Approx $16.5M in salary)

Dunn & Griffey to Seattle (Approx $25M)

Difference of $8.5M

Now send Sexson over to Giants and pay $7M, and the other $7M Giants pay.

So that equates to approx $1.5M out of pocket for Bavasi to land Dunn & Griffey.

Put Dickey in the #5 spot for the rest of the year and get what you get!

Ok Ok...maybe a pretty big PIPE DREAM...but let me have my moment of silence before everyone slams me on this:

Roster after the trade:
CF Ichiro
2B Lopez
DH Griffey
3B Beltre
LF Dunn
1B Ibanez
RF Wlad
C Clement
SS Betancourt

Rotation After Trade:
Bedard
Felix
Silva
Batista
Dickey (Baek if not included in trade..the other goes to long relief)

WOW...A pipe dream I know, but that would put the fear of God into every pitcher we face! AND LOOK NO SEXSON ABOVE!

Don't us dedicated Mariner fans deserve this?

Come on Bavasi let's GET ER DONE MAN!!!

Posted by Big Ebu

10:59 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Like several others have noted, if you are going with a 4 person bench and also carrying 3 catchers, how can you have both Bloomquist and Cairo on your bench? I’d much rather have Reed or Jimerson for Cairo so we have a “real” backup outfielder and have Bloomquist the primary backup infielder.

Posted by bob

11:16 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Geoff:

Management continues to appear as a major joke.

You bring up Clement and Balentien, which by the way I am not fighting against, but more the timing. Wilkerson goes 3-3(3-4?) last night and Norton has replaced the lowly Vidro and hit nicely.

It would have seemed logical that you would have brought these two players up before you left for Cleveland to dispel any possibility that Wilkerson could have been turning it around.

I simply do not understand the logic.


In addition to the ownership, who forked out 24 million dollars to a player that was struggling to hit his weight.

In all my years of following baseball, I have never seen a club reward a player who was hitting below the Mendoza line a contract as high as Johjima. It goes to show how little ownership knows about baseball, but rather its desire to keep Japanese players on their team.

I am sorry, but Johjima is a one dimensional pull hitter. Defensively, he may be solid, but I would question that as well. Regardless, if he does not improve this year, the Mariners will be stuck with a contract that mirrors the likes of Cirillo, Aurillia, Everett, Sexson, etc.

Finally, Why is Miguel Cairo on this team? and do not give this veteran BS or he is insurance for Lopez, because you could simply move to why is Bloomquist on this team. They are the same player. Only difference, Cairo has more power.

Conclusion:
Seattle is a fledgling team run by inferior management and ownership that will be lucky to play .500 ball this year.

Youth movement needed, not to quell nay-sayers, but rather to develop a complete baseball club. Our opponents this evening are perfect examples of how to run an organization through young players that you develop, yet remain competitive and playoff caliber. A team loaded with youth, either developed through their system or smart trades.

Indians :(Sizemore, Hafner, Gutierrez, Shoppach, Cabrera (ex-mariner thrown in a trade), Garko, Lee, Sabathia, Betancourt, Martinez, Carmona, Peralta, Marte etc.)

Mariners (Lopez, Betancourt, Hernandez, Morrow, Lowe, Smith, Green, Bloomquist, Clement and Balentien (finally))

Polar opposites and teams travelling in different directions.

Posted by Aaron

11:20 PM, Apr 30, 2008

No slamming here help felix..its actually a good idea, which pretty much means this Managment wont do it.....depressing...but who knows, they may suprize us.

Posted by Tahoma

12:09 AM, May 01, 2008

BEG - As far a Jimerson goes, it is only a matter of making room for him on the forty man roster which can simply be done by clearing the roster of Turbo or Cairo.

Posted by Miles

1:59 AM, May 01, 2008

Add me to the camp that doesn't understand why they ditched Norton. I fully expect him to be claimed.

Now that Balentien and Clement are getting their shots, I think it's time to start looking at Ichiro. Am I wrong in saying that this is his worst start to a season? We'd have been all over him if it weren't for all the .200 hitters around him.

Finally, the Kenji signing just looks worse and worse every day. If that was Bavasi's call, then I'm not going to defend him anymore. If it was ownerships call, this team has bigger issues then Bavasi and McLaren.

Posted by scottM

3:47 AM, May 01, 2008

"He played from 1984 to 1900 " Whoa!! I've got to meet this guy!! ; )


My bad! Lefty catcher, Jack Clements, played from 1884 to 1900 ( there's no word that his contract provided him with a DeLorean ;=).

You make a good point Big Ebu about right handers in the infield having an advantage-- except that a left handed glove at first base helps by being positioned further away from the base runner trying to beat out a single, and when ranging to the right for a grounder toward the hole. (Another reason why Griffey might be great at first base to close out his career).

The clockwise motion of rounding the bases and the natural obstruction of the RH batter to the left handed catcher have eliminated lefties from that position. Still, it's amazing how nearly absolute it is NOT to have virtually ANY LH catchers in the long history of the game.

I've also been routinely surprised at how religiously some Managers are about wanting the Lefty/Righty match-ups late in the game. You go with one pitcher for, hopefully, seven plus innings, mostly not worrying about this, then the throwing hand becomes all important, too often far more significant than whether the guy has been throwing good stuff lately. Then, when it's a close situation, the Manager goes back to ignoring the importance of the throwing hand. All things being equal among your pitchers, or when selecting pinch hitters, the Lefty/righty stuff makes sense, but, too often, the by-the-book mentality of baseball for such things can be overdone and a head scratcher.

With only ten percent of the population being left-handed, it is fascinating how significant this is to the game of baseball, especially for kids first learning to bat.

Or, for example, as to why there are few lefty pitchers with an overpowering fastball. Is that just a percentage thing? With a disproportionately high number of pitchers being left-handed compared to the general population, you can get to the bigs within a LESS competitive pool of throwers, and, therefore, there are much fewer out there (on the bell curve) throwing at the highest velocity. In other words, if you take your best 1000 throwers from a population of 100,000, only 100, or 10% of those 1000 would naturally be left handed. It would be more likely that the fastest throwers would come from the pool of 900 than the pool of 100.


Maybe, FSN NW can do an interview feature on the ambidexterity of so many M's players. It would be more fascinating than some of the fluff pieces I've seen from them.

Posted by Paul

6:47 AM, May 01, 2008

This has been a really funny thread to read through this morning. The management does almost precisely what we've all be clamoring for: call up Balentien and Clement, and nobody gives them even a 1-day hiatus on significant criticism.

From the GM down to the manager, this team has been poorly constructed and is underequipped to be sure. I don't think the team is or should be done making changes to improve the roster. But to not give a bit of credit for the moves that were made and give the negativity a rest for 1 day is kind of telling... no matter what moves ARE made, it will never be enough.

I'm not bashing anyone, just observing something interesting. I'll be criticizing again within a few hours too, I'm sure.

Posted by Chuck

7:21 AM, May 01, 2008

Its great the kids get a shot, but 2 games! Give me a break! And I can see unloading Wilkerson, but Norton? Why not Cairo. At least Norton gives us a pinch hitter. Oh yea Mac doesn't like to have to think about pinch hitters--just pinch runners--but doesn't someone have to get on base to use a pinch runner? Wash sucks!

Posted by Mr. X

7:39 AM, May 01, 2008

I wish I could say that I was surprised about the Norton DFA, but how could I be? I predicted it 2 days ago. Pretty easy to see that one coming with Bill Bavasi in charge. I'm surprised that he didn't temporarily send down a bullpen arm with options as the second move, but he actually did the right thing by cutting babyfat Wilkerson. Can't hate that move at all, except he never should have been signed in the first place.

The only thing left is to turn Jose Vidro into the pinch hitter that Norton should have been, and by that, I mean use him in that capacity as much as possible. He could pinch hit late in every game, as far as I'm concerned. We could have a 3-man C/DH rotation with Clement, Johjima, and Burke (who can also play other positions btw).


"Finally, Why is Miguel Cairo on this team? and do not give this veteran BS or he is insurance for Lopez, because you could simply move to why is Bloomquist on this team. They are the same player. Only difference, Cairo has more power."

This is really getting silly. It's never been a secret why Cairo was signed, it was even in the official press release. Mac wants versatility, even if it means wasting a roster spot that can be used on a better player.

http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20080108&content_id=2342181&vkey=pr_sea&fext=.jsp&c_id=sea

Ichiro is looking more and more like the "less than clutch" 2006 verson. That year he hit .228/.355/.291 with RISP, with only 4 extra base hits. This year, it's a pathetic .111/.304/.167

But I know, I know. The calender just turned, and April is over. The sky will open up, the sun will shine down, and Ichiro will suddenly become interested in playing baseball again. Just last night, his muscles became just a little bigger, and he made breakfast in half the time, because he's just a little bit faster than he was in April. Seeing May 1 on his calender will be enough to arouse the fire that has been dormant in the innermost recesses of his soul. He will face the rest of the season (or just the next 3 month) with the zeal of a challenger.

Posted by Adam

8:03 AM, May 01, 2008

X - There is a real simple reason why people haven't started to panic over Ichiro, and I'm sure you know what it is.

Posted by byebyeSexson

8:10 AM, May 01, 2008

Good call up.

Poor send down. We don't need two speed merchants sitting. Norton was helping and could have continued to help this club.

Dare I suggest that we find a way to sit Richie?

Posted by Thomas

8:14 AM, May 01, 2008

Norton got shafted! No reason why they've should've cut him. I'm still hoping that they come to their senses and recall Reed. He needs to be the everyday LF. There are some balls that Ibanez can't run down. Playing Reed in LF improves the OF defense dramatically.

It's time they cut ties with Cairo. If they want him to mentor Lopez then sign him on as a consultant. Don't waste a roster spot.

I'm not sure what type of versatility McLaren is looking for, but the bench and the roster still needs to be tweaked.

helpFelix- Do you really think the Red's GM is going to take garbage for Dunn/Griffey. Come on, you have to trade talent to get talent. I'd be concerned that Bavasi would give up better talent in return.

Posted by Ziasudra

8:46 AM, May 01, 2008

"helpFelix- Do you really think the Red's GM is going to take garbage for Dunn/Griffey. Come on, you have to trade talent to get talent. I'd be concerned that Bavasi would give up better talent in return."
Will he take garbage for garbage? That what Griffey has become. . . .
BTW - they won't say it in public, but if you could get any or all of the M's pitchers to spill their guts over a few brews, I would guarantee all of them would say they would prefer to have Burke behind the plate, ten times over. Someone did a ERA analysis last year when Burke was catching, vs. not.

Posted by Mike

8:50 AM, May 01, 2008

Lofton in left. Raul to 1B to platoon with Richie, except when Clement catches the Raul can DH.

The team gets faster on the base paths, you swap out Sexson for a guy who posted a .780 OPS last year and you make the pitching staff better by covering a lot of ground in the Safeco outfield.

And unlike Patterson you don't have to give anything up to get him. I know he's 40 but he's the type of player that ages well.

Yes, I know I sound like a broken record.

By the way, way to go the other way Wlad. I heard you were an extreme pull hitter.

Posted by thatgirl

9:25 AM, May 01, 2008

"I've had my fill of Jarrod "Zito" Washburn."

Ruby - LOL. I couldn't agree with you more. Our version of 'Zito" seems to pitch in only one speed with no movement on the ball. It's called batting practice. Other teams read him like an open book.

Posted by K-Man

9:36 AM, May 01, 2008

Baker Blog Commenter:

"But, Bavasi's never going to admit he made a $3.5 mil. mistake with this guy (Wilkerson) after one month. There lies your real problem."

Eau Contraire! Does Bavasi read this blog? That is indeed a frightening thought! Hearty congratulations to the "Free JC and Wlad" crowd. I predict "Free Dickey" will be next.

The message being sent from the front office is pretty clear. The M's will eat any salary, trade (almost) any prospect and bench any entitled veteran in an effort to win this year.

With regard to JC, it is interesting that Mac has elected to play him at catcher (benching Joh) instead of DH (benching Vidro) for the next two games. I would've thought it better to employ JC at DH at least initially. Let the position-sharing at catcher begin!

And yes, that opposite field homer by Wlad was a beautiful sight. I hope Richie was paying very close attention.

Posted by John

9:46 AM, May 01, 2008

I think if Washburn loses his next two or three starts you'll see a change. I'm fairly convinced now that Bavasi isn't going to keep guys in the lineup that aren't producing (although the day they sit Richie will be absolute proof for me). But if Washed-up is 1-8 with a 5.00 ERA, there's no earthly reason not to move him to long relief, trade or DFA Baek, and bring Dickey up to be the No.5 guy.

Posted by Lance

9:48 AM, May 01, 2008

By the way, Ichiro can start hitting like Ichiro now. This .252 average and .661 OPS just isn't going to cut it.

As bad as Johjima is hitting compared to what Johjima can hit, Ichiro is equally as bad compared to what Ichiro can hit.

And, please don't tell me we've got nothing to worry about from our 34-year old singles hitting centerfielder. I'm worried about it.

I wonder if Ichiro is enjoying this slow start as much as he was expressing his joy over his slow start in spring training?

Posted by Cranky J

9:49 AM, May 01, 2008

Anybody else notice that Josh Hamilton's leading the AL in RBI (32)? The Rangers picked him up for a six-pack of BL and a bag of Cheetos and yet we decide to go w/ Ralphie Wilkerson? Can you imagine an OF w/ Ichiro, Wlad & Hamilton w/ Raul at DH?

These are the things that keep me up at night ...

Posted by GeoW

10:02 AM, May 01, 2008

Regarding the possible trade of Johjima to the Reds for Griffey, I believe that the players' agreement with the owners provides that a player cannot be traded within 12 months of signing his congract without his permission (i.e. it eliminates the "sign and trade" option, unless the player agrees). I suppose this clause might not apply to contract extension - maybe someone else knows for sure. (And, of course, it doesn't apply to fantasy league trades - is that where the Johjima/Griffey trade idea is coming from?).

Posted by John

10:05 AM, May 01, 2008

Cranky,
I am also tired of Bavasi's ability to evaluate talent and usefulness. It doesn't take too many Wilkersons, Ramirezes, Spezios, etc. (just to name some of the most recent) to realize the guy is seeing things that aren't there.

Posted by K-Man

10:10 AM, May 01, 2008

Cranky, this might also keep you up at night:

On December 21, 2007, the Reds agreed to trade Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for Edinson Volquez and Daniel Herrera.

Volquez made his Reds debut on April 6, 2008 in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Cincinnati. In 5.1 innings of work, he allowed only 5 hits, 1 earned run and 2 walks while striking out 8 batters. He now is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 29.3 innings.

Herrera is a 23-yr-old lefty now pitching at AAA Louisville with a 0.00 ERA in 5.2 innings. Before that he was at AA Chattanooga with a 2.55 ERA in 17.2 innings.

With Texas' pitching problems, don't you think Ranger fans are just a bit upset? Which two Mariner pitching studs would you have given up for Hamilton?

Posted by Lance

1:04 PM, May 01, 2008

"Anybody else notice that Josh Hamilton's leading the AL in RBI (32)? The Rangers picked him up for a six-pack of BL and a bag of Cheetos..." --- Cranky J

You really have no clue, do you? Edison Volquez was the Rangers top pitching prospect before Jon Daniels gave up on him. Quite prematurely it now appears. He's become among the top young starters in the NL.

If you're going to post on this blog please know what your talking about first. Otherwise, stick with USSMariner or Seattle Hardball.

Wonder why the Rangers have no pitching? Daniels has already traded Chris Young for Adam Eaton and John Danks, a future #1, for the MOTR Brandon McCarthy.

You think Bavasi is bad (ok, he is)? But, Jon Daniels is worse. He also signed Eddie Guardado this year to be their closer. There's a reason the Rangers are playing .333 ball. And, it isn't Ron Washington.

Posted by Lance

1:06 PM, May 01, 2008

Ok, Edinson Volquez. I knew that.

Posted by Faceplant

1:58 PM, May 01, 2008

"i only comment on bloomquist, becasue year after year he has proven he knows how to get it done. power to the alleys,..."

You realize you are talking about the guy who has a career .326 SLG. Bloomquist has no power to any part of the field. All he can do is hit the occational single, and steal the occasional base. While that has value, he has no business being in the starting lineup.


Lance,

Just a couple of points I wanted to make. Yes Jon Daniels is pretty bad. But it's not like he traded Volquez for a bunch of garbage. Josh Hamilton is legitimately one of the best players in baseball.

Second point... Edinson Volquez is having a great start... but he's pitching over his head. He's walking over 5 hitter per nine, and is stranding runners at a ridiculous 89% rate, and has yet to allow a single homer. That isn't going to continue. Plus he gets to face national league lineups with at least one automatic out in them. Volquez is legitimately good. He isn't as good as his current numbers suggest though.

Posted by ron

3:49 PM, May 01, 2008

I couldn't figure out why they were signing Wilkerson this off season. I remember his hitting % about 230. Why would you pay 3 million a year for that when you have minor leaguers that can hit that for much less $$.

Like someone mentioned earlier, It just make me sick that this dumb GM took Morrow in the draft when he could have taken Linecum.

The seahawks were smart enought to take an under sized linbacker, why can't any of these people be smart enough to take an under sized pitcher?

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