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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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June 9, 2008 10:05 AM

Pentland fired

Posted by Geoff Baker

Sorry for the late post. It's hot and humid in Toronto this morning and I needed some extra rest. As you may have heard, Jeff Pentland has been fired as hitting coach of the Mariners. To me, this is akin to firing the first officer aboard the Titanic for not spotting the iceberg before the captain plowed into it. Or, perhaps the ship's cook for giving the first officer a touch of food poisoning that led him to go for a glass of water before not spotting the iceberg that was rammed.

Whatever.

Pentland was a holdover from the previous Mike Hargrove era. He was the easy target to spot as to who would be the first to go amongst coaches when the team needed a sacrificial lamb. From a practical standpoint, this accomplishes nothing. It tells the players: keep on tanking and we'll keep on playing you.

Pitchers, hitters, defenders...all have underachieved. It's not the hitting coach's fault that all his middle of the order guys are hitting well below their regular averages with runners in scoring position. Pentland couldn't stand in the batter's box and get the runner home from third with less than two out. But hitting coaches are traditionally the first ones to bite it when a general manager is looking to buy himself some time.

Not to mention a team president and team CEO.

"Jeff has an excellent and proven track record, and those of us who have worked with him are well aware he knows hitting,'' Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said in a release. "Unfortunately, we have consistently, and for an extended period, underperformed at the plate and we are hopeful that a different voice might help the situation.''

Very astute observation. Some might say a different first baseman, DH and right fielder might help the situation. But that bullet is apparently going to be saved for later. That's what these types of firings are for, as I just mentioned. To buy time. The notion that anything will be fixed by naming Lee Elia as hitting coach is a little laughable. Elia told me before the season that he was not interested in getting back into baseball full-time. That his wife would never allow it. He said this half humorously, of course. But there is always some truth in every bit of humor.

Elia is not the solution. He's 70 years old and isn't going to be in this for the long haul, even if the team does luck out and finds Elia can "help the situation". He is a band-aid on a shrapnel wound.

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Posted by pnwfilmgeek

10:29 AM, Jun 09, 2008

One down. Several more to go.

Posted by David Gee

10:32 AM, Jun 09, 2008

If Mike Hargrove, who as a player routinely drew 100 walks a season and hit .300, couldn't get these guys to hit properly, what the hell good could Pentland do? The ghost of Ted Williams wouldn't be able to straighten this team out. Let's hope that the guillotine runs like a yo-yo in the weeks ahead.

Posted by David Gee

10:33 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Dang, I almost had the first post. That guy wrote six words just so he could get it posted quickly LOL.

Posted by -dmc

10:33 AM, Jun 09, 2008

You mean the cook aboard the Titanic wasn't the primary culprit?

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

10:38 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Oy vay. Dumb dumb dumb.

Further proof nobody wants to take responsibility for their b.s AND further proof that Mac's little tirade only shows the players what a clown he is.

If the players are at fault the folks that SHOULD have been fired are Vidro, Sexson, Washburn, Cairo and Bloomquist.

Posted by andre

10:40 AM, Jun 09, 2008

I hope this is just the start of the changes....give me something to get excited about with this team.....

Posted by AD21

10:40 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Let's blame everyone else for your mistakes Bavasi.

Posted by You're Fired!!!

10:40 AM, Jun 09, 2008

It's about freakin' time someone's taken the fall. Please let this be a domino effect ending with Howard Kincoln.

Posted by Corey Miller

10:40 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Wow Geoff I thought the guys at the P-I scooped you on this breaking news story. I keep waiting for the Wayne Huizinga fire sale to take place but I am afraid it would just be an Aunt May's garage sale instead.

Posted by backstabbers

10:41 AM, Jun 09, 2008

The TItanic was a one hit wonder for many reasons. Its more than obvious u could never make a sequal to this movie. Geoff take note of this please.

Onto Pentland, the guy clearly are one too many hotdogs, and gave out one too few batting tips. except of course for the genius tip on opening richies stance, which is paying off dividends

Posted by macdoubter

10:43 AM, Jun 09, 2008


Sorry for the late post. It's hot and humid in Toronto this morning and I needed some extra rest.

LOL. Funny stuff, really.

Also, if that's your best jab at Bedard/McLaren, I'll take it.

Posted by ajdaddy

10:43 AM, Jun 09, 2008

seeing this move just underscores the depth of decay in this organization. The ownership is not going to hold the GM accountable. Therefore, he can pick someone to throw overboard (Pentland), and act like he's 'doing something'. It's like Steinbrenner in the old days firing trainers. Give me a break.

Posted by Adam

10:44 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Dear M's,


I don't care anymore. You are all such a bunch of arrogant, ignorant, blind fools, nothing you could do to shake up this team would make me care even a little bit more. Until I see Howie and Chuck collected their massive severance packages, Bill Bavasi bumming Arte Moreno for a job, and John McLaren as a "special" advisor to Lou Piniella in Chicago, I'm going to keep on assuming each and every move you make is a stupid one.

You are responsible for the worst-run franchise in major professional sport. Take a flying leap.

Very Truly Yours,

Adam

Posted by arthur

10:55 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Too bad we didn't have Jeff Clement in Boston. But then, this "brain trust" already tried him out and found him wanting. Maybe they can package him with a couple of prospects for Wily Mo Pena.

Posted by Jason

10:56 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Bring on the .750 ball now. Angels gotta be fearing for their lives.

Posted by You're Fired!!!

10:56 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Ditto on what Adam said. May the empty seats at Safeco speak volumes.

Posted by Rudy L

10:59 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Not impressed. The M's are the least appealing franchise in the game. Everything reeks of corporate indifference to the game itself. It's all product and spin.

Fire Pentland? That's like Microsoft renaming Windows, while it still crashes and burns.

Absentee ownership and a bunch of suits in management. That's what's wrong with the M's. I will get interested again when baseball people start drafting, signing, and trading well.

Posted by SeaHokie

10:59 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Oh yeah, that'll fix everything. Where does the line for playoff tix start?

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

11:04 AM, Jun 09, 2008

What we are seeing is EXACTLY how the Dodgers looked before Fox sold the team to McCourt.

One could argue the Angels too but they had talent in the Minor leagues where it took the Dodgers years to reload.

Posted by Ned

11:06 AM, Jun 09, 2008

I don't feel bad for Pentland. He gets off a sinking ship. The ones who remain have the more tragic outcome.

Posted by Mariner FO

11:07 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Hey guys, come on, firing Jeff is just what this team needs. Not only will Lee bring out the Richie of old, but he'll help coach John the fine art of post-game profanity.

Posted by Jason

11:08 AM, Jun 09, 2008

This post from rotoworld.com sums it up very well:

Mariners fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland.

The Mariners have the game's worst record despite a top-10 payroll, and it's obviously Pentland's fault. He'll know better next time not to overpay for Richie Sexson, Carlos Silva, Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn. Also, he never should have traded for Jose Vidro and put together a ridiculous bench that included Miguel Cairo and Willie Bloomquist. And that's glossing over his biggest mistake of all: he saw two lesbians kissing at Safeco Field and did absolutely nothing to stop them. Lee Elia, his replacement, is very capable of putting the fans in their place when he needs to.

Posted by Scanman

11:10 AM, Jun 09, 2008

The Mís FO. Is like a black plague on our National Pastime. What a total disgrace they bring to the fans of base ball and especially the people of Seattle. Out of these ashes will rise The Bagheads, who will bring an end to this regime.

Posted by usesomelogic

11:12 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Here is my problem with this team. Every player down the line is a "free swinger" except for maybe Lopez, Vidro and maybe Reed. So what you have is a bunch of players who are all similar. All of our "stars" on this team would be perfect "role" players on contending teams. Imagine throwing Raul in Anaheim as the #7 hitter. Same with Beltre, Sexson, Betencourt or even Ichiro. Put Ichiro at the top of an already good line up and he adds a great puncch to get someone over the top.

This team is flawed because of the tyoes of players it has. It needs three hitters to hit in the 3-4 spot and a great #9 hitter that get's on base ahead of Ichiro and wreaks havoc by stealing bases and taking lots of pitches....a "pesky" little guy that is hard to get out (think Eckstein). The 3 hitter must be left handed with power and a good eye.

Right now, Raul is your #3 hitter when he would normally hit 7th in a good line-up. Same with Beltre, Sexson, or Vidro.

No hitting coach can help this team. You have to construct it with guys who have the natural fundamentals you are looking for. You can't coach instinct, it comes natural.

Posted by Capo

11:12 AM, Jun 09, 2008

This just makes no sense at all......What is the team saying, other than they are incompetent?

You hire a new hitting coach....but what now....if you fire the manager, he is gonna want his own guys (and rightfully so)......so then you have a third hitting coach....which has to really make a good impression on the players.

Then they fire the GM, who wants to hire his own manager, who wants his own hitting coarh...we could be looking at 4 hitting coaches within a year (and Vidro, Cairo, and Sexson would still suck).


On an unrelated note, theres an interesting piece up on Betard......I find it almost comical that everyone is shocked by his attitude and lackadaisical approach...he was notorious for it in Baltimore... I'm just shocked that anyone thinks this guy is the best LHP in the game. when I think winners, I think guys with the mental toughness of Clemens (yes we know he cheated), Moyer, Glavine, Maddux, Peavy........not guys like Betard, a spoiled child with a God given talent.

This assinine trade looks worse and worse every single start.

Posted by scottM

11:14 AM, Jun 09, 2008

So Pentland's gone. At the beginning of this season much ado was made that this free-swinging bunch was being more patient at the plate. Then, when May rolled in, these same players reverted to their undisciplined form. Obviously, this be-more-patient strategy was being abandoned by the players. The players stopped listening to the batting instructor, the productivity at the plate plummeted, so the batting coach is fired. Let's punish the messenger because the warnings are not being heeded.

The only realistic thing right now to shake up the M's cancerous, we-don't-give-a-sh*t-attitude will be to sit the rotting veterans and let the youngbloods play in their place.

Posted by Capo

11:16 AM, Jun 09, 2008

"This post from rotoworld.com sums it up very well:

Mariners fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland.

The Mariners have the game's worst record despite a top-10 payroll, and it's obviously Pentland's fault. He'll know better next time not to overpay for Richie Sexson, Carlos Silva, Miguel Batista and Jarrod Washburn. Also, he never should have traded for Jose Vidro and put together a ridiculous bench that included Miguel Cairo and Willie Bloomquist. And that's glossing over his biggest mistake of all: he saw two lesbians kissing at Safeco Field and did absolutely nothing to stop them. Lee Elia, his replacement, is very capable of putting the fans in their place when he needs to."


Don't underestimate!!!!! Lee Elia is the Chuck Norris of hitting coaches

Posted by sportsfan

11:22 AM, Jun 09, 2008


Pentland is the best hitting coach in the business, it's really too bad he had to take the fall for the inept play of players being paid millions of dollars. They should have fired the most inept people involved with this team, i.e., the g.m., pres. and ceo. Notice I didn't capitalize them, they are not worthy of such. There has to be a G.M. better than bavasi, you can't get any worse.

Posted by Dan

11:22 AM, Jun 09, 2008

YOU GOTTA LOVE THESE GUYS!!

Posted by Batter Up!!!

11:22 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Geoff - "It's hot and humid in Toronto this morning and I needed some extra rest." LOL

I know macdoubter beat me to it but it is nice to see your sense of humor hasn't wilted in the heat. Stay hydrated and keep your CO level high, umm... I mean O levels...

It will be interesting to see if the lineup today has any change...

Posted by Jason

11:23 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Thats right Capo, when Lee Elia does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

Posted by fred

11:28 AM, Jun 09, 2008

What a joke, the whole thing. The mental picture of Armstrong, Bavasi, Boles & Co. hovering over this road trip is ridiculous. Trying to save their own jobs, they believe their presence will motivate the Mariners to do their own. The first dramatic move: Fire Pentland, who knows more baseball than any of the abovementioned.

Time for cleanout, beginning with Lincoln, Armstrong, Bavasi and their butt boys. Whether McLaren stays until season's end is beside the point. New management should choose its own new field manager.

Sexson, Vidro, Batista, Washburn should go pronto for younger players or to anyone who will pickup even a modest percentage of their contracts. Ibanez should go ASAP for young talent. For the right offer, Bedard should go for a package of younger players. Who would want to sign a long-term contract with this clown franchise? Let Clement, Reed, Balentien play, put Morrow and Dickey into the starting rotation, see how they look for 2009.

Fire Pentland? Yeh, that ought to do it.

Posted by macdoubter

11:32 AM, Jun 09, 2008


Pentland is the best hitting coach in the business, it's really too bad he had to take the fall for the inept play of players being paid millions of dollars.

Sportsfan, could you elaborate on your statement about Pentland being the best hitting coach?

I'm not disagreeing or agreeing, because I honestly don't know whether he is any good or not.

I have seen how our hitters have performed, and I assume that Pentland as the hitting coach should he held at least partially responsible when the hitters consistently appear to use the same tired approach.
If you have some evidence to support your regard for Pentland, please share it.

Posted by David Gee

11:33 AM, Jun 09, 2008

I'm guessing that either the Moose or Rick the Peanut Man is next.

Posted by kaseyswagger

11:35 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Pentland needed to go if you cant get hitters to get 3 pitches into a at bat you deserve to be fired.And if the players continue to not take direction then get rid of them if Yuni could work counts he would be a constant .320 hitter but since he a Vlad Guerrero strike zone and is no VLad Guerrero he is negating his own potential.

Posted by rightwingrick

11:37 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Pentland was hired because he fit with Bavasi's philosophy of hitting...go up there aggressive and swinging. Unfortunately, in an era when pitching is everyone's weakness and not one team has five starters who can throw strikes, we toss that advantage right out the window by training guys to go up there swinging away. We also draft for that (see Carlos Triunfel and Greg Halman). Sorry, but .315 on-base percentages just don't get you there in this era. As much as our top managment dislikes Oakland leadership, they ought to read "Moneyball" and pay attention anyway.

Posted by Sexson Mendoza

11:37 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Much deserved. Pentland said last season there was nothing wrong with the offense, despite all the evidence to the contrary, and that he just sits back and marvels at how amazing this team is on offense. This despite the fact that they were 12th in the league overall in OBP and runs scored. Now their bad habits at the plate have caught up with them and they are no longer an average offense, but arguably the worst in the league with the lowest OBP in the entire league.

Posted by David Gee

11:40 AM, Jun 09, 2008

I just read on espn.com that Bavasi made the move in the hope that a "different voice" would improve things. Improve things? To what, a 75-87 record by the end of the season? Why does management think that this season is still salvagable? Oh yeah, so with a strong finish Bavasi can keep his job...again.

Posted by Bickerstaff

11:42 AM, Jun 09, 2008

"Pentland is the best hitting coach in the business, it's really too bad he had to take the fall for the inept play of players being paid millions of dollars."


Lol, ya this is like saying Bloomquist is the best power hitter the Mariners have. Pentlend did nothin for the hitters this year, if its not at least partially his fault, then why do we have coaches at all??

Posted by wabubba

11:49 AM, Jun 09, 2008

Geoff,

I think it was a "gritty performance" to post today at all considering the heat. Just gritty.

It would have been nice of McLaren to call Bedard out after the game rather than compliment him. He might have earned back some semblance of credibility rather than see his conitinue to diminish daily.

Like your sense of humor, though.

Posted by John_S

11:59 AM, Jun 09, 2008

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Chris%20Tillman&pos=P&sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=501957

Would be nice to have Chris Tillman in the system right now. He would've been a nice fit in the rotation in a couple of years when we don't have Bedard

Posted by andre

12:00 PM, Jun 09, 2008

CAN YOU FEEL THE MOJO RISING?? LOL oh what a lost season...it's comical really...

Posted by scrapiron

12:03 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Jeff Pentland's claim to fame was that he turned Sammy Sosa into a power hitter. His lack of success with MLB hitters since then makes one think that chemicals had more to do with the success than Pentland's influence.

One of his main objectives when he came here was to ensure that Beltre and Sexson were the primary power and RBI guys for the team. I'd say he failed there.

Everyone loves Uncle Lee. Let's hope he can be a calming influence. It can't hurt.

Posted by Ryan

12:06 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Well said, Geoff. I think you nailed it.

Posted by Over and out?

12:10 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Self-preservation finger-pointing, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe the best thing that might come of this Elia maybe instilling some discipline - yesterday's 9th inning in a one run game, you gotta look at more than 5 pitches to end the game IMHO...

Posted by C&B M's Fan

12:12 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Quite a few posters seem to be enamored with the idea of blowing the team up and bringing in new players. While I agree that the only stat our team leads in is the suckage meter, I want to know exactly where the players replacing Suckson, Vidro, Silva, et al would come from. Our minor league players who are 'ready for prime time' consist of Clement right now and Bavasi was quoted last week as saying that no one interested in making trades this far in advance of the trade deadline.

So, if the FO does go with blowing up the team, where are they magically going to get these replacements?

Posted by scrapiron

12:13 PM, Jun 09, 2008

News I'd like to see:
"Bill Bavasi has an excellent and proven track record, and those of us who have worked with him are well aware he knows how to build a roster,'' Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said in a release. "Unfortunately, we have consistently, and for an extended period, underperformed as a team and we are hopeful that a different voice might help the situation.'
-Howard Lincoln on the hiring of Chris Antonetti to replace Bill Bavasi'

Posted by Fiberglass

12:14 PM, Jun 09, 2008

this team is gasey. This team has more gas than thin turbos with o2 on the fast and the furious.

Posted by scrapiron

12:18 PM, Jun 09, 2008

C&B - We've been talking about that for a long time here. The Mariners need to get rid of the over 30 crowd. Unfortunately, the other GMs know this and aren't going to give us anything of value in return. At this point it's simple addition by subtraction, with an extended tryout for the young talent.

Replacing Sexson with Ibanez at first, putting Reed and Balentien fulltime in left and right field, and putting Clement at catcher is guaranteed to make the defense better, and possibly the offense as well. And that's without adding anyone else by trade. I would suggest that all trades focus on prospects that we probably wouldn't even see in Seattle until 2009 anyway.

Posted by RogerC

12:19 PM, Jun 09, 2008

As Art Thiel wrote last week the changes are needed at the top for this team to win again. There is a nice article in USA Today about Mike Sciosia who was hired by at the time new GM Bill Stoneman after the 1999 season. After the hiring of the new GM and then the new manager Sciosia, the Angels began to erase decades of mediocrity. My point is that prior to the Stoneman / Sciosia regime everything about the Angels franchise was mediocre. The Mariners have become the new Angels of the pre-Sciocia era (including the broadcast booth with Niehaus, but few will agree with me on that). Itís time for the Mariners to change the culture from the top down like the Angels did in 1999. Since that year the Angels have had a winning record in 7 of the last 9 seasons, including one World Series Championship and three division crowns since then. I do not have confidence that the Armstrong / Lincoln duo can pull off a competent replacement for Bavasi because nearly every personnel move they have made since Pinella quit has been a bust. Well, they almost had it right with field manager Bob Melvin, but Bavasi made the mistake of firing him and pitching coach Brian Price. I cannot ignore that Melvinís Diamondbacks are in first place, and Bavasiís managers have been mediocre like the oneís he had in Anaheim: Terry Collins and Marcel Lachemann)

Posted by scrapiron

12:25 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Adam - Peter Gammons reported at the MLB draft that Billy Beane put an emphasis on defense this year, and drafted the best defensive players he could find.

I wonder how he is evaluating defense. Is he relying on scouts, or is he using Zone Rating or some other defensive statistic? Maybe he's developed his own evaluation method.

Posted by tevis

12:26 PM, Jun 09, 2008

This is kind of like General Custer firing his soldier for ineptitude. What a joke.

Posted by Chief Baghead

12:27 PM, Jun 09, 2008

The Bagheads speak: This is a cover-up to Bavasi and the front office's poor decision-making.

Get your bags ready...July 19th we speak.

Posted by JI

12:30 PM, Jun 09, 2008

That was excellent, Geoff. Bravo!

Posted by Donovan

12:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Nobody should be overanalyzing this move, or trying to assess the intent of the club here. They know this won't change anything. The season is done and everybody knows it. Bavasi is toast and everybody knows that (Bill most of all). By extension, Mac and his entire staff are dead men coaching. There is no realistic chance of any of them keeping their jobs beyond this season now. The only question is the timing of their departures For a lot of reasons, you don't typically kick off a rebuilding campaign in June. Publlicly, you have to pretend that you still have aspirations for this year, if only for the gate receipts. When we get closer to the end of the trade window in July, things will start to get interesting. Until then, the main concern of the FO is keeping fans interested. This move was solely for that purpose. Nobody in the M's organization thinks it will make the team better, least of all Bavasi. His turn to fall on his sword will come eventually, and he knows it. I think he'll be a good soldier and do it on cue. Maybe he can keep a position in the org next year, but it won't be GM. No real reason for the team to act on that now though, not until they can talk to replacement candidates. You can fire Pentland, precisely because the hitting coach is so irrelevant.

Posted by Ziasudra

12:35 PM, Jun 09, 2008

To Roger C - I was in Anaheim in the 60's and 70's, so I know firsthand the Angels' plight then - including the most boring announcer I ever heard (his name escapes me. . . .)
Actually, I came to Seattle in 1980, and the same boring announcer was here. I left in 1987, and when I reutrned later the announcer was much improved. My memory was that he could not make a boring team interesting, but might get enthused over a good team. But, most Seattle fans didn't know him in Anaheim, or remember him from 1980.

Pentland may be a good hitting coach, I have no first hand info. But, Melvin was castigated as lousy, but with a different team, different FO, he seems to be alright. How did that happen?
Well, the only reason I look at the news anymore is to see if any deadwood gets cut. . . .

Posted by Dave Clapper

12:42 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Zzzzz. When it's Lincoln and/or Armstrong getting the ax, THEN I'll be interested.

Posted by macdoubter

12:45 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Firing Pentland may not be the answer on offense, but at least there's hope that, if his coaching did have any negative effect on the hitters, at least he won't be there when/if they recall Clement.

Posted by macdoubter

12:50 PM, Jun 09, 2008

what I meant to say was--

Firing Pentland may not be the answer on offense, but if his coaching did have any negative effect on the hitters, at least he won't be there when/if they recall Clement.

Posted by SICK56

12:53 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Notice how pathetic the Mariners commercials are nowadays. Like the one with Felix and the moustache growing contest, or the one about the fungo. They are just not funny anymore, now that all hope of a successful season is gone. I think the saddest part about those commercials, is in the end where you hear poor Dave Niehaus proclaiming "The Mojo is Rising"

man this team sure is making Niehaus' HOF induction year a sorry sack of horsecrap.

Bagheads unite

Posted by B Stain

1:04 PM, Jun 09, 2008

is it possible to change the term "bagead' to "sackhead"? I think sackhead day gets the point across a little better, and is sure to provide more of a stinker.


Sackheads Unite!

Posted by macdoubter

1:08 PM, Jun 09, 2008

...Or how about the FSN advertisement that features a picture of Sexson and says something like "mariners on FSN, all season, all in HD." Great, so now I can really appreciate the awesome display of Sexson's full arsenal--his new stance, his grounder to shortstop, his weak popup, and his embarrassing flail at a ball low and. away?

And all season, too, apparently.

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

1:09 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Pentland allegedly had a hand in Lopez's consistency as a hitter, so he can't be all that bad.

You can't force a veteran (old dog) to learn something new (new tricks). A hitting coach's job is to push a philosophy but he can't go up there and hit for these guys.

It's Bavasi and Mac's fault this happened and Jeff was the easy target.

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

1:10 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Mr. Sabermetrics liked the mustache commercial. If anything, Washout can get a job as Kiefer Sutherland's stand in.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:13 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Has to start somewhere. I completely agree that it's the players who actually need to perform, and that overhauls at C, 1b, RF and DH are necessary for the offense. Also agree that much more drastic management changes are needed. And, that this is a largely symbolic gesture, in a season of too little too late on many many levels.

However.

The entire job of a hitting coach, is to help the offense. Learn what works best for each player, observe how they're deviating from what works best for them, learn how opposing teams pitch to them. Then they find the ways to correct that swing / build that confidence / practice what needs practicing. If they can't assess the players, can't tell them in a way they understand and accept, or both... then they're not a good hitting coach and should be out.

Or do I have an idealized, unrealistic or plain wrong view of what a hitting coach is supposed to do?

Posted by Edgar

1:14 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I had the best commercial. You know the one where I say, "who want to pitch"?

Posted by GivenUp

1:15 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Finally, the FO gets it! Clearly the problem with the bats was Pentland. Now if they'll just continue the trend and dump Stottlemeyer -- clearly all that success he had in New York was nothing more than a fluke -- judging by his pitchers here this season.

Posted by Mike

1:16 PM, Jun 09, 2008

scrap---I read an interview with Beane recently and he referred to defense and that they had something in-house, but he did not elaborate.

Posted by Bums

1:17 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Finally...the source of this whole problem is removed and we can get on with having one of the most disappointing seasons ever.

But, what could I expect? It is the Mariners after all. I need to learn how to hope and not expect. That way I can live a more blissful and 'ah shucks' life.

Posted by Griffey24

1:19 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I can't be the ONLY one who thinks Elia is a better hitting coach than what Pentland has given us so far, can I?
I'm only part way through the posts here, but everything I've read so far seems to indicate no one believes Pentland is part of the problem. I guess I'm just tired of prolonged hitting slumps by the entire team, so I welcome back Uncle Lee with open arms.

Posted by Soonerman22

1:20 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I know at Safeco they are very picky about letting people hang up signs for them game. For example KJR was giving out "K-ROD" signs when Alex had his first game back in Seattle and they were taking them at the gate because they were "inappropriate." I remember someone hung up a, "Need a Loan? Call 1-800-252-ALEX" sign and the Mariners made them take it down.

Anybody want to go over/under on a sign at Safeco this weekend that says something along the lines of "When will it be Howard and Chuck's turn?" Presuming you are able to get it in the gates I have $5 that says it will only be up 10min. before you are told to take it down.

"Who do you think you are? Trust the Mariners. They know what they're doing."

Posted by Movie Buff

1:20 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Top 5 Best Movies to Watch Instead of an M's Game

1. Big Top Peewee
2.Camp Nowhere
3. Hocus Pocus
4. Speed 2 cruise control
5. Logwaters Revenge

Posted by MyEwwwMy

1:22 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I was practicing wearing my plastic Safeway baghead during the game yesterday, when I suddenly passed out and had a terrible dream.......I was stranded on a deserted island with Bill Bavasi, Wally Walker, and Clay Bennett. We got along fine for the first little while, then suddenly Clay offered me his secret stash of Snickers bars if I would come over to his side of the camp...ummm OK (turned out to be the hottest part of the camp....no vegetation or anything, and lots of roaches). Wally saw this and was jealous..he told me he'd give me his secret stash of Beef Jerky AND Beer, if I would come to his side of the camp and knock coconuts off of the tree.......I thought, ummmm I'm not really capable of that, but hell Beef Jerky and Beer!!!......After a few days of struggling to get coconuts (hell, I was full AND drunk!), Bill Bavasi came over with one of the islands monkeys......he was extremely happy to inform me that I'd been traded to the monkey for 2 rotten bananas and a monkey turd.............The monkey and I built a raft together and got the hell off that island.

Posted by scrapiron

1:23 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Mike - Interesting. It's well documented the tools Beane has for hitting evaluation, and he's also developed some nice metrics to evaluate pitching, since he knew exactly when to cut bait on his older pitchers like Zito and turn no names like Dana Eveland into solid major leaguers. It would also figure that the final piece of the puzzle to solve is defense, which has been the one key component that is difficult to judge.

Sure would be nice to talk about a local GM with the same admiration.

Even though Pat Gillick was "old school" as a Mariners GM, he definately had a plan and I admired his work when he was here. The only GM in Seattle that I've respected.

Posted by Where Are You Edgar

1:24 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I am betting my house that Pentland is hired as batting coach on another MLB team and that teams batting average, on base percentage, and extra base hits soar. This is typical of how well former Mariners playersand coaches perform.

Posted by peter

1:28 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Finally...

I thought they would never get rid of Pentland. It is obviously his fault. Give me a break.

Howard, Chuck, and Billy Boy PLEASE do the right thing and step aside and quit having everyone else be the fall guys.

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

1:31 PM, Jun 09, 2008

While I don't think Mel is to fault for the crappiness of Washout, Bedard and Batista this year, I do think he has done some good things with the kids in the pen.

Charlton was preaching the throw inside thing to death and we all saw that when you get your pitchers to do it more than they are used to, it leads to more BBs.

Mel S. should be given another year regardless of who's coaching. Mr Sabermetrics thinks everybody else is expendable. I do not think Mel's success in NY was a fluke. It's Mac's job to overrule his coaches when he needs to. Was it Mel that put Green out there against a lefty batter? No, it was Mac.

Posted by macdoubter

1:33 PM, Jun 09, 2008


Or do I have an idealized, unrealistic or plain wrong view of what a hitting coach is supposed to do?

No. Chris, I share that view, too. And I believe the same general philosophy applies to all of the coaches, including the manager.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If coaches/managers don't matter, then 1. Why do some coaches/managers seem to always get more out of average players/teams than others do, and 2. if coaches/managers really have no importance, what are there for?

Until thses questions are sufficiently answered, I refuse to believe that coaches/managers are nothing more than mere babysitters as some portray them to be.

Posted by Steve

1:34 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Logwaters Revenge?? not sure I've ever seen that movie. let alone heard of it

Posted by James from Walla Walla

1:37 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Geoff,

My thoughts exactly!! The ship has sank up to the gun ports!! Changing one crew member baling water will NOT help!!

David Gee --Hit the Nail on the Head!!

"If Mike Hargrove, who as a player routinely drew 100 walks a season and hit .300, couldn't get these guys to hit properly, what the hell good could Pentland do? The ghost of Ted Williams wouldn't be able to straighten this team out. Let's hope that the guillotine runs like a yo-yo in the weeks ahead!"

It used to drive me NUTS watching A's and Angels
work counts and draw walk after walk. Then one of the hitters would move them over into scoring position. Then some clutch .230 hitter would drive them in. Or, when the did hit a HR there were extra runners on base. Remember, David Eckstein with the Angels? Scrapy is a term that comes to mind. We do not have Scrapy hitters on this team!

Have we had a Grand-slam this year?? How bout a 3-run HR?? Bases leaded double?? Maybe in April?? I certainly do not remember. I have NEVER seen the Mariners hit into more rally ending double playes in my life!! Lopez is the ONLY one hitting consistantly behind the runners. Bunting them over, and a sacrifice fly to get them in.
Ichiro hasn't moved anyone over on a bunt this year that I remember, only tried a couple of time.

Geoff,

Finally, on a different note! Is there any rumors or talk about Mariner players the Blue J's might be interested in??

Posted by piniella fan

1:45 PM, Jun 09, 2008

I haven't drank a sip of Starbucks' coffee since the mess with Clay Clay started (and won't till Howie gets this team back). I think we should apply the same to the M's. Boycott Safeco until either Bavasi, Lincoln, or Armstrong (or all 3) are fired.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

1:47 PM, Jun 09, 2008

If Antonetti was GM you could be seeing what is happening in Cleveland the past few years as far as obsessions with platoons go.

The M's would have 4 outfielders in a merry-go-round of platoons at the corner outfield spots. Imagine seeing Balentien, Reed, Saunders, Ibanez, rotate in and out with instability of declaring an actual starter at RF or LF.

We would have a constant platoon at first base with Sexson and LaHair at first base.

A platoon of Betancourt and Yung Chi Chen at short.

Vidro, Johjima, Clement, would all be rotating in and out of the DH spot. Or they would add veterans like they had in Broussard and Perez at DH. Oh I forgot Bavasi did use sabermetrics in creating the exact DH tandem in 2006. How did that work out?

Thus hindering the development of young talent especially prospects like Saunders and Balentien the next few years as Franklin Guiterrez, Ben Francisco have been hindered.

These platoons caused players like Ryan Garko and Casey Blake, several years to develop at the major league level because they were constantly yanked in and out of the line-up for the sake of platoons.


Careful what you ask for. While anything seems like an improvement over arguably the worst GM in the majors in Bavasi. Antonetti is not a sure fire bet to fix the mess created by the Lincoln and Armstrong regime. Most importantly there's no guarantee that Bavasi is removed from his lifetime contract he has right now under our brilliant braintrust.


Posted by Mike

1:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

scrap--Yeah this FO has been aggravating. There is a ton of statistical information freely available to anyone. Some of the defensive stats are newer and many require a ton of data but we seem to be dismissing them outright while someone like Beane understands they give him an advantage to the point where they develop systems in-house.

Oakland knows that defense matters and we seem to think our defense would be fine if we pitched better.

Posted by Mr. Sabermetrics

1:57 PM, Jun 09, 2008

While Mr Sabermetrics finds the idea of Chris Antonetti intriguing, why would he come here? On top of that, if he DID get the job there is no way Lincoln and Armstrong will let him change anything. They won't hire a guy like that AND this means we will get another retread as GM.

Posted by Mike

1:57 PM, Jun 09, 2008

"Oh I forgot Bavasi did use sabermetrics in creating the exact DH tandem in 2006. How did that work out?"

You make statistical analysis sound like casting spells.

I think it far more likely Cleveland (using their magic sabermetrics) decided to sell while they could on Perez and Broussard. Scratching their heads they likely wondered aloud "gosh, we have a couple of power hitters doomed to fall off of a cliff soon...if only there were an old school GM with a passion for aging hitters.."

Posted by RogerC

1:58 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Bavasiís teamsí on-base percentage stats:
Year Team OBP AL rank
1994 Angels 332 12
1995 Angels 350 5
1996 Angels 338 11
1997 Angels 344 5
1998 Angels 332 10
1999 Angels 319 13
2004 Mariners 331 10
2005 Mariners 314 14
2006 Mariners 325 13
2007 Mariners 337 7
2008 Mariners 305 14

As a benchmark, the 2001 Mariners who won 116 games under GM Pat Gillick had an OBP of 360, #1 in the AL.

Posted by Dana

1:59 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Donovan, nice post. I agree that the end of July and the end of the season are the times to make moves.

Lee Elia was brought in to be more than just a hitting coach. Just wait and see.

Posted by Golgo

2:00 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Do not bother me until Lincoln, Armstrong and/or Bavasi get the ax!!!
It is time, it is due and we as fans should demand it!!!

Posted by m's fan

2:03 PM, Jun 09, 2008

abstract question. does anybody know what we offered jose guillen for a contract this off-season? This is an honest question.

Posted by scrapiron

2:08 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Resin - Antonetti isn't the GM in Cleveland, he just evaluates the personnel and helps build the roster. I don't think he has anything to do with the platoon situations in Cleveland. He is responsible for getting players like Francisco, Garko, Laffey, etc. that you mentioned into Cleveland, which is the sabermetric roster construction strength that could be utilized in Seattle.

How about Kim Ng as GM? Highly regarded, interviewed for the Dodgers GM position, but didn't get the job. An asian female, she has had to overcome many obstacles to become as respected as she is by the good ol' boy GM network in MLB. Partner her with a strong eastern influenced manager like Bobby Valentine and you might have a solid foundation to build around.

Posted by C Cheetah

2:32 PM, Jun 09, 2008

M's Fan,
If you believe what the PI writer (not sure which one) was told from Bavasi, the M's NEVER officially offered Guillen a contract. It sounded like the M's were willing to go $10mil for 2 years, before the steroid issue came up in the press, but...those were only rumors.

Posted by macdoubter

2:35 PM, Jun 09, 2008

M's fan, I don't believe the team offered Guillen a contract. This from the Sea Times:

While Guillen could technically still sign a free-agent deal with Seattle, the team's decision to decline his option means it must pay him a $500,000 buyout. The Mariners could have saved that money had they simply picked up Guillen's option, seeing as how he almost certainly would have declined it and forfeited any buyout so he could seek a multi-year offer on the free-agent market. "They just gave me a half-million for no reason,'' he said with a chuckle. Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi released a statement saying: "Declining the options on Jose (Guillen)...gives us more flexibility as we plan our 2008 roster. In Jose's case, this puts the ball in his court. He can choose to exercise his option with us or go to free agency.

Anyone else laugh when you read "plan our 2008 roster"?

Posted by Donovan

2:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

macdoubter - I don't think anybody is saying that coaches and managers don't matter in general. At least, I'm not saying that. I am saying that no coach or manager can make a lousy team competitive, ergo, they matter very little to this version of the Mariners, who have proven themselves to be lousy. I don't believe there is any combination of coaches/managers in history who could make these guys win consistently. Therefore it is misdirection to worry too much about it. The problem here is the players. That is almost always the problem with losing teams.

Winning teams are another matter. I think managers are primarily ego managers - babysitters if you like. There just isn't that much in game strategy in baseball, beyond pitchcalling, which most managers don't really do. Why are some managers better? Mostly because they are lucky enough to manage talented teams. Beyond that, some guys have a natural talent for dealing with big egos and coaxing them into coexistence for the good of the team. Torre and Piniella come to mind. Others are particularly good at handling young, inconsistent talent with fragile egos. Maybe Melvin fits this mold, while Piniella certainly doesn't. I think Ken Macha did in Oakland, whatever problems he had with the FO. As far as in-game management, I think Scoscia is the best in the business today, but I don't think he would make the M's any better. Knowing what to do is one thing. Having the ability to do it is another.

Posted by Aaron

3:48 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Damn Straight he got fired!!..Fire them all! We payed for this ball park....And we want them gone!!!! Why the hell is this taken so long!!!!

Posted by Mojo Risin

6:02 PM, Jun 09, 2008

Donovan,

You bring up some solid points about this team lacking talent but I think that there are opportunities that coaches need to make to cease momentum and guide there teams to victory. My belief is that we have had chances in many of our games that we simply haven't done that. We are talking about 7 to 10 victories this season that poor fundamental coaching decisions have cost us.

Does this excuse the teams lack luster performance? Not in my mind for the money that is being doled out but the effects of poor game management has an impact on so many levels I think that it is reasonable to demand more of McLaren and to question why he is still the field manager of this team. I would still like to see a major uprooting of the F/O including dismissal of John McLaren. He isn't getting the job done.

There will always be a disagreement between fans as to whether field managers have an impact on the final outcome of ball games and I am in the middle of that group. I am not putting this all on Macs shoulders but he hasn't shown himself capable of making correct decisions when the game is on the line and his calls decide the outcome.

Posted by Patrick F.

8:40 PM, Jun 09, 2008

A move that should've been made in April. Next up, John McClaren.

They should bring in Joey Cora to manage this team.

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