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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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July 14, 2008 9:50 AM

Trade winds blowing

Posted by Geoff Baker

royyals0711 007.jpg

Sorry I haven't posted since right after yesterday's game. Had to write today's stories, then drive to the airport in Kansas City, hop a flight that left about two hours after final pitch, connect to another flight in Houston that was due to take off 45 minutes after my first flight landed (across the mile-long airport) and finally arrive in Seattle and back home just before midnight. But it worked. I'm here. Just did my weekly Talkin' Baseball segment on the Mitch in the Morning show on KJR AM 950 a couple of days early. Jayson Stark of ESPN had a scheduling conflict this week, so we swapped time slots. Our conversation today had plenty to do with the July 31 trade deadline and ranking players.

Here's how I would rank the M's players most likely to be traded:

1. Arthur Rhodes
2. Erik Bedard
3. Jarrod Washburn
4. Raul Ibanez
5. Adrian Beltre

I say this with regards to what both Jim Riggleman and Lee Pelekoudas said in today's story wrapping up the pre-All Star portion of the schedule.

"I don't feel that we're going to be moving people just to move people,'' Riggleman said. "Some of our higher-profile players that some teams might be interested in, they're not going anywhere unless we are just overwhelmed with something that you just have to listen to.''

As for Pelekoudas: "We want to make changes. I think that's what we said a month ago. Whether they occur in the next two or three weeks, or in several months, remains to be seen. We're not going to make change for change's sake.''

You can read those quotes different ways. Some of it sounds like posturing, trying to drive up the price of players by saying you're not going to hold a fire sale. But some of it is grounded in reality. This team has a terrible offense power-wise. The two offensive players drawing the most interest right now are middle-of-the-order hitters who have been productive when it comes to power. Get rid of them, the offense could be decimated and this team has a shot at losing 110 games.

royyals0711 010.jpg

Does that really matter?

Yes, I think it does. A team charging fans full price on tickets has an obligation to put a major league product on the field every night regardless of its position in the standings. This offense is very close to not being of major league caliber. Take Beltre or Ibanez out of there -- without a suitable major league replacement coming in -- and I think you cross over the line. This team is barely winning any games, even with starters throwing quality starts each and every night. You can't, in good faith, charge fans full price knowing the team you're putting out there is only capable of winning once or twice per week under the best of circumstances.

So, that's how I see it. That's why I have Ibanez and Beltre rated so low in my top-five.

It makes sense to trade all five of those players I've named. But the return has got to be worth it.

This is not the same as with Richie Sexson. Taking Sexson out of the equation was not going to decimate the offense. Yes, he can hit lefties. But he was only going to face them in about 25 percent of the games played by his team. That's why I do believe the line about his "body language" contributing to his departure. The team was willing to keep him around to help in limited fashion. But in the end, it decided that his limited contributions were not worth the price of any serious clubhouse distraction. This team has had big clubhouse problems this year. Coaches have said so. The outgoing GM and manager said so. A couple of players have alluded to it in private. Carlos Silva hinted at it in public. If you still choose not to believe it, that's your perogative. I'll stick with what the guys who are in the actual workplace have had to say. So, yes, the concern about Sexson contributing to another clubhouse problem was both valid and real. This team has finally gotten itself to the point where it looks to be playing as a team and staying competitive in games. Sexson wasn't adding much to that equation, with just a couple of homers since May 24 and barely any extra-base hits.

Beltre and Ibanez are not in the same boat. They contribute. Not as much as was expected, but they are what passes for contributors in this train wreck of a season.

So, I'd have Rhodes No. 1. Bullpen arms are at a premium come deadline time, especially lefthanded ones. Rhodes showed again yesterday that he can still get guys out in key situations. The M's have other lefties they can go to. Losing him won't decimate the team. But he can be of value to a contender and possibly fetch something decent prospect-wise in return.

Bedard is generating interest from other teams. Even as a five or six-inning pitcher in the AL, that still translates to six or seven frames in the NL. It's becoming clear there is little interest in the M's extending him beyond 2009 -- either from their end or his. His value might never get higher than it is right now. Because there are still teams that consider him an "ace'' capable of going seven-plus innings with those one or two runs allowed. If the M's hang on to him and he keeps going five or six the rest of this season, his value could be diminished. Pat Gillick is planning to retire as Phillies GM at the end of this season. Think he'd rather have Bedard now, giving him a shot at one last playoff run? Or wait until the winter so his replacement GM can look good? Something to consider. I know the M's are less than pleased with how Bedard has taken the ball this season. Bill Bavasi made a veiled reference to that in his departing press conference. I'm not saying he's faking any of his injuries or taking too long to recover. That's been the knock for years on A.J. Burnett, another pitcher drawing significant interest this trading season. I'm simply stating the overall feeling I've gotten from members of this organization in relation to Bedard. That would be one reason -- beyond mere stats -- why the team would want to shop him now. But he has to take the mound again first. Probably twice. That's a given. When there's interest in a player and a willingness by his team to deal him, the player is usually dealt. That's why I'd rate Bedard second.

Washburn is third on my list. His results have been a lot better going on seven weeks now. Once again, a guy who can steadily go six innings in the AL can usually throw seven in the NL. At worst, he's a solid, middle-of-the-rotation arm in the NL for a price of just under $10 million next season. The money is the one thing that could cause teams to shy away. The M's might have to eat some. Or, they might not. We'll see. The one thing Washburn won't bring in is a top-notch prospect. This would be strictly a money move. I don't know how convinced the team is that Washburn can keep doing what he's doing (the last seven weeks, anyway) beyond this year. With little hope of contending next season -- and other arms waiting to break into the rotation -- it makes sense to move him now, even if the team has to eat a little cash. It's a lot less cash than it looked like they'd have to eat back in May.

On Ibanez, plenty of interest, but as I mentioned, losing him hurts this offense big. The team loves Ibanez's professionalism. How he works to his maximum potential each and every day, regardless of his stats, or how the teamis doing. Not every Mariners player has the same ethic and approach. The M's see him as a guy who can teach the rest of the team how to play the game right. With help, of course. He's not going to do it by himself. But he's one possible answer, even at his age. The big question is whether or not he'd want to come back to this mess next season. Or leave as a free agent and try to win a title someplace else. Remember, there is plenty of interest in him right now.

Beltre is the best defensive infielder this team has. He's usually good for power and average as well. That's a good combination and makes him one of the more tradeable pieces this team has, even for the money. He's got one year left on his contract after this one and is thought to want to head back to the Los Angeles area after that. There is a report out in Minneapolis, by a writer I know, whose sources have proved accurate in the past, that the Twins have asked the M's about Beltre.

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But consider that Beltre is owed about $17 million between now and the end of 2009. If the M's are holding out for a package of prospects, with that cash, that could be a whole lot for a tight-fisted organization like the Twins to swallow. Remember, you lose Beltre and that's a big hole in the offense -- his numbers with RISP notwithstanding -- and on defense. For a team already losing big. It's an impropbable trade scenario on both sides. That's why he's last on my top-five list.

All of the guys I've mentioned are worthy and have value. Note that I've left Ichiro off that list. It would make sense for Seattle to consider dealing him, as we've discussed before on this blog. But he makes too much money right now for a guy whose last extra-base hit was a month ago and who now stays glued to first base after every single because of what we figure is a sore hamstring. Those intangibles he brings to the table are not as evident in right field or on the basepaths. In other words, the returns would not be enough. So, I'm positive he's staying in Seattle for now.

By the way, Ryan Rowland-Smith has his latest blog post up. Check it out. Here's my favorite quote from that:

"My favorite guy to watch is Roy Halladay because he is so locked in and hates getting taken out of games no matter what. That guy is a great role model for me, great stuff or not, nothing else matters to him but winning the game!''

Amen to that.

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Posted by Sean

10:03 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Where can RRS' blog be found?

Posted by Nat

10:08 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Good stuff, Geoff. I agree with your order of possible trades. Got a link for RRS' blog?

Posted by phillie12

10:11 AM, Jul 14, 2008

The M’s lucked out by scoring on the rundown error yesterday. They still displayed some crappy fundamental baseball. They are a poor baserunning team. Jeff Clement needs to learn to get the ball in play somewhere with a runner at third w/ less than two down. A strikeout is unacceptable. And can somebody please explain to me the popularity with going on contact with the infield in and less than two outs? What ever happened to the strategy of making the ball be through the infield in this situation? Time an again I see the “go on contact” strategy employed on groundballs and the runner is meat at home, yesterday’s blown rundown being the rare exception. The contact play is fine with runners at first and third and no outs. You stay away from the double-play, try to get in a prolonged run-down and exchange first and third with no outs for second and third with one out. Good baseball. But breaking home blindly on a come-backer to the pitcher or any groundball with the infield in? Please. Stay put to live for another batter and stop running yourselves out of innings.

Posted by fire_chuck_already

10:11 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Better trade Yuni first if you are going to move Beltre, because the absense of Beltre will make Yuni's defensive issues very apparent.

Posted by Bryce

Posted by Walrus

10:11 AM, Jul 14, 2008

I realize that the season is only half to 60% over, and this would not be your normal style, but.....

Could you write an article on what we could expect next year from the current guys we have on the roster, and thus what in your opinion needs to be doen to give us hope for the future.

Posted by Bill

10:13 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Isn't trading Bedard a move just to make a move? More so than trading Ibanez who is a free agent after the season.

I'm surprised more teams aren't interested in Yuni, especially the Dodgers and the Braves.

What about trading away the clubhouse cancers (whoever they may be)?

Posted by jimmy

10:15 AM, Jul 14, 2008

"This offense is very close to not being of major league caliber."

How about we really start by not having Vidro bat 4th? I do see the logic in keeping Ibanez and Beltre - however, until this team sees how ridiculous the lineup is it will continue to be the laughing stock of MLB.

I do think we should trade Ibanez - he can probably get us a few decent prospects in return.

Posted by Nat

10:17 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Thanks, Bryce! So cool that he has a blog.

Mike, btw, thanks for the excellent 9:38 post on Ichiro. Articulated beautifully.

Posted by Geoff needs a new travel agent

10:28 AM, Jul 14, 2008

I'd like to know Geoff why your travel arrangements are always such a nightmare. It seems like every road trip you have a flight that leaves 45 minutes after the game is hopefully supposed to end, and you write stories while driving to airports etc. etc.

I remember specifically earlier in the year you were in LA covering the series and I want to say the M's were coming home right after that for a home series and you were like frantically racing to the airport to catch one of the 600 flights between the 5 major LA airports and Seattle.

Posted by scrapiron

10:28 AM, Jul 14, 2008

I would only allow Pelekoudas to trade:
1 Arthur Rhodes
2 Jarrod Washburn
3 Raul Ibanez

I would not let an interim GM make a blockbuster trade of Erik Bedard or Adrian Beltre. I also don't agree that Bedard's value is at its highest right now. Right now he has the stigma of a short game pitcher. Let him put a string of 7 or 8 inning games together and his value will skyrocket. That's why I say let him rest over the all star break, and then see if he can get it going in the second half. Then this off season you might be able to get a package close to what the Orioles got.

Posted by scrapiron

10:30 AM, Jul 14, 2008

jimmy - If Prospect Insider's rumor mill is correct, Jose Vidro will be released just after the all star break. So we won't have to see Pepe hitting cleanup any more. Finally something to look forward to!

Posted by Oly Mike

10:32 AM, Jul 14, 2008

On the previous post scottm and were debating the various players. As I have stated I believe that, now the infamous 5 with Sexson gone, Vidro, Johjima, Washburn, Silva and Batista should go!!!!!. Because they all make huge sums of money and don't come anywhere close to deserving it. That is why I beleive they are a problem in the clubhouse. They are not carrying their weight at all. Other players like Beltre, Ichiro, Ibanez, Bench players (Cairo, Burke & Bloomquist), the Bull pen and even Bedard may not be stellar, that is for sure but they are not "LOSERS" pulling down Big paychecks and make people say "Here we go again" when they show up on the field. At least I have some confidence that Bedard might win when he pitches, but with Washout, Silva & Batista I have come to expect loss after loss. And YES I know the Mariners are stuck with some of these LOSERS because of Money and contracts. I am going to have to succumb to that argument and see some of the infamous 5 stay around into next year or so (YUCK more misery). Although I don't have to like it and I believe that until they are all gone this team will continue to SUCK!!!

Posted by Zack

10:43 AM, Jul 14, 2008

God it would be dumb to trade Bedard now. We made a huge mistake in acquiring him in the first place, but unless he gets healthy and starts pitching better we're not going to get much of anything for him so we might as well hang onto him. And I second what Scrapiron said, do you really want to try to make a blockbuster deal with an interim GM?

"I know the M's are less than pleased with how Bedard has taken the ball this season."

Man, this stuff pisses me off. By all accounts he is the same guy who in Baltimore was standoffish to the media and battled persistent injuries. Ask anyone in Baltimore before or after this trade and they'll tell you that he's a great pitcher who's a bit standoffish and has some durability concerns. The FO ignored this stuff before the trade and now are using it to make excuses.

Posted by Eburg T

10:51 AM, Jul 14, 2008

If you still choose not to believe it, that's your perogative. I'll stick with what the guys who are in the actual workplace have had to say.

I don't think the question is whether or not bad chemistry is occurring, but rather whether or not bad chemistry matters to a team's on-field results.

Saying otherwise is really begging the question.

Posted by Miles

10:55 AM, Jul 14, 2008

The likliehood of trades is really dependent on 1) whether the goal is a retool verus a rebuild and 2) whether Pelekoudas is trusted to make the moves.

If the goal is a retool, then trading any of the players Geoff listed other than Rhodes is risky. The others are all solid type starters and would have to be replaced if you think you can win next year. That means free agents because we are not likely to get proven major league ready talent in return for any of them. You might get good high minors prospects, but as we're seeing with Clement, Balentien, etc., those guys can take some time to figure things out, if they do at all.

If the goal is a retool, I could see Pelekoudas' hands really being tied with the organization feeling that they can make moves in the offseason depending on what the next GM thinks is possible. In that scenario, they won't trade Bedard, Beltre, or Washburn because they all are signed through next year. Maybe Ibanez since he's a free agent, but do you want to ditch a productive hitter with long-term ties and loyalty to Seattle? Do we really want another Moyer situation where we traded "a guy at the end of his career" away and found ourselves a few years later still watching him be productive somewhere else?

If the goal is a long-term rebuild, then sure, trade them all. Trade Putz, Jojima, and any other older veterans you can as well.

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

11:00 AM, Jul 14, 2008

So we have to hold on to the guys that have produced a losing season in fear of having a losing season?

That's nonsense to me. The entire infield should go bye bye IMHO.

I don't like it when teams try to replenish their farm system by trading their major league players. That doesn't make sense to me either. I think we can get good major league players for our guys. They are good players. They just don't play well together. They're having these clubhouse issues or whatever - get rid of them. Please.

Posted by C.J.

11:00 AM, Jul 14, 2008

I heard there was a possable trade of Raul Ibanez to arizona.I for one would be bummed if that happened.I would love to see Raul go to a talented and young team where he could be a veteran presence with a chance to win,but loseing him would sting.To me he is one of the only true Mariners.

Posted by Ry

11:06 AM, Jul 14, 2008

"A team charging fans full price on tickets has an obligation to put a major league product on the field every night regardless of its position in the standings."

Complete BS. As a fan, I'd much rather watch a bunch of prospects develop than a bunch of vets flame out. At least with the former situation, you have some hope. There's none with the latter.

Posted by Nick in pdx

11:06 AM, Jul 14, 2008

I know it's ostensibly a post about trade value, but after getting off on that tangent about "have to field a major league roster" I am flabbergasted that you failed to mention that the team is running out a #4 hitter who is the utter definition of "not major-league caliber".

You're worried about trades resulting in the team not fielding a competent roster, and you can't even mention Vidro? Again, I can't believe you call yourself a beat writer yet you can write this post while ignoring him altogether.

Posted by Mike

11:06 AM, Jul 14, 2008

"If you still choose not to believe it, that's your perogative. I'll stick with what the guys who are in the actual workplace have had to say. "

I agree eith Eburg T about this. Of course the clubhouse is lousy now and it is probably a little better after a win than a loss. But did you think the clubhouse was bad when the team was 11-11?

Again, the biggest reason for our collapse was that we got horrid offensive output from a few key veteran hitters. I find it hard to believe that Kenji, Vidro and Sexson didn't hit because of a bad clubhouse.

Posted by DC902

11:12 AM, Jul 14, 2008

As for Pelekoudas: "We want to make changes. I think that's what we said a month ago"

This guy is an idiot. Lets hope the Chris Larson/Pat Gillick rumor is true...

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

11:25 AM, Jul 14, 2008

If JJ can come back healthy and Josh Fields is anything close to what is advertised, I feel very good about our bp for next season. This would make it a 6 inning game for the sp and Bedard's pitch count wouldn't be such an issue. I think you need to keep at least one veteran l/h for the rotation and this would preferably be Bedard who has shown he can look dominant for at least 5 -6 innings. I just hope that we don't use the salary savings from Sexson, Vidro, and possibly Washburn to overpay for plodding home run hitters who clog the bases and can play only 1B or DH.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:33 AM, Jul 14, 2008

This blog post should depress everyone who has any interest in the Mariners. Not only do we have minimal players with trade value, our minor league farm system is depleted and in shambles. There is no player major or minor who really is a carrot for other teams in the trade market.

We have Bill B, Chuck Armstrong, and Howard Lincoln to thank for this situation. And if all be known, I bet acting GM Pelekoudas is deeply responsible ,as well.

What will we ever get with the hand we hold? Even losing teams would find no prospect in our system an upgrade for their situation.

I'm with a previous blogger who wrote that we should identify the cancers and get rid of them first. The clubhouse culture evidently is stressed, uneasy and stinky. Best we send off the bad apples. At least then, good positive attiudes will prevail translating to more games won.

Posted by scrapiron

11:41 AM, Jul 14, 2008

If your batting order was:
#3 Alex Rodriguez
#4 Jose Vidro
#5 Manny Ramirez
#6 Richie Sexson
What would happen? Every pitcher in the league would pitch around A-Rod to get to Vidro, and pitch around Manny to get to Sexson.

This season we've seen pitchers pitch around Ibanez and Beltre because they've been in the above situation all year. What's worse is these two also don't like to take a walk, so they've really had to struggle to hit tough pitches.

No, Ibanez and Beltre are not your problems with this lineup. Getting them protection in the batting order is the problem. Riggleman must have been joking when he said Vidro was hitting cleanup to provide protection. Funny joke, Riggleman, we'll miss you when you're gone.

Ibanez should still be traded to a contender, but I certainly wouldn't be reluctant to sign him as a free agent to be our DH next year.

Posted by Nat

11:50 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff, I think you're putting too fine a point on clubhouse chemnistry. Winning breeds clubhouse chemistry! These coaches, unnamed of course, no sooner have an opinion about the so-called problem clubhouse and then the media runs with it. I think the TNT mentioned that the Sherriff was one of those who had his say about this clubhouse.

Norm Charleton speaks only for himself. I've heard him on the radio in the past - meaning a year or two ago - and I wasn't impressed with him at all. Just because a guy has been a nasty pitcher at one time doesn't mean he has great insight into all things baseball. His opinion is just that: one person's opinion.

Carlos Silva had a veiled reference to a player who looks out only for himself and not the team. Some made an assumption he was speaking of Ichiro. Who knows? Who cares? The only thing I took away from that is that Silva has his opinions - and a big mouth. When asked others in the clubhouse said they didn't perceive that there was anything amiss in the clubhouse that a winning record wouldn't fix.

And whatever Bavasi and Mclaren had to say about clubhouse problems I would personally take with a very large grain of salt. In all honesty, I haven't put much faith in what either of them had to say for a long while anyway.

But if these flimsy comments are the only thing that the media references for a 'clubhouse in disarray' topic in order to make news, it undermines your credibility.

Btw, Geoff, having said that, my sincere congratulations on the award for your blog. You've singlehandedly created an interesting forum for baseball fans of all shapes and sizes to interact with you and one another on a wide assortment of baseball-related topics. With this award you truly have something to live up to now.

Posted by ray

11:50 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Someone commented yesterday about the stupidity of keeping both Bloomquist and Cairo and putting them in the lineup on a regular basis. Granted they should not be everyday players, but they are both smart ballplayers and they give 100% whenever they play.

For example, check the combined totals for Bloomquist, Clement, and Cairo (6, 7, 8 hitters) vs Betancourt, Ichiro, and Lopez (9, 1, 2 hitters) for yesterday's game. Without their efforts, the Mariners probably lose that game.

The players that should be leading the way and helping this team get straightened out are too often silent. As Carlos Silva said earlier in the year, some guys are satisfied with their effort as long as they get a couple of hits and their stats look good. I'd prefer players who put winning first, and in my mind Bloomquist and Cairo fit that category.

Posted by hugh

11:55 AM, Jul 14, 2008

Does it really matter how many games out of first place you fininsh when you're going to finish last regardless?

Posted by Chuck

12:05 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Keep Eric Bedard. His trade value will only go up. also, strange how people feel sorry for Silva for doing 97 pitches and going six innings and getting a no decision, but if it happens to Bedard they call him a wimp. The way Felix got the quick hook in his last start, I think the new Manager is pulling the starters after 6 innings.

Posted by The Centerfield Bum

12:09 PM, Jul 14, 2008

The M's have good depth at pitching; therefore, it makes sense to trade pitching.

I agree that is big problem trading either Ibanez or Beltre due to their contribution to the offense as well as the clubhouse. Furthermore, the M's don't have anyone they could call up now to play third at the major league level; therefore, you're probably be looking at situation where Bloomquist or Cairo would have to man third until the M's acquire somewone who can play that position.

Posted by Esteban

12:23 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff wrote: “So, I'd have Rhodes No. 1. Bullpen arms are at a premium come deadline time, especially lefthanded ones.”

Which naturally begs the question: I wonder what top prospect the O’s will parlay Sherrill into?

Posted by mpenseur

12:31 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I have a couple thoughts/questions about Bloomquist. Does he have significant trade value?

Second, if you have a powerless team, why not put him out there as DH instead of Vidro, with a greenlight to steal every time he gets on? His offensive numbers can't be any worse. I don't know who else the Mariners have with stealing (other than a healthy Ichiro) ability. Reed? But it seems like "little ball" is the only hope for a punchless team.
Why not embrace it?

Posted by Patrick

12:35 PM, Jul 14, 2008

A mjor league calibur roster? really? I don't think that should be the issue. Losing 110 games is bad, but so is losing 100 and having Beltre or Ibanez around for appearances isn't a good enough reason to keep them. If trading them can help the team down the road, do it. The farm system is bare. Trading those two guys would garner the most return.

Somebody already said it, but I'd rather watch prospects develop than veterans flame out.

The priorities here are all backwards. You don't want to make a trade so you don't lose 110 games? Sheesh.

Posted by dumb bloggers

12:39 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Sherrill has sucked in his last 12 games...he has reached his limit of usefulness...he has been overused, he's a 1 batter maybe 2batter pitcher...with all this work he is now reverting to form average at best...look at all the blown saves and losses hits given up ops+ etc in his last 12 games era 9.00 4 bs 3 losses...still a horrible trade by us... Bavasi about as bad as it could get

Posted by Esteban

12:40 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff also wrote: “This team has had big clubhouse problems this year. Coaches have said so. The outgoing GM and manager said so. A couple of players have alluded to it in private. Carlos Silva hinted at it in public. If you still choose not to believe it, that's your perogative. I'll stick with what the guys who are in the actual workplace have had to say..”

I don’t know that anyone doesn’t believe you, Geoff. I just think that a lot of people question whether, in the grand scheme of things, it’s of any significant importance or not. When you’re playing sub-.400 baseball there are bound to be some flare-ups. Add in different languages & cultures, backgrounds, sensibilities, the huge amount of time spent together as a group, etc., and I think it highly unlikely that everyone is going to get along in any big-league clubhouse.

My gut feeling is that, if this team were winning, this stuff wouldn’t be an issue at all, although the sense of entitlement that this organization has seemingly instilled in some of its older players can’t help but exacerbate things.

Posted by Brian

12:43 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I think there is a difference between "chemistry" and "culture".

Chemistry is whether or not guys like each other. Plenty of teams have bad "chemistry" and still win. But "culture" is different. That is what I think the players and management are talking about. The M's seem to have a culture of losing. They either expect to lose, or don't mind losing, or won't do whatever it takes to win. They may like each other, but losing is still too acceptable. What RRS said about Halladay " nothing else matters to him but winning the game!'' That is what's missing from the M's, not "chemistry". I think we need to make a distinction between culture and chemistry.

Posted by statboys dad

12:47 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff all good but lets take a look at next season and beyond.

Keeping Raul, Beltre' lets look at what is needed after this season.

Bedard (Trade next July when a young gun
is ready)
Dickey, RRS
Washburn and Silva (B/P trade one with?)
Young Gun?

Catch..Clement, Burke (Trade Joh)
1st......Raul, Morse, Textera?

I like the B/P and the S/P could use one of the new guns to step up and be a 4 or 5?

We need BATS!!

Textera could play LF with Raul and 1st and DH
C/F needs to be a bat as well. I like REED but??

I think JR at a reduced pay rate would do well but at DH,1st base and a fill in at the corners LF/RF.

Who would be a good player to get it going here?

Trading Joh, Wash?,Pushes the door open for Clement and Morrow to hit the rotation. Heck their 1st round pick could jump from summer league to set up?

Posted by Nat

12:57 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Good point, Brian. I tend to be too literal sometimes. There definitely has been a culture of losing which was seen in Mac's body language and time after time demonstrated in Betancourt's mindless flyouts, Sexson, Vidro, etc. etc. The list of examples could go on and on.

Thanks for that clarification.

Posted by Lance

1:07 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff, I'll have to disagree with your trade order. I'd flip-flop Wash and Badard. I'd also have to disagree with your assessment that this is likely the highest Erik's value will be. Just the opposite. It's the lowest. Best to hang onto him and let him pitch his way off this team by putting out the rest of the year for a better winter deal. Wash probably IS at his highest value.

I wouldn't put much stock in what Pelekoudas and Riggleman say about the situation. It's just GM and manager speak. They want to maximize they're positions and sounding desperate isn't going to do it. It's no different then when Andy MacPhail supposedly cut off all Badard talks saying he fully expected him to open the year in Baltimore. It meant absolutely nothing. At worse, you can go through this thing again next July unless he completely blows out his arm.

I'm seriously hoping the Mariners can land some top position-player prospects. They're really not bad pitchingwise, at all. But, they are starving for some major league ready position players. Any position except catcher. Solid young catchers they've got. Anything else, aside from Clement, the cupboard is just about empty, maybe sans Saunders..

Here's my surprise deadline trade. Ichiro okays a deal to be sent to Lou and the Cubs.

I'd also love to see Beltre dealt if they can get a nice return coming back because Lopez is really a third baseman and would best play there for next season.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:07 PM, Jul 14, 2008

"The M's see him as a guy who can teach the rest of the team how to play the game right. With help, of course. He's not going to do it by himself."

I hope the Ms don't really Raul that way. We've had multiple seasons of "good clubhouse guys" who "keep their head down" and "go about their business" and "set a great example", and the people who need that example don't seem to be taking it. Raul's good work ethic means that Raul is playing to his potential, period. He's not what the military would call a 'force multiplier'.

All the interviews with Raul on the subject - in fact, one of your own blog posts a few weeks ago - have made it clear he's not able to lead by example. Doesn't think in those terms, doesn't get in guys' faces, doesn't know how to teach what he does. I can't quickly dig out your blog post from a few weeks back where you were talking about how he articulated his approach to the plate, then asked if he's showing others how to do that, and Raul sounded genuinely surprised at the notion.

Providing a great example is not the same as leading by example. He's a great guy and talented, but not the archetype for what this team needs more of.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:09 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Oh, and for anyone interested in an alternate viewpoint of what Richie was like...

Shannon Drayer's blog post about Richie Sexson

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:18 PM, Jul 14, 2008

And I also agree that it's bizarre to be keeping the same lineup that got them to 20 games out of first in order to avoid losing any further. Or that fans wouldn't/shouldn't pay to see callups and tryouts; the fans who are just there to see and be seen think the team is composed to Ichiro, Felix and a bunch of guys named "Who?", and the fans who actually care, want to see some hope for the future, something different than the same slop sent out night after night.

Unless there's a subtle implication in there that bringing up AAA guys before about mid-August could be interpreted as deliberately throwing games, with all the ethical dilemmas implied?

Posted by mpowercc

1:26 PM, Jul 14, 2008


I'm curious what your take is on the ideas that have recently been floated on some of the other M's blogs regarding Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt. Are these guys tradeable pieces in the view of the organization? Are they likely to bring a good return? I'm hoping for some insight from someone who has regular contact with the key people in the front office.

Posted by mormon girl

1:27 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Going on ground ball contact with a runner on third and two outs is a given if you run it correctly. The runner on third's only responsibility is to ensure the ground ball is past the pitcher or away from the third baseman. When this play is on, the infield is back and they are conceding the run. Our hitters have to be able to show some bat control and score the run. Ideally with a hit, preferably with a sac fly, and adequately with a weak ground ball to the right side. Job done.

Posted by Rubin

1:29 PM, Jul 14, 2008

You disappoint me Geoff.

Ibanez has to go. He is getting old and we need to get younger. We have no one in the farm system that can hit so trade him for a prospect that can hit. Then we can resign him next year. I think you are way off base saying the Mariners can't let fans pay full price to see a non-major league offense. They already have a non-major league offense. We might as well send out young guys to suck then send out old guys to suck.

Here's what I would do. I would keep Felix, Morrow, Clement, Beltre and Ichiro. Trade everyone else for prospects. Bedard should be traded only if you get a good deal. obviously we will never get what we paid, however if some team is dumb enough to offer 2 good prospects (like top 5 in their farm system) then take it. Otherwise we should keep him.

Posted by Ben

1:37 PM, Jul 14, 2008

If we can't get top value for Bedard, then we should hold on to him until the offseason and possibly deal him then. I don't see the point in trading him now if the offer is not near what we gave up for him. That would be the old "buy high, sell low" strategy, which i hear is not recommended.

Hopefully the Phillies and St. Louis feel the heat to produce a contender right now and are willing to give up something very good. I don't really know who the Phillies have in their farm system, but in their big league club - Shane Victorino might be a good piece to go after, but he's not an answer to our power drought. As for St. Louis - Colby Rasmus is the guy i would put at that top of that package along with some other top prospects.

Geoff - do you think JJ Putz is not worthy of adding to the trade list? I know he's been out for a bit and might have that "selling low" tag now, but he should be able to net some great pieces. It would be sad to see him go though.

Posted by Ben

1:41 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Additionally, i saw that Craig Wilson played 1B for Tacoma. Is that the big answer? He did hit a homerun and is hitting for quite a high average there in the limited time.

If that's the teams answer at first... we may be in trouble.

I would also think that Vidro and Cairo would get traded to a contender. Other teams could use their qualities off the bench, while we have no use for them as starters.

Posted by Adam

1:42 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff, again I have to vehemently disagree with your contention that losing 110 games (which is a completely arbitrary number) is an impediment to trading anyone on this roster.

I understand this may just be you communicating the thinking of the FO, but it is ridiculous to think that the possibility of having the worst record in baseball should in any way prohibit moves to improve the team's personnel in 2009 and beyond.

In the first place, the season is already a disaster. Whether the team loses 95 or 105, it does not matter. Fans are angry nonetheless, and it is an insult to Seattle baseball fans (who aren't the greatest, I admit) to assume that they'll notice the different between 95 and 105 losses.

Second, there's no shame in finishing with the worst record in the game. Properly managed teams can come back into contention rather quickly, and have some great draft picks to boot (see 2008 TB Rays).

Third, I'm not exactly sure what team would put Ws and Ls ahead of talent acquisition and development in an already lost season. Oh, wait - I've found one: The Seattle Mariners.

Moving Ibanez and Beltre should be priorities number 1 and 1A as far as I'm concerned. I've seen from a couple of sources that Beltre is itching to get back to SoCal. If that's the case, then by all means put him on the block. You can either get a haul now, or collect two comp picks in the 2010 draft. No point in waiting. Get the players now. As for Ibanez - if you can get talent in return for a 36 year-old player in the last year of a very affordable deal who should really be a platoon DH, you had better do it.

Personally, I'd put everyone on the block other than Felix and Morrow.

That means Ichiro, Putz, Beltre, Bedard, and Ibanez. That means Washburn, Betancourt, and possibly Lopez.

I don't think is a good mix of players - and there needs to be a real change in the Mariner clubhouse.

The A's have shown that a roster with young talent, complemented with good veteran role players, can in fact contend. So I have no problem dealing away some of the best players we have now in order to contend in 2010 or sooner.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

2:01 PM, Jul 14, 2008

"The A's have shown that a roster with young talent, complemented with good veteran role players, can in fact contend."

But can they in fact be a World Series winner that way?

Contend, sure. No argument there. Making the ALDS 5 times, and the ALDS once, in the last 7 - 8 years, is good baseball. But even when they got to the ALCS, they got swept there.

The Oakland A's / Moneyball model is a damn-sight better than what the Ms have now (relying on vets and luck). But it's not the end-all-be-all either.

Posted by yardwork

2:03 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Wonder why nobody is talking about Putz being on the block.

If you consider the following facts that is...

1. Mariners most likely won't contend in 2009.
2. Morrow looks to be more valuable as a closer than he would be as a middle of the rotation starter.

3. Assuming Putz comes back and is healthy after the all star break, certain teams would be intersted in him as a closer or 8th inning man to shorten up the game down the stretch and in the playoffs.

4. He's considered to be no clubhouse problem.

5. He would fetch a decent prospect.

Posted by Waz

2:06 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I have to disagree with Beltre, Ibanez and Bedard. M's have to keep them for awhile.

But yes, Rhodes and Washburn have to go.

Bedard is doing better for Mariners in every start. I will rather M's to have Bedard instead Silva. Silva has to go!!

Get rid of Cairo and Vidro too please. They are useless for Mariners.

Posted by Swung On And Belted

2:06 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I wouldn't expect a big return for Arthur Rhodes. Interesting reading Shannon's blog. I wonder what changed Richie's attitude, his family crisis getting better, or did it honestly bother his conscience the way he had treated her?

I am wondering about what appears to be a double standard regarding pitchers and hitters. If a pitcher gets taken out of a game and visibly shows frustration, even after getting lit up, it is generally considered a good thing. Shows he has heart, wants to win, is a gamer, etc. etc. But when a hitter gets benched for poor performance and shows frustration, it is considered a distraction to the team. Geoff, since you are in the clubhouse everyday, I would like your opinion on this.

I'm not a Richie supporter. Like most fans, I think his getting canned is long overdue. I've been calling for it for a long time and am just as guilty of trashing him on this blog as anyone. Just a little curious about the timing. I mean, I think everyone would love to see Bedard arguing with the manager fighting to stay in games. When a pitcher gets taken out and is seen on the bench portraying bad body language, it's usually accepted. Why the different standard for hitters?

Posted by Esteban

2:07 PM, Jul 14, 2008

On ‘culture’ and ‘chemistry’

You know something about the whole ‘culture’ vs. ‘chemistry’ kind of bugs me. It’s one of those things that sounds almost intuitive until you really start to think about it.

Baseball basically consists of a bunch of individual activities (hitting, catching, throwing), with better teams having more individuals who are better at these activities. In this way, it is quite different from say basketball, where play consists of precise interaction between players.

Given this fact, if ‘chemistry’ is basically getting along, I definitely don’t think it has a causal relationship with regards to wins and losses, as it shouldn’t in any way effect any given player’s ability to hit, catch, or throw. Now, having a winning team might influence chemistry, but not the other way around.

With regards to ‘culture’, again I don’t see how a player’s experience (or a group of players experiences) winning vs. losing is at all salient with regards his/her ability to hit, catch, or throw, the cumulative result of which translates into wins and losses in the present. If you can do these three things well, the rest (i.e., winning) will take care of itself.

As evidence of the above, I present this year’s Rays team. The core group of these players hasn’t had much of any experience winning since arriving in the majors, but they’re doing quite well this year.

I think, unless you’re prepared to hire on Dr. Phil as a special consultant, ‘culture’ and ‘chemistry’ shouldn’t be a major factor when deciding how you’re going to build your team.

Posted by Mike

2:09 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I actually believe we can contend in '09 provided we make a few smart moves and I don't think the moves have to be moves that delay competing in 2010. With a $117M payroll and a savvy GM we might not build a 90 win team immediately but I think we could make it interesting into September.

LL had a piece that tried to take into account that the Ms wouldn't do the smart thing and dump the defense of Betancourt and Lopez. Their point was that if we had gotten just league average offensive performance from RF, DH, 1B and C we'd be on a pace to score ~100 more runs over the course of a season. Replacing Raul in left could also save another 20 runs or so. That's pretty significant. It's also doable.

Like Adam, I'm not against trading anyone (well, not Felix) if the offer is good (USSM has some interesting scenarios). But I don't think we have to blow the whole thing up. Not with such a big budget for payroll. The trick is not to waste it on deteriorating hitters hoping to recapture their swing or expensive back of rotation starters who rely on good defense when we don't have one.

Posted by Mike

2:14 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Chris from B---

The Billy Beane way doesn't have to be the be all, end all, since we have a much bigger budget, but incorporating that type of thinking into our processes makes us a smarter organization. As for World Championships, once you get in the playoffs it's pretty much a crapshoot.

Posted by Auriemam

2:37 PM, Jul 14, 2008

They love Ibanez because of his professionalism and hard work, and how he can teach..

hahahaha.. that's hilarious.. the guy has never been on a winning team in his life..

Who exactly is he "teaching' in our clubhouse?

Get rid of the freakin guy.. your reasons to keep him are absurd Geoff..

As is this notion that we dont want to field a minor league offense the final 2 months of the season, cause we owe it to the fans to watch an offense with IBanez or Beltre...

OMG.. please, just stop..

Also, did u really just say Washburn is at worst a middle of the rotation NL starter? What does that mean? At his best, you think he's a #1 or #2 in the NL.... wow, are u serious? Jarrod must be givin u good interviews or something, cause u sure do love this guy... he and Silva, sounds like youd run through a wall to support those guys..

It's sad

Posted by 11Records

2:39 PM, Jul 14, 2008


If they can get anything resembling good value for Raul they should jump at it. New York seems to be the place. Either the Yankees or the Mets. Both have injury problems in the OF. And both teams can't afford to wait much longer before making a move.

If the M's do trade Raul, and are looking for an answer for LF, (or DH) for the rest of the year so that fans get their money's worth, I have a simple answer. BARRY LAMAR BONDS. What the hell? The season is already a circus. He had a .480 OBP last year. He'll put asses in the seats. And they can sign him just for the remainder of the season.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

3:04 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Top Three List of Mariners Personnel Who Should Be Released Before Other Deals Are Made: Armstrong, Lincoln, Mr. Y.

Top Ten List of Mariners Players to Be Signed:
1-10. Big Bats ... or even Little Bats ... as long as we can get them on, get them over, and get them in.

We've got to score more runs.

Posted by rcc

3:46 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff wrote that the M's have an obligation to put a major league team on the field as they are charging fans a "major league" price. I disagree. The M's not only do not put right now a major league product on the field....they have no problem in putting a third rate product on the field.

For example, they have Jose Vidro on the team....mistake number 1, and they bat him clean up!
They play Miguel Cairo and Willie fact they have all three in the starting lineup at the same time!

No Geoff....the M's have no problem playing a third rate lineup, and that will not change whether they trade Raul Ibanez or not.

Posted by xianbussey

4:06 PM, Jul 14, 2008

What about Bedard and Ibanez to the Marlins for Cameron Maybin OF, Matt Dominguez 3B, Kyle Winters RHP, Logan Morrison 1B. Then Washburn to the Cardinals for Jose Martinez SS, and Mitchell Boggs RHP. Then Betancourt and Beltre to Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus SS, Cody White LHP, Andrew Lamb 1B/OF. and finally Arthur Rhodes to the Yanks for David Robertson RHP, Zach McAllister RHP.

Posted by xianbussey

4:11 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Oh yes and releasing Vidro and Johjima, nobody will take them in a trade and I mean nobody. If Lee Pelekoudas can trade Johjima, he deserves to be named the Executive of the Year in other words it's not going to happen. Nobody will touch Batista, or Silva either, nor Ichiro, reasons you ask. They're performance does not warrant their pay, and all the teams willing to overpay see Mets, Yanks, etc are set in the Rotation department, if they need anything it's bullpen help.

Posted by nedgar

4:53 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I personally think that they should get the best deal possible for Bedard. I don't think he is a good fit here and I think both sides see that. There are just too many holes (offensively) on this team for a healthy Bedard to make a big difference anyway.

I would allay other teams fears about his being a 100 pitch or less pitcher by pointing to his history prior to this year. Assuming his nagging injuries have been the cause of low pitch counts and he reverts to the form of the past two years, then he should be fine. In 2006 he threw 100+ pitches in 24 of 29 starts in which he wasn't knocked out of the game. In 2007 it was 22 of 27. Even this year it was 6 out 7 until these last 4 starts. When he throws 110 pitches, he goes 7+ innings. Just look his game logs from the last few years. I hope that's all it is which would increase his value to teams that know that would have him locked up for next year.

Posted by scrapiron

4:58 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting a rumor that Pat Gillick is part of an ownership group that will buy the Mariners in the off season, and Gillick will become the new president. Sherman also says he expect Brian Cashman to be hired to be the new GM.

Posted by Esteban

5:28 PM, Jul 14, 2008

When Cashman says Gillick ‘did it the right way’, does he mean ‘by cleaning out the farm system’ ?

Posted by al2

5:38 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I still don't understand why M didn't trade Sexson for something? I understand no club want to pay for his salary and he couldn't hit righties at all. According to Geoff, he can still hit lefties and some home run occasionally. It looks good for a NL club. I guess he at least worth to get a single A guy in return if M include most of his remaining salary in the package (M has to pay most of his remaining salary anyways when they release him) If someone could explain it to me, I will appreciate it. Thank you.

Posted by smith

5:39 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Geoff wrote that the M's have an obligation to put a major league team on the field as they are charging fans a "major league" price.

Other than a handful of players, this M's squad plays like a AAA team. Actualy I wouldn't mind seeing them play a couple AAA teams in exhibition games, just to see what happens.

Trade what we can...

Then the M's brass could lower the prices (especially beer) and bring on the kids. Apologize to the fans and then come up with a clever name like AZ did with the "Babybacks"

roll with it, the season is over, might as well let the kids play, at least the will give 110% since they would be playing for their futures

Posted by Esteban

5:44 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Repost (what I really meant to say):

When Cashman says Gillick ‘did it the right way’, is he by any chance really saying that Gillick ‘has managed to purge the farm system of any semblance of value everywhere he’s been, leaving the cumbersome job of rebuilding to other, less fortunate souls’?

Posted by Faceplant

6:00 PM, Jul 14, 2008

"I'd also have to disagree with your assessment that this is likely the highest Erik's value will be. Just the opposite. It's the lowest. Best to hang onto him and let him pitch his way off this team by putting out the rest of the year for a better winter deal."

I totally agree. I don't get why there seems to be a feeling of urgency about trading him. I'm still convinced he's been pitching hurt all year. The M's might do well to just shut him down and let him start 2009 healthy.

"2. Morrow looks to be more valuable as a closer than he would be as a middle of the rotation starter."

Given that he has never been groomed as a starter how could you possibly know this? If Morrow continues to develop his secondary pitches he has the talent to be a top of the rotation starter. I'm not sure he'd be a number one, but he has the talent to be a solid number two.

Posted by kaseyswagger

6:00 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I think Trading Raul is the best move for the Mariners he is the guy that can bring us back a top 5 prospect in some ones organization possibly because 1 he is a good hitter even though he has defensive woes but he can also bring a team draft picks if he leaves.

I think if we trade him to a contender it makes us look good giving him a chance to win.So maybe trade him to a team like the Mets who are intersted then try to sign him next year in Free Agency.

Posted by smith

7:13 PM, Jul 14, 2008

"If Morrow continues to develop his secondary pitches he has the talent to be a top of the rotation starter. I'm not sure he'd be a number one, but he has the talent to be a solid number two."

Faceplant, you have a valid point. Morrow COULD be a solid #2 starter. Right now, we DO know that Morrow is a dominant closer. We even saw how he reacts to failure. He came back yesterday and got the save.

The question is: what is more important to a team, a decent #2 starter, who will have the opportunity to start around 30 games and maybe win 15 at the most? Or is it more important to have that dominant closer, who can get into 50 or more games and save maybe 30 plus?

I'm no math genius, but it would appear that Morrow would give his team more chances at a win as a closer than as a solid #2 starter.

Also, is there more risk of injury, wear and tear on a pitcher if he throws 190 innings a year or just 70?

Posted by tim l

7:39 PM, Jul 14, 2008

a closer is like a dominant position player, much more oportunities to seal wins and help the team. He has the closers mentality , we dont know IF he has a starters mentality. He is more valuable as a closer and that is that.

Posted by -j.

7:55 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Scroll down and read what Adam said. He is 100% correct.

Holding onto Beltre and Ibanez for the sole reason of not losing X number of games is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. I understand the need to have a product on the field to show ticket holders. But to deny those same ticket holders hope for the future in a lost season is worse.

Keeping Ibanez and being worse in 2009 and 2010 because of it is indefensible.

Posted by Erin

8:06 PM, Jul 14, 2008

It's good to see Rick Sutcliffe in the booth tonight

Posted by Brad

8:11 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Saying that culture and chemistry don't affect a team is ridiculous. Flat out ridiculous. Winning helps, but there has to be a spark. If there are weird vibes in a clubhouse, it's going to affect how you play. It affects everything. Just think of your own lives - when things aren't comfortable, everyone gets thrown off.

This team was a trainwreck. Between Sexson being a good guy and struggling, Bedard being prissy, Ichiro doing his own thing, and any of the regular ethnic cultural divides, the clubhouse HAD to be an uncomfortable place to be. And, once the trainwreck starts, it doesn't get better. You have to scrap the train and rebuild the tracks. Sometimes it might not even be anyone's fault. It just happens. Sometimes changes just need to be made, even if there is no fault to be laid.

The M's should pursue a full-on firesale if they get quality in return. They should have done so 3 years ago, and everyone here knows it.

Bedard - Some might think he's more valuable now than next year because he's under control for 1.5 years. On the other hand, that longer timeframe would become more of a liability if he's genuinely hurt. Whatever the case, unless you are all GMs lurking in some M's blog, your opinion on his value doesn't really matter. His value is whatever other GMs feel it is. Our GM's responsibility is to get the best value from another team. The only time your opinion matters on a player's value is when the player actually gets traded. Then YOU can determine if our GM accurately substantiated our player's value. Bottom line is that Bedard's trade value is what other GMs think he is worth. That goes for any player.

Posted by Al

8:28 PM, Jul 14, 2008

I didn't read the whole thread, but the logic in the last couple posts re. morrow is flawed. Clearly, a top starter is more helpful to a team than a closer.

One of you acknowledged yourselves that a starter throws 3-4 times as many innings as a closer. Teams recognize the importance of this, and it's why good starters (and bad ones if you're the M's) are compensated much much more highly than even the best closers.

To say a closer gives his team more chances to win because he makes more appearances is wrong. In order for a closer to even make an appearance, you need 8.5 innings worth of winning contributions from your other players. in most cases, closers don't even come into play unless the starting pitcher does his job for 6-7 innings.

Coming in to clean up for one inning isn't all that difficult compared to shutting down an opponent for an entire game the way a top starter does. Even inferior closers convert upwards of 80% of chances.

Bottom line: Morrow needs to be given a shot to start. He can always go back to the bullpen if it doesn't work out.

Posted by Jonathan

8:46 PM, Jul 14, 2008

By keeping Putz who you know can close, and putting Morrow in the rotation you improve your staff.

On the otherhand you cant trade Putz and put Morrow in the rotation.

Posted by scottM

10:22 PM, Jul 14, 2008

RE: culture and chemistry

The Oakland A's of the early '70s had rotten chemistry yet a great culture of winning.

Yes, good chemistry can be a result of a culture of winning that prevails, but not necessarily.

Young developing teams, such as the Rays of recent years, can have good chemistry, but an underdeveloped culture of winning. It will be interesting to watch this T.B. team after the All Star Break.

Most winning teams have both a culture of winning and good chemistry.

The '08 Mariners have neither.

If I had to choose between a culture of winning or a team with good chemistry, I would choose the culture of winning. Isn't winning why we're here?

Posted by scrapiron

10:22 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Gillick has won divisions wherever he has gone. If he came to Seattle it would be as president, not GM. So he would be an advisor on how to assemble a roster, but it would be up to the GM to build and keep the farm system going.

If Brian Cashman was GM, I don't know that he's all the sabermetrically sound, but he has worked with a large budget, and the Yankees have a better farm system then they have in years.

I've always said the key to success isn't the manager or the GM, but how the two work together.

Posted by smith

10:34 PM, Jul 14, 2008

Al I agree with you #1 starting pitchers, for the most part earn larger contracts than top closers. But in some cases that just isn't true.

Toronto ace Roy Halladay is earning 10 million dollars this year. Met closer Billy Wagner is earning 10.5 million. But for the most part the Ace starter earns more than the top closers.

As a starter, would Brandon Morrow be Ace #1 Mr. Automatic material? Could he duplicate the success of Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy or even Lincecum?

Say Morrow could be that Ace #1 guy. It would probably take two years to reach that level. Imagine that Putz is gone and the M's have no dominant closer. Morrow throws a great game, goes 8 lights out innings, tosses 120 pitches. Leaves the game with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 8th. Enter Generic closer Bob. To make a long story short, Bob is no good, gives up the lead, the Mariners can't come back. M's lose.

You can't win games, if you can't finish your opponent off. Not many starting pitchers go beyond 7 innings nowadays. Which makes bulllpens more important now, than ever.
If that bullpen cannot stop the opponent from scoring, your team will lose more than it will win.

Either way you look at it, you gotta score runs too. Otherwise an Ace starter or a top notch closer really can't help much.

Posted by Walla Walla Girl

10:54 PM, Jul 14, 2008

In the spirit of winning, it is clear after tonight that the Mariners need Josh Hamilton and his left-handed bat!!! Dream on ...

Posted by Al

11:14 PM, Jul 14, 2008

The M's probably could've had Hamilton last offseason if they were willing to give up Morrow for him.

Just imagine an outfield with Ichiro, Hamilton and Adam Jones. 3 natural centerfielders with rocket arms and speed. If only we could go back in time and fire Bavasi 1 year sooner...

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:01 AM, Jul 15, 2008

Take Beltre or Ibanez out of there -- without a suitable major league replacement coming in -- and I think you cross over the line.

The season is meaningless Geoff. The day we fired the GM and skipper is the day the season ended. Even you yourself have admitted the season was over. Not sure what changed your mind, but let me sway you the other way.

Now let's pretend we have some miracle happen for fans and we somehow make the necessary moves to prepare this club for '09 and '10.

Trading Beltre now makes all the sense in the world especially with the Twins desperate for power in a pennant race. He is a question mark with a wrist that needs surgery. Trade him after the surgery and teams will be reluctant to pay full price for him in trade this Winter. He's a free agent after next year. There's rumors Beltre wants out of Seattle anyways. He bolted Dodgertown for Seattle, so it's highly possible he goes where the money is in free agency.

Trading Ibanez for two pitching prospects and one with MLB seasoning in Scherzer sounds like a great deal if Pelekoudas backs off from the outfield prospect he wants in the deal. Ibanez frees up a spot (like there wasn't one already) to take over left field.

Honestly, lack of power isn't the problem with our offense in the climate the M's play in at home. The M's play in cold weather the first two and a half months of the year, sometimes even into June. That hurts our power in our very own home park along with the dimensions.

You would be better off building a team that has gap power and contact ability. Players like Jose Lopez are going to get better. For all the moaning by saberbots to deal Lopez and Betancourt on some stupid site. They rank #1 and #2 in extra base hits if Ibanez and Beltre are dealt. Lopez and Betancourt are cheap young talent under team control even if they still make rookie mistakes. You don't deal them away.

We have gap power in Clement and Balentien. You do tie your arm behind your back paying $17 million for Ichiro who cherishes playing at Yankees stadium. His non-power at a premium corner spot is ideal to be moved. It only happens if his royal highness requests to be traded. Could happen after the season ends.

If you give the second half to Clement with no platoon he will be ready for us next year. Give Balentien the second half playing every day and he could help us next year.

You could try LaHair out over Miguel Cairo and the bat boy. The team should evaluate Bryan since he has to be protected on the 40-man next season. LaHair has an .824 OPS in Tacoma, 26 doubles, 12 home runs in 315 at bats.

I won't hold my breath.

Posted by zDawg

12:19 AM, Jul 15, 2008

Really, I couldn't care less how many games they lose this year.

But don't waste the remainder of this year on meaningless over the hill veterans taking up space. Play the young kids, and trade for more near ready talent, with young prospects added to even the deal.

Use this time to develop and evaluate the future instead of worrying about the past.

Posted by Twins Fan

1:10 AM, Jul 15, 2008

The Twins are just about 15 million under last years player payroll and it was widley Widely reported that the new GM Bill Smith had the green light to spend above last years payroll. Keep in mind this is a team that offered Santana over $20mil/year last year and Hunter $15 mil/year. The $13 mil/year that Beltre gets would not be a problem. Especially for a team that has been known to appreciate solid fielding and has been looking for a legit power hitting 3b for the past decade. Throw in the fact that the Twins need some right handed batters for their lineup and the amount the Mariners were willing to pay for Silva (a pitcher who struggles to control his only good pitch and would be a long shot to make the twins’ starting rotation) I see a strong possibility that if the Twins throw in one of their young starters this trade could be worked out.

Posted by jeff928

5:42 AM, Jul 15, 2008

What a mess this team is. Raul is a fine player, but at his age, he should not have to carry this team offensively. It's time to bite the bullet and trade anyone who could help rebuild this team.

Posted by Brad

6:48 AM, Jul 15, 2008

ScottM - I agree. I thought about that A's team when I was writing that post. Bad chemistry, but a culture of winning. If you know you will win and you know how... You could have all the talent in the world but if your head isn't in the right place then you're not going to make it to the top. Distractions doom winning culture.

The 2002 Giants were a lot the same, with Kent and Bonds at each other's throats all the time.

Posted by Ryan

7:17 AM, Jul 15, 2008

To the person that asked why we didn't trade Sexson:

He is untradeable. He's overpaid and underproducing. We did the right thing by just cutting him loose and eating his salary. All he would have garnered in a trade would be a bag of balls and a resin bag.

Any team that signs him only has to pay him the league minimum, which is $ 390,000. If they trade for him, they take on his salary. Doesn't make much sense to trade for him.

Posted by Ben

9:00 AM, Jul 15, 2008

So is it better or worse for the Mariners that Francisco Rodriguez is filing for free agency after this season?

If we are trying to trade Putz, does that make the market less profitable or more profitable (through competition - see Bedard bidding war).

Hmm... at least the mariners might not have to face him as many times... unless he goes to Texas.

Posted by Elvis

9:33 AM, Jul 15, 2008

Geoff--in all honesty, i think you're on smoke.

the way teams in mid-markets compete is trade their best players around mid-season for a ton of prospects and stock up. The M's have a decent farm system, but they need to learn from the As, Marlins and Rays and start trading some of their players for good prospects that will be ready to go next year. This team will not compete this year no matter whether avg hitters like Beltre or Ibanez are in the lineup and the sheep in Seattle will still go to the games as long as Ichiro is around.

Posted by Choo

9:38 AM, Jul 15, 2008

About the Ibanez and Beltre conundrum . . . the only thing more embarrassing than playing sub-.400 ball with a bunch of kids is playing sub.400 ball with a $117 million worth of veterans. The fans who show up at the park between now and October will be there for the baseball experience - not the winning experience. As for the Ibanez experience, paint a little beard on a totem pole and *bam* twins. The only real debate is which one provides more range in left field.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching Ibanez and Beltre as much as the next guy, but an intelligent allocation of resources to improve the future is long overdue and those two are the only untouchable items capable of fetching more than a pair of grade C prospects.

Posted by Bill

9:49 AM, Jul 15, 2008

Hold up: Ichiro gives a speech in English before the All-Star game and David Ortiz says Ichiro's speech is the reason for winning??? But he's not expected to be a leader for the M's. Hmm...

Posted by bongo

10:00 AM, Jul 15, 2008

We just need to get Big Papi over here to call him out...

Posted by I5

12:48 PM, Jul 15, 2008

Joh's problems began when the coaches changed his stance - at this point in the season, just let him swing any way he wants to - couldn't hurt....

Posted by Dave from the coast

9:19 PM, Jul 15, 2008

This season can be written off NOW. No point in continuing, other than to play out the schedule. I would think virtually anyone on this year's M's club is expendable for the right price. That's ANYONE. With capital letters. No spark, no nothing from this team. If you can call it a "team". Throw the cards up in the air and let 'em fall where they may. Roll the dice. Flip a coin. Whatever. It's gonna be interesting, the pre-trading-deadline soap opera. Fans everywhere have got to be asking themselves, why they watch or listen or go to the games, or even why they should care. "Dismal" doesn't even begin to describe this season. It's a Baseball Wasteland. The implosion of a baseball team. Were the New York Mets ever as bad as the M's are this season? No joy in Mudville.

Posted by glacier

6:47 PM, Jul 21, 2008

I don't think that with the current record of the Mariners and the mess that they have with long term salaries to average to poor performing players to their career averages that any players that are tradable should be off of the table. If Beltre or Ibanez can bring in a decent set of prospects or a few high quality ones they should be traded. This team has shown no heart and while the professionalism shown by these 2 players is good to see on a pathetic roster this team needs to be looking towards 2009 and beyond; period.

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