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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 31, 2008 6:49 PM

Mariners at Texas Rangers: 07/31 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker


We're through six innings and it's a 6-0 lead for the Mariners. R.A. Dickey has allowed just two hits so far. His knuckler seems to be working well, A terrible start by Texas lefty Matt Harrison, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings, gave up six runs -- four earned -- on five hits (three for extra bases) walked five batters and threw two wild-pitches. For once, the M's aren't the worst defensive squad on the field. The Rangers have looked awful. They've booted the ball around left and right. Jose Lopez has his 17-game hitting streak on the line. Needs to come through these next few innings.

They had the "Kiss Cam" going between innings and took a shot of the Mariners' bullpen. Carlos Silva leaned over and planted one square on the face of Roy Corcoran. I kid you not.

As to who takes the roster spot vacated by Arthur Rhodes, it will either be Ryan Rowland-Smith or Jared Wells. If Rowland-Smith comes up, he'll likely push R.A. Dickey to the bullpen. There's also a possibility the team could mix and match Dickey and Rowland-Smith with opponents depending on whether or not they have any kind of track record against them.

A few more things I asked Pelekoudas. I mentioned the obvious criticism he's going to be getting for pulling off only one trade today and what he'll say to answer that, given his team's poor standing and obvious need to improve.

"I'll just say that, right now, we took one step in a process we said was going to be a step-by-step process,'' Pelekoudas said. "And again, repeat that the deadline is an artificial deadline and it's going to be a systematic process of redoing this club. And there are more opportunities that lie ahead. In August, in the off-season, in spring training. It's not going to be an overnight deal to redo the club.''

5:48 p.m.: I waited to put this up because I wanted to give all of you time to dissect and analyze the day in trades and non trades. We've played three innings here in Arlington and the M's have a 4-0 lead. Ichiro has a triple and a double tonight and two runs scored in his first two at-bats. He also somehow managed not to score on an infield single hit up the first base line. Yeah, I guess that hamstring is pretty bad.

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Posted by Go Pilots

5:57 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Some one tell Dave Cameron that Lahair is hitting .400 on this road trip. Lahair seems to have a better future than Clement.

Posted by ricofoy

6:11 PM, Jul 31, 2008

The worst team in baseball makes one minor trade at the deadline. Big surprise. Of course, what did you expect from a team that has an eagle scout as CEO, a clown as president and a traveling secretary as GM. Hopefully, in the offseason, we'll hire a real GM and not some reject from the Argyros era.

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

6:14 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I almost think I would rather see Batista back in the pen, with a rotation of Felix, Washburn, Silva, RRS, and Dickey (no particular order). Dickey seems to get better and better each start, (heck, he didn't allow a hit tonite until the fourth) and I would rather have RRS over Batista. Not sure about when Bedard comes back, then we have a dilemma. I think that would be the time that Dickey and RRS take turns in the #5 spot. If this is timed right, one of them becomes the fill-in for Morrow, so that he can go to Tacoma and stretch out over 3 or 4 starts.

Posted by diablo

6:16 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I have been a mariner for a long time all the way back to the daryll johhson days. The one thing that jim r needs to learn from is to play to your strong side. small ball such as hit and run , stealing and sacrificing will get you a win , when all else is failing. The angels is a prime example of that. The other thing is why not give barry a try he's a lot more humble these days.

Posted by Bill

6:17 PM, Jul 31, 2008

I'll believe it when I see it, Lee. You gotta love these guys. When is the Lincoln/Armstrong Bobblehead night?

Posted by 11Records

6:36 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Go Pilots - you can't assess whether one guy will have a better future based on 30 plate appearances. But - it is great to see him get off to such a great start.

As to the rotation, Dickey is making a good case to stay in it. And RRS and Feierabend have both had 2 consecutive excellent starts in a row in AAA. I still think the M's should make a move with Washburn and get one of those guys in the mix. As to when Bedard comes back... Who knows when that's actually gonna happen? Is he even throwing yet?

The next moves that need to be made are the release of Vidro and Cairo and the calling up or Wlad and Victor Diaz. I don't see any point in waiting until Sept to get those guys up.

Posted by tom

7:05 PM, Jul 31, 2008

say geoff, said it twice, once again, got to get rid of beltre, sexson, yuni (one down, TWO TO GO), bad apples ┐seeing today s difference?

Posted by xeriscaped

7:11 PM, Jul 31, 2008

It really seemed as if the rest of the league thought that the Mariners had to make a trade so they offered crap. If the Mariners were closer to .500 for the year, I bet that the quality of offers would have been better. I am glad that the M's did not get rid of Washburn in order to shed his salary- It would have been tough to replace him.

Posted by 11Records

7:11 PM, Jul 31, 2008

How is Beltre a bad apple? He's been playing hard all year with a messed up thumb.

Dickey does not seem to want to go quietly to the pen. He's shutting down the best offensive team in the AL..

Posted by 11Records

7:14 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Hey Tom -

Suck on that BAD APPLE Beltre home run.

xeriscaped -

You're at least half kidding, right? About Washburn being hard to replace? Look at his numbers over his time with the M's and aks yourself, "hmm, couldn't RRS or Ryan Feierabend do that next year for like $400k instead of $10M?"

Posted by ken

7:15 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Dickey is dealing tonight - camera flashed on a depressed looking Yuni sitting on the bench. I think Yuni either getting extended pine time or a stint down in Tacoma would be very valuable. Both him and Kenji need to work on their situational hitting including learning the fundamental skill of bunting. Yuni should be immediately pulled everytime he swings at the first pitch even in the rare instance that he gets a hit. If RRS is recalled, Dickey should remain in the rotation and Silva needs a break (fans also need a break from watching him flounder)

Posted by Lucifer

7:28 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Trade Thoughts:

While I have long advocated the trade of Washburn, his efforts in recent starts show that he is capable of being an effective contributer to the starting rotation. Still I question the wisdom of not trading him at the deadline. Although I agree with the notion that the M's deserved some value in exchange for Washburn instead of simply moving salary. Still the team appears to have two quality starters in the wings at Tacoma - RRS and Ryan Fierabend - so it may have been worthwhile to dump the excessive salary of Washburn in lieu of trying to sign some more offense for next season. Of course, LP has some time to work on such a move and one ought not dismiss an asset for nothing.

Still the Ibanez no trade is more difficult, certainly he is one of the best offensive contributers on this team, however, he is a liability on defense. Given the condition of M's baseball this season, there is urgent need to evaluate talent and introduce young players to the major league atmosphere in preparation for next year. So despite my affection as a fan for Ibanez, I think he nonetheless blocks the introduction of young outfielders that need a chance to adjust to the big leagues as part of their development for next year. Moreover, it would appear that Victor Diaz and Wlad Balentien deserve a chance to show what they can do. So keeping Ibanez may not be the best idea in trying to improve the team.

On a like minded note, players that do not have a role for next year include Vidro and Cairo. Both are aged veterans and in the case of Cairo, he was signed as a utility infielder to provide veteran leadership and performance to a contending team. Some have called for dropping these guys in lieu of bringing up the two outfielders mentioned above, however, it must be noted that neither of those guys can play the infield and there is need for a utility infielder. Certainly, both Vidro and Cairo ought to be designated for assignment in lieu of developing young talent. So I suggest one of the two outfielders - Diaz or Balentien - be brought up to replace Vidro. Likewise, an infielder such as Hulett who is having a very nice season in Tacoma be brought up to replace Cairo. At least such moves would help prepare this team for next year.

Trades might have better severed the M's needs than simply standing pat with the guys who gave you the worst record in the American League. One wonders if management is really evaluating talent and preparing for next year or dreaming of what might have been at the beginning of the season. Time to look at the young talent, but then I have been saying that since April.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

7:29 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Yuni better watch his body language around Riggleman, or he's going to get DFA'd.

And Lee was right. It was good to see the Ms not get saddled with other teams' dregs, or making trade just for the sake of trading. See what you can dump on the waiver wire, see what the new GM can do in the offseason.

Dickey is definitely making a case to stay in the rotation the rest of the season. Let Mr. Miggy Play-Thru-Pain Batista do some setup work. Or even better, put him and Bedard on the DL for the rest of the season and get an extended look at RAD and RRS.

Posted by Go Pilots

7:51 PM, Jul 31, 2008

11records- Clement was batting .179 in 30 plate appearences so I'll take .400 or even .250 over .179

Posted by BrianL

8:03 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Go Pilots - You know who else was awesome after his first thirty or so plate appearances?

Rene Rivera: .373/.385/.490

Clearly Rene Rivera is a better player than Jeff Clement.

Posted by Go Pilots

8:16 PM, Jul 31, 2008

LOL good point BrianL, I just don't want to over hype Clement. Lahair just got a bad wrap from USSM and Dave Cameron still hasn't recognized he's doing well and has ignored Clement's struggles. Both should be valuable to the M's for years to come and will probably both be on the next playoff team. Clement's defense should give him a spot over Kenji any day of the week.

Posted by BrianL

8:19 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Go Pilots - Scouts generally don't speak highly of LaHair either. Very susceptible to the inside pitch, prone to getting jammed, can't hit LHPs to save his life.

I'm not going to render a verdict on him yet, but I do expect LaHair to regress.

Posted by Anything Can Happen

9:09 PM, Jul 31, 2008

In case the M's execs are reading the blog tonight (as they have apparently indicated), I'll add my voice to those here:

Both RRS and RAD have earned their way into the starting rotation and deserve a longer look. In the case of Dickey, especially--how many times can you diss a guy? He pitches better than half the staff and you send him to the bullpen--again?

Yes, put Bedard on the DL and Batista in the pen for now. Both can try to earn their way into the rotation next Spring if they're still around. Or send Silva to the pen and give Batista a few more starts (until Washburn gets through waivers).

I also like Ken's suggestion (7:15) to send down Yuni (do the M's have options to do so?). Rich Amaral said on the air a few weeks ago that Yuni got pulled up to the Majors too quickly and did not have adequate time to learn how to steal--and some other basic skills, he hinted. Send him down now, make him get in shape, learn some discipline at the plate and how to steal. That could take more than a month, but it's a start.

Posted by Kayla

9:46 PM, Jul 31, 2008

Video of the Kiss Cam. Please, God, say it exists!!!!

Posted by ancient mariner

6:11 AM, Aug 01, 2008

This is a very bad team. Aging, underperforming players with huge, untradeable contracts. It will take some time to turn this Bavasi disaster around. The first step would be to hire a GM who has more than a famous father GM.

Posted by steve

8:52 PM, Aug 01, 2008

Well Lee, it's 850pm, and washburn will be impossible to trade after tonite's debacle, you should have pulled the Yankee offer in yesterday!!

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