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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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August 5, 2008 4:40 PM

Balentien tonight's DH

Posted by Geoff Baker

vidro0805 022.jpg

Up above, a look at Ichiro and Jeremy Reed conferring in the outfield during today's batting practice, which is still going on. Can't blame Reed if he's asking "What does this all mean for me?''

It is getting to be a crowded outfield, now that Wladimir Balentien has been called up from Class AAA Tacoma following the DFA of Jose Vidro. We spoke to manager Jim Riggleman a short time ago and I asked him about the delays that have gone on in making this move. Asked him whether the injury to Jeff Clement had made him reluctant to jettison Vidro's healthy bat -- which had been hitting a bit better of late.

He flat out rejected that. Said this was all about Balentien.

"This is something we've talked about with getting Balentien here -- period,'' he said.

vidro0805 036.jpg

OK, then. But again, if that's the case, why wait this long? Why not have called Balentien up on Aug. 1?

"He had been kind of hot and cold to tell you the truth,'' he said of Balentien, riding an eight-game hit streak. "He's been hot lately.''

Riggleman several times said he was surprised no one picked Vidro up in a trade. Makes me think there might have been something else going on behind the scenes. Perhaps there was a possible waiver trade to be made regarding Vidro (after the deadline) that fell through. Stuff like that happens all the time.

Otherwise, this whole Vidro and Balentien wait makes little sense.

Anyhow, Balentien is tonight's DH, batting seventh. Riggleman said there will be a rotation amongst the outfielders as to who will DH. Sometimes, Balentien, sometimes Reed and also Raul Ibanez. Riggleman said the DH thing won't happen a lot in Ibanez's case. Especially with him swinging the bat that he is right now. But he also mentioned that Ibanez has rarely had time off this year and that a DH stint here and there could give him a rest of sorts.

I caught up with Balentien just a few moments ago and asked him about going back down to Tacoma. He said it took him some time to get back in a groove again, but playing every day down there helped.

"It's hard when you aren't playing every day,'' he said. "It's hard to find your swing. But once I went down, after a few days, I had my swing back.''

Of course, Balentien had been playing every game for the M's before he kept swinging and missing at too many pitches.

"You need to make your adjusments quick if you want to come back to the higher levels,'' he said, nodding in agreement.

In other words, he can't slump like he did the last time and knows it. Rookie or not. He has to leave a positive impression.

Brandon Morrow will start in Tacoma tomorrow. He's on a 35-pitch limit, then goes into a regular five-day rotation, increasing each time as long as he feels OK.

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Posted by scottM

4:46 PM, Aug 05, 2008

The hardcore M's Fans seem to be in better spirits today, so maybe we don't need a Sergeant-at-Arms anymore, (especially one in a slow Ford Bronco).

Resignation reluctantly accepted. Thank-you for your exemplary service, Guillénforcer.

Frankie, President-for-Life
ScottM, Vice President-for-Life
WallaWallaGirl, Treasurer-for-Life

Posted by Joe C

4:49 PM, Aug 05, 2008

"Riggleman said the DH thing won't happen a lot in Ibanez's case. Especially with him swinging the bat that he is right now."

Does Riggleman realize that if Ibanez is the DH, he still gets to hit?

Posted by cesame

4:51 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Clement's ABs to take a hit it seems like.

God the Johjima signing sucks. It makes things much more difficult. Maybe he'll realize he isn't any good and will return to Japan. Moving Ichiro back to CF would help too.

Posted by The Ancient Mariner

4:55 PM, Aug 05, 2008

One might wonder if the reluctance to DH Ibanez has something to do with a contract extension. Perhaps this desire to resign him id holding up him move to full-time DH. If so, he is being selfish and since he calls Edgar his mentor, maybe someone could prevail Edgar to speak with him about converting to full-time DH. It can be a dignified move for his career and better serve him in the hearts of M's fans.

Posted by casetines

4:57 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Its about time. Two moves that really needed to happen. Hopefully we get 4 starts from Morrow late in the year to see what he's got.

Posted by RagArm

4:59 PM, Aug 05, 2008

At last there is a ray of light coming from under the door of the Mariner's Front Office. Vidro is mercifully gone and Morrow is going to start soon, RRS is coming up in a day or three, and Balentien is back to give the bigs a try.

I'm glad the "internal discussions" finally produced some common sense decisions.

Who besides Riggleman is surprised nobody picked up Vidro? No one on this blog, for sure.

A rotating outfield is better than nothing, but it's time for Raul to be in the DH number four slot permanently and let Reed, Balentien and Ichiro guard the wall that Batista always overshoots. Well his opposition does anyway.

Posted by DownOnStrikes

5:04 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Wow, Brad Adam is getting skinny. Has the boy forgotten how to eat. Anorexic? He's reviewing his college homework. Hopefully, he'll learn to ask some tougher questions when the assignment is complete.

Posted by Chuck

5:14 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Give me a break--what other team in their right mind would want to trade for Vidro? Just another indication that the Ms brass have no nose for talent.

Posted by The Ancient Mariner

5:26 PM, Aug 05, 2008

The moves today are laudatory and I am happy to see them finally made, however, there is much work remaining to be done in preparing for next year.

First, the team should reopen contact with the Yankees concerning Washburn. Trade him through the waiver wire and dump his egregious salary. Dumping Washburn's salary opens doors to dealing with other sunk costs. It becomes easier to dump Batista or Silva if you are not eating Washburn's contract.

Second, as we have recently been reminded the Johjima deal mucks up the works at catcher. The Joh contract is a mistake bordering on ethnic nepotism, it fails to respect merit with the idea of putting the best man on the field. Again, I suggest that he retire to Japan, he can be given incentive to do so and his signing can be viewed as a sunk cost.

Third, in place of Johjima call up Diaz and install him in left. Ichiro needs to return to center with Balentien in right and Reed as the fourth outfielder.

Fourth, Cairo problem remains, surely it costs the M's very little to DFA him - Hulett can take his place on the roster and get reps at SS in lieu of Betancourt who needs to re-evaluate his approach at the plate.

Fifth, on the pitching front, Batista is a sunk cost and he needs to be sent packing in lieu of Feierabend who should be the first SP called up from Tacoma. If Washburn is moved, then call up RRS to replace him.

Sixth, there is the problem of el buffalo - Silva - what to do with him? As pointed out KC did have interest in him last December, however, it is difficult to think they might still want him and especially for the massive contract that matches his mass. Perhaps the M's could eat much of his salary in a trade to the Royals for a prospect - not named Guillen.

Probably the M's should resign Bloomquist because there are few utility players with his range of skills. Yes, he is powerlite but he provides an ability to fill in for nearly every position and as he has shown he can hit for a decent average well meeting the needs of a utility player.

Bedard, however, remains a challenge, he is not likely to return this year which is fine with the youth movement. Otherwise, there remains serious question concerning his health and recovery. His injury surely stems from his unorthodox pitching delivery that places high torque on his left hip. It is this very motion, however, that has given him the edge as an ace pitcher, but it is not his weakness as likely that hip will never take the torque again and he will never have the velocity he once had. In fact, it should be clear that his hip damage cause him to lose velocity and stress his shoulder. Bedard may be a candidate for staying the course and hoping that he can be traded next year at the trading deadline or else a free agent compensation prize with draft picks ensuing should he hold up and come back to some kind of semblance of his old self.

So there is plenty of work to be done, hopefully the FO has some plan that might benefit from considering these ideas.

Happy Days are on the way!

Posted by Joe C

5:27 PM, Aug 05, 2008

What other team would trade for Vidro?

Obviously it would have to be the same team that would give up good young talent for Silva as I've seen suggested here.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

5:32 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Thanks for your hard work, Resin...

You are welcome Lord Adam.

Someone has to help erase the Aaron Laffey for Raul Ibanez and top prospect Adam Moore trade propositions. Let's not forget the classic "Corey Patterson in left field is better for the team than Raul Ibanez" ramblings.

The 11th commandment according to Adam is; defense is more important than offense.

Posted by Balentienforcer

5:35 PM, Aug 05, 2008

First - Thanks for the kind words ScottM.

I don't know much about the whole waiver deal specifics, but isn't there some kind of 5 day period if there's any or no action on a waiver would be the 5 day mark if he was put on the 1st.

Here's to hoping the BIG W will kick some butt from here on out!


Posted by noma

5:40 PM, Aug 05, 2008

corey patterson? only a brain dead retart would think he was an option. rauls "bad defense" is all hypothetical, how often do u see a bad play by him cost a game? NEVER.


Posted by Forget the nonsense

5:44 PM, Aug 05, 2008

"a brain dead retart"

Thats the best description ever given to Adam, well done noma!

Posted by C-Boyd

5:57 PM, Aug 05, 2008

I can summarize all of these comments that went before me:

Jose Vidro sucked, wasn't going to be on the team in 2009, and the Mariners as a team are better off.

Point, end point.

Boyd out

Posted by doug

6:05 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Vidro performed better than clement and balentien and johjima. why werent u bitches callin for dey asses?


Posted by pbk13

6:10 PM, Aug 05, 2008

It's really sad to see our cleanup hitter go. Who will protect Ibanez now?

Posted by DC

6:15 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Can people please stop suggesting that we drop Burke. The guy has actually done his job--actually exceeding expectations for a backup catcher in my book.

How you treat your players is an important part of being a good organization. Treating players like crap is a good way to dissuade free agents and upset your own players. Dropping Sexson, Vidro, Boone in '05 all made good sense and the player's performance justified it. But Burke? Please.

Posted by Ziasudra

6:15 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Hooray!! Two birds with one stone! It's only 2 months too late!

Posted by pbk13

6:18 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Nothing personal, Resin, but you're next. About time this team got around to fixing the real problem, and you know, in the team's defense, they don't take firing fans that lightly. see ya!

Posted by DC

6:24 PM, Aug 05, 2008

More in defense of Burke:

If the M's dropped Burke to make room for R. Johnson, that means the club is carrying 3 catchers: Johjima, Clement, Johnson.

How do people feel about that mix? Do you like the idea of Clement and Johnson learning from Johjima what it takes to be a big league catcher? There will be plenty of room for Johnson when the rosters expand.

Posted by joebbaseball

6:40 PM, Aug 05, 2008

How come 95% of this board knew to make these moves 3-6 weeks ago? Yet the idiots that are probably making a lot more than us to run this team finally figured it all out today? I read there logic, it still makes no sense. While some teams react far too quickly, this was a long time coming! When this season was lost by memorial day, the M's could have been auditioning and/or conditioning a lot of these guys for next year. The guys in charge of this mess must go.

Posted by 11Records

6:41 PM, Aug 05, 2008


Not to bag on Carlos Silva (and Bill Bavasi) in this thread, but Dan Haren just signed a 4 year extension. For just under $45 million.

Let's exclude this season's (Cy Young Caliber) numbers from the equation, and look at his numbers in 2005, 20056 2007 vs. Silva's:


3.73 14 12 217 212 101 90 53 163
4.12 14 13 223 224 109 102 45 176
3.07 15 9 222.2 214 91 76 55 192

3.44 9 8 188.1 212 83 72 9 71
5.94 11 15 180.1 246 130 119 32 70
4.19 13 14 202 229 99 94 36 89

So - SERIOUSLY - can someone tell me how on this earth Silva has a bigger deal than Haren?

Posted by ken

6:43 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Joba Chamberlain is being sent by NYY to see Dr. Andrews for a review of his shoulder MRI - if Lee P. hasn't yet run Wash through the waiver claim process, he needs to asap. Maybe we still can get a useful body from NYY for Wash after all. It's not acceptable to the NY fans for the Yankees to close out their Yankee Stadium tenure with no shot at the playoffs - maybe we can even package Wash and Joh together along with throwing in some $.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

6:51 PM, Aug 05, 2008

pbk13-I don't understand your post.

Re: Balentien

He needs to play everyday. And he needs more than one month to show something. To be honest Adam Jones did not leave a positive impression last year, and he's playing well now. Some prospects don't start out the gate firing on all cylinders. Balentien certainly had the potential to be productive his first month. Wlad hopefully has two months to show improvement.

Look at Clement, his numbers are awful and he was a first round draft pick unlike Wlad, yet Balentien "needs to leave an impression?"

Sorry Geoff, you can't play favorites.I know you don't value Wlad that high that you wanted to trade him for Al Reyes. Balentien doesn't have to do anything but get experience playing everyday and develop asa hitter for next year. I thought, and I was wrong, that Balentien could make an impact right away. The reality is, it just doesn't happen often. This kid is still a future impact bat. His career or future should not be determined by his performance the next two months.

Posted by doug

7:06 PM, Aug 05, 2008

good question why the F does clement get the benefit of the doubt? he is showing to be a bust and its easy to see. he swings at junk, cant connect to the high heat and his D is umm worse than rauls hypothetical bad d. he just sucks yet its wlad who has to show something? tell me 1 good reason to keep the cancer clement on the team rather than in AAA to get his "stroke" or "confidence" back? BUST BUST BUST

Posted by doug

7:22 PM, Aug 05, 2008

reed > ichiro

Posted by Nat

8:00 PM, Aug 05, 2008

doug- I think I hear your mother calling you in for dinner...

Well, yay, about time! The Mariners have finally taken the steps we've all been waiting for. I'm sure the FO is sitting around patting themselves on the back for their baseball acumen.

The rest of this Mariner season may just be more fun to watch than the first half!

You go, Ibanez!!!!! Congratulations!

Posted by Adam

9:21 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Lol - Resin, is there any specific reason why you decided to post your response in two different threads? Seek attention much?

I've never said defense is more important than offense. I, unlike yourself and many on this blog, do value defense, however. And considering how much better Patterson is defensively than Ibanez, there is no question that the team would have been better off with Patterson in LF, Ibanez at DH, and Vidro gone (which is, of course, what I argued when I proposed that the team pick up Patterson way back in Feb. or March).

Or are you going to tell me that the difference between Patterson's bat and Vidro's bat is greater than the difference between Patterson's glove and Ibanez' glove?

PS - You've never been good at building an argument around facts, so I'm not surprised that you messed this up, but I never proposed an Ibanez/Moore package for Laffey. It was always Ibanez for Laffey,straight up. And I'd still do it today.

Posted by AD

9:54 PM, Aug 05, 2008

Geoff, what's the difference? It's five days! I mean take a chill pill. Quit trying to find meaning in every little detail! It makes me sick listening to you question every little thing.

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