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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 19, 2008 9:08 AM

Nah, on second thought

Posted by Geoff Baker

Had an earlier post, didn't like the tone of it when I read it in black and white, so I took it down.

What do I care if Jarrod Washburn got lit up last night? I'm not paying his salary. I didn't decide to keep him on the team instead of trading him. Yes, he got lit up. I won't cheapen this blog by resorting to a petty back and forth. Many of you come on here to get a credible take on what's gone on this season and I've tried to give it to you the best way I can. If you don't think Washburn was worthy of those last 14 starts, you don't have to. He's certainly had his problems in August with giving up too many home runs and extra-base hits.

Like the rest of his team, he hasn't been good enough this month. The Mariners are now 1-8 over their last nine games. They are 5-14 for the month. They are 21-31 under manager Jim Riggleman. That's a .404 winning percentage. Yes, it's better than John McLaren's winning percentage. But it won't spare this team from joining the 100-100 club. That is, it won't keep the M's from becoming the first team to spend over $100 million and lose 100 games.

Maybe that's why the team is reluctant to trade away players other than Arthur Rhodes? I keep hearing whispers about that wherever I go. I certainly hope that is not the case. Just the usual rumor mongering. The usual supposition by people not in a position to know.

Here's what I do know.

The record for losses by a team spending more than $100 million in payroll is 96 by the 2003 New York Mets. The Mariners will almost certainly top that mark and then some if they keep getting blown out on the scoreboard the way they have the last four games. For a team that is supposedly trying to win games, these Mariners sure find it difficult to succeed at the task.

I don't know what's scarier, believing Carlos Silva -- that some of these guys aren't trying their best to win.

Or to believe the opposite is true. That this team really is giving 100 percent maximum effort every night.

Because if this is the best this bunch can manage, nothing short of a complete blowup this off-season is going to even begin to undo the damage that's been done to this franchise in 2008.

On that happy note, I'm off to play MLB 2K8. If you want more analysis than that, this team will have to give me something other than smouldering ruins to sift through. But yes, they have been getting a lot of hits lately. The trick is to get them when you're not five runs down.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS (9:35 a.m.): For ScottM, this is a team with a core of players that failed to win when it mattered in August 2006, September 2007, or in all of 2008. So, that's a pretty empty glass to start with. There is talent here, but even those talented players have underperformed when it mattered. It's a team with a potential ace pitcher in Felix Hernandez and a No. 2 starter in Erik Bedard who may or may not be damaged goods and will likely be out of here before 2010. After that, a whole lot of guessing, including a closer having trouble closing and a bullpen weakened by the loss of Brandon Morrow.

The most consistent player all season, (no, not Ichiro)...Raul Ibanez, could be gone this winter as a free-agent. You have a center fielder playing in right field because of the wear on his aging body, a catcher given a $24 million extension after putting up some of the worst offensive numbers in the league, a handful of promising prospects still trying to hit and a middle infield that appears non-existent.

It's a team that's been called out by former GM Bill Bavasi, ex-manager John McLaren, anonymous coaches, Carlos Silva and maybe Miguel Batista (we're still not sure about that one). Hardly a who's-who of team leaders, but then it begs the question of who passes for a leader on this team. And when even your worst-performing executives and players feel the need to call you out, it doesn't exactly speak volumes about the capabilities of your team.

Yes, there are some nice, complimentary pieces here, like Ichiro, or Adrian Beltre, who would look good on a contending team with others around to carry the load. But here, they are simply some of the better pieces on a team missing key components. The M's lack a true No. 3 or No. 4 hitter. For those wondering what that entails, it's sort of what Ibanez has done the past month. Just picture that all year long and you'll have an idea. The guys who are eating up the most payroll on this team are not good enough to put this team over the top without others around to shoulder the burden. Those others will cost money. The kind of money those players here are already making.

So, either you're going to spend more money and drive payroll higher. Or, you're going to start over.

And that's just the stats part. Then, we get to real life. The stuff that takes place on the field and in the clubhouse. Who is going to make these players, new , old, or whatever, perform up to the levels expected of them when it matters? Who will hold them accountable when they don't measure up, or don't bring their "A-Game'' for a month or two?

These are questions we've tried to ask and answer all season because they will help dictate what this team does next. I'm leaning towards the glass being real empty right about now. We'll see what the new GM thinks.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT (12:46 p.m.): For Piratesfan, I think I understand what you're getting at. And yes, as far as singles hitting for average goes, Ichiro has been more consistent. But as far as overall production, it's pretty tough to argue Ichiro over Ibanez.

Ibanez OPS:

April: .839
May: .673
June: .827
July: .916
August: 1.227


Ichiro OPS:

April: .683
May: .782
June: .713
July: .823
August: .727

One guy has put up an OPS beyond .800 in every month but one. The other guy has had one OPS month above .800. Both have had one month in the high .600s. I don't think this is a matter of following the team every day and drawing the wrong conclusion based on being too close. Just a matter of seeing who has been the better producer. Ibanez wins that one pretty easily. If ichiro was hitting for power and stealing bases, there might be an extra argument to be made. But he isn't and there isn't. Sorry.

For ViewFromBallard, I appreciate what you're saying, but there's a difference between "defending'' players and not continuously attacking them even when they do something right. To point out that some players have done some things right is not "to err''. Any more than it's "right'' to ignore what Carlos Silva said just because he weighs more than other players and has a losing record. I know you didn't bring Silva up specifically, but, I've been accused of "defending" and "enabling" him before. If anything, the evidence (a ton of Seattle losses and mistakes) seems to support what he said about the team not playing hard enough. And he's been saying it since May. Unless someone out there has better evidence to the contrary, maybe he's on to something? Just maybe he knows more than the Seattle blogosphere about what's happening on the team? I know that's tough to fathom, but it could be possible. I think the perponderance of evidence, while it may be totally circumstantial, at least merits further exploration and not outright dismissal and condemnation. But if you, or anyone else out there, knows why we should ignore the issue he and others have raised, let's hear it. And not just guesswork. Direct knowledge. Otherwise, I'd submit we don't all know the answers to everything and do have to listen to what others have to say from time to time.

If you think we're too close to management to be objective, then you really haven't been reading what's been written in this space this year. And you have, I know, because you mention in the second part of your post that we do criticize the team. Maybe we're just not criticizing them enough for your taste? Sorry, I don't think I can blast the team any more than I have already. I happen to know the Mariners executive branch can't stand this blog (meaning what I write here) because they feel it's too negative. But sometimes, you can make a point without scorching the earth.

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Posted by Henry

9:15 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Shotgun!

Posted by Coop

9:16 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Good choice taking that piece of humble pie down. That was a very bitter pill to swallow, let alone nibble on.

Posted by petec

9:17 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff, good call on removing the previous post. It was a bit over the top. A word of advice - develop a thicker skin and stop defending mediocrities like Washburn and Silva.

Posted by scottM

9:20 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Wow, in the old days of print, such self-censorship would not have been possible, GEOFF. But for the burning questions:

How full do you think the glass is with these Mariners?

and

What will it take for the M's to acquire MILL CREEK's Grady Sizemore?


Go MILL CREEK!!!

Posted by Esteban

9:24 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff, the effort here (even the half-hearted attempt at cynicism) is really lacking.

“I mean, I could try to weasel my way out and scream "small sample size!'' but who are we kidding?”

Uh, Geoff, J-Wash is going on his third straight year of sucking at $10 mil a year. Sure, he’s had the odd string here and there where his mediocre meatballs have been lined straight at defenders, giving him some decent results-based stats, but, on the whole, he’s been at best an average back-of-the-rotation starter, kind of an overpaid, left-handed version of Cha Seung Baek, albeit with the bad habit of blaming his mediocrity on others.
So, since when is three years ‘small sample size’, as compare to a month or so?

'For a minute, I thought we'd have to abort Brandon Morrow's Class AAA bid to become a starter, since he lasted only 2 2/3 innings the last time out. I mean, that's an ERA of 10.11 over that single game. How on Earth is he ever going to be a starter? But, the sample size thing applies to him too, right? Oh, goodie!'

Perhaps we could apply small details like POTENTIAL and SERVICE TIME here, things that don’t apply to guys like ‘the Great White Nope’. Morrow, if I understand it right, had very little experience as a starter out of college and was drafted largely based on his POTENTIAL. I think we know what ‘the Nope’ can, or better yet, can’t do – we’ve had three years to figure that out. Call me crazy, but given that Morrow can reasonable be expected to improve, maybe the M’s would be better served giving him a few more chances at starting, ‘small sample size’ not withstanding.

Go Rays!

Posted by Pirata Morado

9:25 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff, perhaps the trick is simpler, just pencil someone in the cleanup spot that can hit when it matters, nobody could do worse than Beltre there! Not even Vidro!

Posted by Esteban

9:26 AM, Aug 19, 2008

With regards to the last comment, it was in reply to the ‘Humble Pie’ post. My bad.

Posted by RagArm

9:29 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Misery loves company.

If you feel we are alone with this mess and a management team asleep at the wheel, or passed out at the wheel, read this article about the Colorado Rockies' situation:

http://www.denverpost.com/commented/ci_10232543?source=commented-rockies

We are not alone at being bad. but we are close to being alone as the worst. Go Nats!

Posted by azfred

9:29 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Kudos, Geoff. You won some respect from me, anyway.

Posted by Thoan

9:30 AM, Aug 19, 2008

"But it won't spare this team from joining the 100-100 club."

Or, more accurately, from becoming the club's founding member. At present, since no team has ever achieved this milestone, how can there be a club to join? (The only club I'm aware of has been applied all season, with escalating force, to the skulls of what's left of the fan base.)

Posted by EvilLemon

9:33 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Overlook the bugs (of which, there are plenty) and MLB 2K8 is a fun game. BTW, Vidro is an absolute monster in that game.
Irony.

Posted by -k

9:35 AM, Aug 19, 2008

This post was in response to the earlier one, but it's still appropriate:

My first post in months. been reading all along, but have thought that the average IQ of the other posters here had dropped too low to warrant further attempts at dialog. Geoff, i feel your pain. you'll likely get ripped for this post, but it was a long time coming. the fact that you kept cool when being forced to read the meaningless dribble in the comments section everyday is commendable.

I'm not being sarcastic. I mean it. I left the blog (as a contributer, but not a reader of your posts) months ago cause i couldn't take it anymore. I could make that choice; you had contractual reasons why you could not. I feel your pain. And I'm not alone. O'gal, maui, and many others who often contributed back when this was a blog with a thriving, intellectual, and civil debate have all left.

I do have a solution though. It's for the tech people, not you Geoff, but it does help. Allow people to log in to the site, not just use the Captcha authentication. Each account is given a rating. people with low rating can only post so many times a week, while people with a high rating can post a lot. Every week a user is on good behavior they get a rating bump. You have to earn the right to post a lot by being a worthwhile contributor.

As far as managing this, allow users to mark messages as either a useful contribution or inappropriate. Too many inappropriate votes and the user who created the message loses ranking. Enough positive votes and the user gains ranking. Plus it can be set up so that your vote count for many of our votes. Plus Larry Stone, Jose and other staff caretakers of your blog would also have their vote multipliers.

People could still read anonymously, and get a say on the content. Just log the ip address of the computer, so they only get 1 vote, just like the rest of us.

Also, if someone comes on here and posts an ad for something unrelated to the blog, or creates a post full of horribly inappropriate language, then their account gets suspended for 30 days. Having log in accounts also gets rid of the doppleganger problem.

This idea isn't original. I didn't come up with a single idea in this. It's used all over the net on thousands of other sites. If anyone in the tech staff would like to contact me for examples tell them to feel free to use the email attached to this message. I'd be more then happy to discuss this further, and point them in the direction of some people with more knowledge then myself.

Posted by nabetsE

9:41 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff!!!

Gotta say, I respect the time and energy you have put into this blog. Best I've ever seen. And I respect your reasons for removing the previous post... but it sure felt good reading it.

It became pretty clear that a lot of people DIDN"T get the point of the Washburn blog.

Agree or disagree, you're doing what you are payed to do and there is no reason for the pathetic cheap shots that people have been taking.

I feel like I'm dealing with Jr. Highers... (to those of you still in Jr. High, emotionally or literally, I humbly apologize).

Posted by DownOnStrikes

9:41 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Second thoughts are sometimes best, Geoff.

On the Mariiners' website there is currently an article on "Finding Consistency at DH"

Our skipper, Mr. Wiggleworm, is quoted as saying, ""I was looking at something on the stat sheet the other day, and our DH numbers are down compared to the rest of the league, but they aren't horrendous,"

This type of low expectation mind set and "ah, shucks, we're doing good guys," sound bite is another reason for the M's dismal season and future abyssmal outlook.

We don't have a DH. We don't have anyone who can hit like a DH should hit. They stuck with Vidro way too long and are now trying to go for another dubious record (employeeing the greatest number of people in the DH slot)

Riggleman is a must go! All above him should board the ship to nowhere land ASAP.

Where is ownership? Why doesn't ownership care about the fans? Silence is golden only in church.

Posted by RagArm

9:50 AM, Aug 19, 2008

k,
I echo your comments but must admit I have sunk to the bottom of the pond posting some scum myself.

It is the futile feelings we fans are getting from this team's management that is driving poor blog behavior. We are being dissed and dismissed and when that happens juvenile behavior rises to the forefront.

The Mariners' organizaton is squandering good will and fan appreciation and allegiance with its bumbling moves and inaction.

People on this blog will fent out of frustration. This is better than going to the game and being unstable and disruptive there. We all have to say what's on our minds. Everyone has a different way of doing that.

I have emailed Geoff about the IP address idea. I think it is necessary as well. This is a great blog and he does a fantastic job. I support Geoff and the company's efforts to keep it going.

Posted by Shalack

9:54 AM, Aug 19, 2008

He wouldn't have taken it down if he didn't mean it.

Ricco- ever said something in defense of yourself that you wish you hadn't? The reason I will keep reading this blog (in spite of comments like Ricco's) is because I repect Geoff's honesty. Especially his willingness to own up when he's been wrong. He isn't high and mighty, and he's not trying to be.

Posted by meagain

9:58 AM, Aug 19, 2008

A word about leadership. Pessimism and cynicism are luxuries that successful leaders can't afford. (These attitudes are different than properly critiquing poor performance.) And constant grumbling and passing blame can undermine the best leadership, never mind the example set by a quiet leader like Raul Ibanez.

The losing by this set of players doesn't defy analysis, but it invites the drawing of wrong conclusions. I'm just going to keep pulling for wins and observing what happens.

Posted by deepthroat

9:59 AM, Aug 19, 2008

This blog and others like it is proof that watching/following bad baseball is bad for your health.

May you all get well soon.

Posted by Bums

10:10 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Hopefully, our one of few hitting prospects, Clement, is figuring it out and he finishes strong. Giving fans something to look forward to next year and years to come besides losing and crappy starting pitching making boat loads of money. I have not faith Chuck and Howard will choose a good GM and the new GM choose a new manager.

Posted by Adam

10:21 AM, Aug 19, 2008

I agree that a core of Ichiro, Beltre, and Felix (not sure if you put Putz in that mix) is enough to contend in the AL West.


I'm very sure that if this organization does not start adding younger, impact players, it will be in last place for years to come. Oakland, Texas, and Anahiem are all in position to contend for a long time. I don't believe keeping Ichiro, Beltre, Putz, and Ibanez is the right way to counter that.


Tear the thing down.

Posted by scottM

10:25 AM, Aug 19, 2008

"it begs the question of who passes for a leader on this team"

Thanks for addressing this Geoff. In all seriousness, the only silver lining we've started to see since Riggleman stepped in and got rid of entitlement, has been in the confidence level of the youngbloods.

Washburn/Ichiro/Johjima/Sexson/Batista/Vidro/Beltre/Lopez/Yuni have all had ample opportunity to show what they're made of. They have not played with a winner's resolve. Why didn't Ichiro, for example, show up ready to play at ST?

The second time round for Clement and Balentien––although growing pains will continue––shows more promise. LaHair has been a nice surprise. Reed brings his A-game for the most part (despite too many dumb baserunning gaffs). Corcoran is a gamer. (Jimenez should be sent back down, and Lowe is a question mark). RRS plays like a winner, as does Green and Morrow. And, you've got to love Felix's resolve!

Yuni and Lopez are young, but not leaders/winners. The jury is out on both of them––Lopez because of his fielding.

It will be up to these young guys to assert themselves and create a culture of winning. The established players just don't bring it like they should. (Except Ibanez, who, despite limited range, gives us his best every game).

Glass is two-fifths full, I'd say.

Posted by Esteban

10:29 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Ah, Return to the Mean ‘tis a cruel wench indeed, sparing neither our xenophobic friend, the ‘Great White Nope’ nor his protectorate, Mr. Baker. I’m really not looking forward to another year with J-Wash and his goofy, corn-fed smile, although Geoff would surely miss the presence of ‘Mr. Accountability’, should he somehow escape this asylum of mediocrity. Man, between the Great one and the Chef, the M’s are shelling out $22 a year for replacement level pitching. Unbelievable.

Go Rays!

Posted by Sounders

10:30 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff,

Only One! Geez, you're pretty nice. I'd be removing posts left and right, including maybe even some of my own.

Hang in there buddy. Believe it or not I still have hope.

We don't need a full on draft rebuilding like Tampa. But I don't see any reason why we can't do something like the Cubs/Dodgers/Angels are doing. The most important thing is to restore some credibility to the organization. Get rid of Howie Chuckie and Lee, Riggleman and Mel, bring in Kim Ng or someone from outside the good ole boy network and let him/her have a go. That way isn't going to provide immediate results because half the job is going to be undoing mistakes, but that's what I'm hoping for.

Posted by Kelly

10:36 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Well crap. We are three games ahead of the Nats in the loss column. They are on a streak having lost 10 in a row.

If this team was competently run they would shut down Felix for the year. Putting more mileage on his arm is a waste, and it prevents us from getting the number 1 pick next year.

Seriously, shut down Felix, don't worry about getting Bedard out there while Washburn, Silva, and Batista get shelled and Feierabend and RRS get seasoned (and shelled).

We pay those guys a lot of money. They are veterans. The least they can do is to take one for the team so the Ms get the 1st pick next year.

Posted by Scanman

10:40 AM, Aug 19, 2008

I have been saying this and I will continue to do so until they throw me off this blog, but until people stop going to games, nothing will change. It’s about entertainment not baseball!!!

Posted by Esteban

10:43 AM, Aug 19, 2008

It seems to me to be a numbers game. Ichiro, Beltre and Felix are nice, but three players are insufficient as a core, and the drop off in talent after them, with the exception of Lopez, who is very flawed, is significant. And there is no immediate help in sight in the minors, thanks to the poorly thought-out trades of the last couple of years. In pure baseball terms, I think the fact that this team needs to be torn down is painfully obvious.

The bigger question, however, is the FO. Minus a major cleaning of house upstairs, the question of whether to tear it down or not is moot, as either rebuilding or reloading requires the ability to evaluate talent, construct a roster, negotiate effectively and otherwise think critically, all things that the current FO has proven itself to be very bad at.

Posted by headliner

10:50 AM, Aug 19, 2008

I always assumed the manager was the leader of the team. It was/is his responsibility to call out players. His responsibility to get the most out of the players. You can't have other team members doing that, unless you have a bona fide captain (Jeter) who has talent and brings his A game every day and is respected by and elected by the team.

Posted by Scanman

10:55 AM, Aug 19, 2008


The term “ Small Sampling “ is used quite a bit here and it got me to thinking. We, who post here are but a small sampling of the seattle fan base. And because we are such a small sample,do we really think the FO. Cares what we think? The answer is of course NOOOOOO!!!!!. Their business model is working and they are not listening to us.

Posted by Last is First

11:08 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Kelly: Well said. GO NATS!!!!

http://baseball.teamusa.org/athlete/athlete/2152

Posted by JMH

11:21 AM, Aug 19, 2008

I don't care if the M's lose 100 games this year. This season is gone and they should stop trying to salvage it. Let it go.

What I worry about is whether they're going to lose 100 games next year. They have a lot of problems, and as some bloggers have said, the one advantage of a disasterous 08 season is that the M's could get a head start on 09. When you're out of it by mid-May, you can get a jump on the trade market and on evaluating your AAA talent.

Sadly, the M's didn't commit to that. Instead, they futzed around,and continue to. Washburn is a left-handed innings eater. Talent-wise, he's fine to have at the back end of your rotation, but he's not worth $10M, and any Front Office that doesn't think it could replace his talent in the offseason for significantly less than $10M is just incompetent.

The M's should have moved him, even if they didn't get anything in return. They already have two other flailing starting pitchers under large dollar contract for next year. I don't know what's wrong with Silva, and while he's not worth the contract he got, he's certainly better than we've seen. Hopefullly he bounces back. Batista is just done. His days as an effective ML pitcher - in the rotation or bullpen- are most likely behind him.

Note to M's - your fans don't care how many games you lose this year. You've already lost too many. 98 or 100 or 116 loses, it's all the same. Start focusing on next year.

Posted by Balentienforcer

11:34 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Allright Geoff, a little self editing is a good thing!!

This team is reminding me of an M's team from the early 80's - not sure what year, but they stunk, (presley, Owen, etc. team) and I remember reading at one point of the year that there was a faction of the team that had hardcore prayer meetings before and after games, and it cut into their prep time so much as to alienate the rest of the team......got to the point that there was no chemistry, leadership or focus because of the differences in "culture". This team sure reeks of something like that.

GO MILL CREEK!!

Posted by scottM

11:38 AM, Aug 19, 2008

from Scanman: "I have been saying this and I will continue to do so until they throw me off this blog, but until people stop going to games, nothing will change. It’s about entertainment not baseball!!!"

And I have said more than once, that the $117m salary level of the M's is built on those fans. The Japanese owner doesn't make a major cash call every year to subsidize the M's as a business. If the M's start to draw 10,000 a game instead of 25,000, then the organization will have no choice but to withdraw from the F.A. market in a sizeable way, and turn into the AAA Mariners of old, where we groomed the Honeycutts and Bannisters,etc., etc., for the rich franchises to enjoy in these players' prime.

And again, I have no problem with players like Ichiro, Felix, and even Beltre earning star salaries. The problem with the M's is that they haven't rewarded the right players. Silva, Batista, Washburn, Sexson, Vidro, Johjima are the product of poor talent assessment.

What the M's need is a great new GM to revamp our player evaluation system and a ballsy new Skipper to get the most out of the team we field. We don't need to kill the golden goose to accomplish this.

Armstrong and Lincoln need to be blown away by the GM they hire and then get out of the way and let him or her fix this leaky ship.

Posted by Scanman

11:48 AM, Aug 19, 2008

scottM, I think where we really differ in opinions is that you think the FO. Cares about winning and I really don’t think so judging by their lack of action and total ineptitude. My wanting people to stop going to games is to force their hand or wake up ownership as to the problems. It seems that as long as profits are being made, nothing will change.

Posted by Esteban

11:50 AM, Aug 19, 2008

Good point, JMH.

I think the fact that the FO hasn’t looked at this as an opportunity to build for the future highlights yet another flaw – their inability to think in terms of a linear time frame with regards to the roster. They seemingly can’t or won’t think beyond the current year, even if all this entails is trying to avoid 100 losses.

I remember in reading the Beane interview over at Athletic’s Nation that the A’s GM felt something to the effect that part of his job was to put the best team possilble out on the field both now and in the future. It’s amazing how Beane can accomplish both while our FO can’t even do one.

Go Rays!

Posted by Scooter MG

12:04 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Glass?
more like a paper cup full of gasoline
this team drags more ass than Kirtsie Alley

Posted by scottM

12:12 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Scanman, I do believe that Lincoln and Armstrong would much prefer to have a winning team as well as a well-attended one. Bavasi was a bright, articulate man, who did not have good baseball savvy, despite his pedigree. Clearly, Lincoln and Armstrong made a big mistake there. The question as to whether these two should go is whether they have meddled/micromanaged their GM from the top down. If so, then they are also directly responsible for this baseball debacle we are witnessing and should go, too. [In this regard, Johjima seems to be a special case coming from Japan. If so they get a pass. It's not our money paying that mistake after all––unless the skipper is forced to play him over better players.]

The bottom line, is whether the bottom line pinch would be enough to entice the owners to fire Lincoln and Armstrong. The greater likelihood is that the Japanese will want to sell the Mariners, and this will have little to do with the turnstile/viewership, except in the price paid for the team.

Having watched for decades those Seattle sports franchises with tightwad owners (Argyros, Smulyan, Behring) and those willing to play the F.A. game more agressively (Schulman, Paul Allen, this Nintendo Group), I will take what we have any day.

To heck with boycotts, just get us the best available GM in the business.

Posted by fungo

12:15 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Felix is pitching tonight! About the only time I can get up for a Mariner's game nowadays. You have to feel for the guy though.

Felix has had 7 no decisions in which he pitched 6 or more innings and allowed just 3 or less runs. In 6 of those starts he allowed less than 2 runs.

Posted by SICK56

12:19 PM, Aug 19, 2008

FLUFFY is now 23-42 in less than 3 years with Seattle.

with the Angels he was 75-57 so I guess I can understand why Bavasi signed him.

But why oh why is FLUFFY still here? What purpose does he serve?

Posted by piratesfan

12:26 PM, Aug 19, 2008

"the most consisten player Raul Ibanez"?

Hmm, follow the team on a daily basis and I suppose sometimes that perception is reality -- and it might depend on the definition of "consistent" -- but a few statistical splits paint a slightly different picture.

== == == == ==
ICHIRO SPLITS
== == == == ==
AVG OBP OPS R H SB
April .259 .312 .683 17 30 6
May .319 .384 .782 18 36 18
June .312 .364 .712 20 34 9
July .333 .388 .824 12 36 1
Aug .347 .372 .758 12 26 3

== == == == ==
IBANEZ SPLITS
== == == == ==
AVG OBP OPS HR RBI
April .292 .339 .839 5 19
May .218 .307 .673 2 14
June .314 .379 .827 2 16
July .295 .373 .916 6 13
Aug .433 .466 1.227 4 21

Posted by Capo

12:27 PM, Aug 19, 2008

I missed the earlier piece, so I can't comment there.....but i have to say I've lost a lot of respect for the USSM crew and their posting of late.

Not happy with the team, write about it, but don't spend so much time blasting others ideas and opinions on your site....all it did was rile up their Kool-aid drinkers to come over here and crap. I'll end this little rant by saying I don't see anyone call them out when they are wrong, and they are wrong as often as anyone else. The bashing gets old....thin skin or not, if you are just posting to been inflammatory, or to be an ass....go away.


Anyway, I think the FO really made a serious mistake not clearing Washburn off the roster......we don't know what the offers were....if there was money involved, what prospects,etc (there were several rumors at various points that were denied).....but the fact of the matter was Washburn was claimed after the deadline, and could have been off the book, no questions asked.....and he's still here.

As has been said numerous times, its not just the GM that needs to change, its the entire front office, including Lincoln and Armstrong, who are responsible for this mess.....and as long as they are around, making decsions, this team will flounder like it did all through the 80's.

Posted by StumpDawg

12:29 PM, Aug 19, 2008

ScottM, I would add that a new GM also needs to revamp the minor league coaching system. Some of these "kids" have 3-5 years in the Mariners farm system, and their fundamentals still suck. That's a waste in the investment of draft choices and trading talent for prospects.

Posted by Mark

12:34 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Did you see the play that Alexei Ramirez made on a grounder up-the-middle in last night's game? It wasn't spectacular, but it showed how vital it is to have a second baseman with range. Jose Lopez has no range whatsoever. Whenever I see a grounder hit to the right side of the infield in a crucial situation, I cringe. We could pound a post in the ground at 2nd and have more range than J-Lo.

Posted by Capo

12:35 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Stumpdawg, i am not sure how many minor league games you've seen lately.....but its not just the M's system thats awful. I catch a lot of min or league baseball, and its something thats seen with every team.....bad baserunning, bad defense, poor fundamental baseball skills.

Posted by Gordie

12:44 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Every day, I'm more and more convinced that these Mariners will never win with idiots like Lincoln and Armstrong running the show.

Posted by TheViewfromBallard

12:47 PM, Aug 19, 2008

In reference to your Washburn spat with USS Mariner, my concern is that maybe you're too close to the players and or team management to be 100% objective. You have to work with them and get interviews from them---so you need to get along with them, and you're probably somewhat influenced by them. No matter how hard you try to be objective, anybody in your position would be affected by the way they treat you. Still, this blog is useful and I appreciate your effort to be critical of the team, even if you sometimes err on the side of defending them.

Turning to the issue at hand, I fear that management still hasn't faced up to the fact that they've made a lot of discernably stupid decisions. Using Washburn as an example, despite lots of evidence to the contrary they apparently still think he is worth what they're paying him because they didn't let him go to rid themselves of his salary. Ever wonder why the Angels made no attempt to keep him when we signed him?

What's worse, even if Washburn stays and has a decent year next year it won't matter. If anybody thinks this team can be salvaged as it's currently constructed, they're deluding themselves. We need someone to come in who doesn't have any stake in the defending the decisions that brought us to this point. My advice to you is to stop leaning and fall (start) over. The more old guys we keep around, the longer the process will take.

Posted by Sounders

12:51 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Beltre stinks. 8 LOB yesterday. That guy should be a #8 hitter on a NL team, not batting cleanup on an AL team.

Posted by piratesfan

1:17 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Hey Geoff.

Actually, I was trying to say that by following the team every day, I defer to your judgment on the majority of the discussion (certainly in terms of perception without the numbers), but in my haste, I butchered the sentence.

All that being said, I guess this is the paradox of what one expects from Ichiro. For my part, he bats leadoff and his job is to get on-base and set the table. Not produce as a big RBI man, which you would expect moreso from your #3 and #4 hitters. There's only one Ricky Henderson unfortunately.

But the guy is 2nd in the league in steals so I'm not sure what more he needs to do in that area and I'm aware of the long dry spell which may or may not have been the result of a hamstring issue.

All I know is this:
Before the season starts, if I'm the GM of this team, I know that Ichiro will give me .350+ OBP, 100 runs, 200+ hits, 160 games played, a fair amount of SBs, and well above average defense. I'm just not sure what else everyone expects from the guy. 20+ homeruns and bigger slugging percentage to boot, I suppose.

But thanks for highlighting my post even if we're not entirely in agreement.

P.S. Now let's start concetrating on getting the Bucs back to .500. Just ordered the PBS DVD on Roberto Clemente (boyhood idol) for my son -- eerie similarities with Ichiro (unorthodox batting style, slightly misunderstood by casual fans and perhaps media, intriguing and sometimes frustrating interviewee, cannon arm from the OF, etc., etc.).

Posted by bseblfevr

1:30 PM, Aug 19, 2008

what's even more sad, is that most of this team will be here again in 2009, minus Raul !

Posted by WSUx3

1:34 PM, Aug 19, 2008

correction: beltre should be sent to AAA in favor of tui who is clearly better in all facets except for not being paid like a-rod.

Posted by Blair

1:35 PM, Aug 19, 2008

What is the Mariners current projected payroll for next year? Sexson is a big deduction and Ibanez could be a deduction. Following that, how difficult will it be for the Mariners to sign free agents? I've heard the rumblings that players don't want to be here due to the travel. How important do you think the W/L record and the appearance of a disfunctional clubhouse will be for the Mariners going forward? Even if the farm system starts producing they will probably always need to sign a couple guys.

Posted by scottM

1:44 PM, Aug 19, 2008

http://www.littleleague.org/series/2008divisions/llbb/WSBoxScores/llws21.html

Mill Creek pulls it out 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th.


"The Mariners executive branch can't stand this blog because they feel it's too negative."


What do they expect from their fans? Condolences? Hoorays for this 100+ loss season? Raises? And this from a blogger with one of the fullest glasses, who doesn't care one way or another if Lincoln and Armstrong go just so long as they hire an excellent GM.

Way to go Boys!!!

I'm talking about Mill Creek.....

Posted by ricofoy

1:45 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Was it just a coincidence that Geoff used "ton" to describe Silva's loss total? I think not. ;)
If Ho-Ram was still on the team, he'd be the #2 starter.

Posted by RagArm

1:49 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Memo
To: Geoff Baker
From: David Boardman, Editor

Pretend I'm your assignment editor, Geoff.

First, hop a plane, get to Japan and interview the team's owners. Tell the fans who this is exactly and after talking to Mr. Y or whoever, write about their take on the situation and their ideas for reversing the Good Ship Disaster. Front page Seattle Times on Sunday.

Second, interview some of the more vocal and knowledgeable people who blog here and write a story about them, their concerns about the M's, their dedication to the team, and their ideas for solutions. Page one sports section on Sunday.

Third, don't let a few of the dog players off the hook. Interview Bedard, Yuni, Johjima, and Beltre and ask tough questions and don't back off until you get answers for the fans and your readers. They should not be hiding anonymously and not caring: Example being Eric Bedard who was quoted earlier saying, "I don't care what anyone thinks or says, I just care about my family and how they feel." Second page Sports Section Monday.

Posted by TheViewfromBallard

1:50 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Thanks for the response Geoff. Yeah, I guess you don't criticize the team enough for my taste, because I think that keeping Washburn under the circumstances that unfolded by the deadline is pretty indefensible. Just like I think worrying about avoiding 100 losses is ludicrous. Regardless of what the team thinks, this season has been a joke. Yeah, the team could have played harder (and a little better), but the idea in the offseason that we were Erik Bedard away from a pennant was absurd. All the predictive systems (ZIPS, PECOTA, etc.) had us struggling to finish a distant second at best. There weren't enough good players at the beginning of the season, and there sure as hell aren't now. And while I don't think the manager makes a whole lot of difference, it was obvious last year that McLaren was going to be a disaster. So while I'm not surprised that the M's think this blog is too negative, I don't think they are in a position to judge. They seem to have a consensus that they're doing a good job, and it seems to me that as long as the same group is at the helm, nothing is likely to change. Sorry for the rant, but it seems so obvious to me that I can't take it when somebody starts talking about keeping this team together for the future. Mark my words, (and this is not meant to slight Ibanez) if this group has their way they're going to sign Raul to a multiyear deal that will be an albatross half way into it.

Posted by Terry

2:07 PM, Aug 19, 2008

I'm on to something-its the big teal elephant in the living room. The Ms roster isn't talented enough to contend and it never was this season.

The greatest clubhouse chemistry in the world won't over come that.......

I know that's a boring story but it was predictable.

Posted by vlindwall

2:16 PM, Aug 19, 2008

THANKS

Posted by The Ancient Mariner

2:35 PM, Aug 19, 2008

These people who constantly cite Beltre as a nice player must either be blind or do not watch the games. Last night alone he stranded eight runners with his "unlucky" at bats. Beltre is a terrible hitter when it matters and really that is all that matters. He is not an effective rbi man or run producer. He has no notion of clutch hitting, if he did he might become more selective at the plate and make pitchers throw to him. instead he is a complete sucker for that low away breaking ball and anything at his eye level. In both cases, he more than not ends of striking out when it really matters. Forget the statistics and observe the experience, Beltre is a loser - a Jonah - get rid of him.

Posted by The Mariners FO.

2:36 PM, Aug 19, 2008

The season is shot so please humor me with my fantasy lineup:
1. Hullett, SS
2. Reed, CF
3. Ichiro, RF
4. Ibanez, DH
5. Lopez, 2nd
6. Balentine,LF
7. Clement, C
8. Lahair, 1st
9. Beltre, 3rd
Okay now you can have at it!!!

Posted by bleacher bum

2:46 PM, Aug 19, 2008

for the readers who think baker hasn't been rough enough on the m's, you are nuts. maybe he has dumped enough garbage on them, but their faces are plenty soiled. if you think you can do better, start your own blog.

Posted by Bill

2:49 PM, Aug 19, 2008

" I happen to know the Mariners executive branch can't stand this blog (meaning what I write here) because they feel it's too negative."


Are they takling specifically about you, Geoff? Because if the M's gave us a product (hell at this point I'd settle for even a real plan or a vision for a product) that was worth being positive about there would likely be a lot less negativity. True, there are people who complain about everything, but there are plenty of intelligent baseball fans that post on this blog, who, I think, would have a lot less to complain about if the team were actually winning. And no, I do not mean benching Clement, Balentien, LaHair, etc. in favor of some mediocre veteran past his prime.

Posted by Walrus

3:00 PM, Aug 19, 2008

A question to all on the Beltre issue...
When does batting below .200 with runners on base, and consistently swinging at pitches low and outside - YEAR AFTER YEAR - stop being a Beltre problem, and become a COACHING PROBLEM. IS there not ONE COACH who can through to this guy on how the LEAGUE is pitching to him???

Posted by Alaskan

3:06 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Ancient,

I think the people who think Beltre is "a nice player" are those who are willing to dig a little deeper than what their eyes are showing them. As for the luck, I'd like to hear your explanation for this:

Beltre season BABIP's (batting avg on balls in play):
'99 .318
'00 .312
'01 .297
'02 .277
'03 .256
'04 .328
'05 .284
'06 .296
'07 .297
'08 .259

Clearly there's quite a bit of variation, with an overall BABIP average of .291. This year, while well below that average, is not out of the realm of reasonable variation. I don't see any reason to think that this year should weigh any more heavily than the last few. He's 29 or 30 now, so it's unlikely age-related decline. Also, his K rates are down (slightly) and his BB rates are up (significantly), so it doesn't seem like his approach is settling.

I know when you watch him, it looks awful. I feel the same way. But given the numbers I've sited, the complete picture seems to disagree with my perception. If you still disagree, what do you think I'm missing?

Posted by Alaskan

3:08 PM, Aug 19, 2008

"so it doesn't seem like his approach is settling."

Oops. settling should be 'declining'. I don't know what I was thinking there.

Posted by Draigh

3:14 PM, Aug 19, 2008

The ONLY thing that will change the F.O mindset is a severe downturn at the gate. If the Mariners continue to lay eggs like this season over the next three years, their fan base will crumble. Add in the increased competition for the entertainment dollar from the Sounders and you are going to see a significant downturn in gate receipts if the Mariners don't turn things around quickly. The wine sipping, garlic fries eating public can just as easily go to a Sounders game as see a major league baseball "event" at SAFECO.

They may be forced to retain Ibanez as well as make major pitches to both Burrell and Dunn. Even then, we're stuck with what we got with the rest of the team.

Posted by Balentienforcer

3:15 PM, Aug 19, 2008

"......... ......I happen to know the Mariners executive branch can't stand this blog (meaning what I write here) because they feel it's too negative. But sometimes, you can make a point without scorching the earth.........................."

Who cares what the front office thinks. You don't work for the M's (do you?). You are a reporter for the Seattle Times (aren't you?). Your job is to report the facts as YOU see them (you can see, right?).

If the front office is so butt-hurt that you and others can be negative, FIELD A TEAM THAT WON'T CONTEND FOR LAST PLACE, and get a front office THAT ISN"T THE LAUGHINGSTOCK OF THE ENTIRE LEAGUE.

GO MILL CREEK

Posted by Balentienforcer

3:21 PM, Aug 19, 2008

.....And how come nobody has mentioned the fact that a Mariner alumnus, and manager of the Chinese Olympic team, Jim Lefebvre got tossed yesterday, and a SEATTLE MARINER PROSPECT got injured during the melee in that Olympic tournament game.........

Could HE be better than Riggsy.....?

GO MILL CREEK!

Posted by pbk13

3:24 PM, Aug 19, 2008

I'm sure the FO can't stand this blog, but whatever! The fans can't stand this team, and the fans can't stand the front office, so we're even I guess.

If people in the front office wants the fans to have a better opinion of them, then maybe they should stop being so stupid. That would help.

Posted by pakipaki

3:27 PM, Aug 19, 2008


I'm sorry I missed the post that was pulled. It would've been funny.

I've followed your blog regularly since last season, and I've really enjoyed it, especially the clubhouse and spring training stuff. But when I read your post yesterday suggesting that Washburn has been as good as Felix...I thought that following this team had finally done your head in!

Truth is, anything could happen on any day. Washburn could come out in his next start and throw a CG shutout (Weaver-style), or throw another nightmare like yesterday. Felix could come out tonight and get humped, or throw a perfect game. What performance statistics tell us (as opposed to previous results - which seems to be a key sticking point bewteen posters here and those at USSM and LL) is what is more LIKELY to happen. Yesterday, what was more likely to happen when Washburn was pitching, happened.

Keep it up Geoff. While I may not agree with you all the time, I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do so daily.

On a side note, it seems to me that saying "I won't cheapen this blog by resorting to a petty back and forth" after all of the jabs at the other blogs in previous posts, comes across a bit smacking a guy in the mouth then saying 'I don't want to fight'. Just my opinion though.

Posted by The Ancient Mariner

3:30 PM, Aug 19, 2008

On Beltre, again some stat head responds with his statistics, but the truth is in the experience - yesterday he left 8 runners on base. This result is not uncommon, as he regularly performs at this level. Sure you believe that the stats can't lie but they can be misrepresented and the notion that he is unlucky is ludicrous. Your stats are blinding you to the real Beltre who is worthless in the clutch besides being a below.250 hitter. Beltre has cost this team plenty of runs and wins this season, Beltre is a big part of the problem. You people need to forget the stats and open your eyes. Beltre = Jonah, get rid of him.

Posted by Gordie

3:42 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff doesn't criticize the Mariners enough? And this is the same blog where you had "M's fans" complaining that he was being too hard on them and that he should write happy, friendly stuff about them? You know, the same "fans" who said Sexson didn't fail the M's; the M's failed him?

Posted by oldiecoach

4:03 PM, Aug 19, 2008

I'm totally amazed that Lee P. didn't trade Washburn. He could have gotten rid of all that salary(OK...not trade....give away). Washburn had value.....not now.
What am I saying? I'm must be crazy! Keep Washburn....this way...it increases our chances of having the worst record in ML!
It's going to be tough having the worst record. San Diego and Washington continue to trade away players.....I guess it only shows how bad the M's are....they don't have to trade away players to get worse!!

Posted by ayelenich

4:23 PM, Aug 19, 2008

Geoff, I had no problem dismissing what Silva said about the team not playing hard. To me, that sounded as reliable as when McLaren would come out and say that effort was not a factor. He said that everybody on this team was "playing their butts off." I had no problem dismissing that either. The way I remember it, the common feeling was that McLaren was just trying to protect his players from looking bad. This seems like the exact opposite for Silva, it's not his fault, it's everybody else.

Plus, I find it laughable that any pitcher who can't seem to get out of a game without giving up 5 runs by the 5th inning would try and blame anybody else.

Posted by Faceplant

5:21 PM, Aug 19, 2008

"Your stats are blinding you to the real Beltre who is worthless in the clutch besides being a below.250 hitter."

And your blind devotion to "old school" baseball analysis leaves you incapable of realizing that clutch hitting is not a skill.

Posted by Faceplant

5:39 PM, Aug 19, 2008

"Beltre is a terrible hitter when it matters and really that is all that matters. He is not an effective rbi man or run producer. He has no notion of clutch hitting, if he did he might become more selective at the plate and make pitchers throw to him."

Beltre has a career .782 OPS with runners in scoring position. So either he forgot how to "be clutch" or clutch hitting isn't really a skill, and tends to have big statistical swings due to the small sample size of a season's worth of AB's with RISP.

Here's how Beltre has hit with RISP every year since 2001 by OPS.

.657
.806
.821
.943
.804
.793
.722
.664

Clutch hitting is a meaningless statistic. Stop paying attention to it. You will be much happier, trust me.

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