Minor League Highlights for Wednesday, June 25
Tacoma was idle, as the entire Pacific Coast League had the day off.
San Antonio 4, Arkansas 0. The Missions cruised to victory behind the dominant pitching of RHP Clint Nageotte (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 12 K, who improved his record to 8-2 with the win. 1B A.J. Zapp was 3-4 with a double, driving in a run and scoring another to provide more than enough offense for Nageotte. SS Jose Lopez added two hits including a double, 3B Justin Leone tripled, and LF Jaime Bubela stole a pair of bases.
Inland Empire wrapped up the California League All-Star break with another day off. The 66ers return to action today against blah blah blah.
Peoria 4, Wisconsin 3. The Timber Rattlers managed just two hits in the game, a single each for CF Gary Harris and C Rene Rivera. They did score a pair of unearned runs thanks to a Peoria error and actually led 3-0 after two innings, but were unable to hang on for the victory. LHP Miguel Martinez (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) took the loss in relief of LHP Cesar Jimenez (5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K), who left the game with the score tied at three.
Spokane 4, Everett 1. The AquaSox continue to struggle offensively when it comes to scoring runs, though they did out-hit Spokane 8-4 in the game. 2B Nick Orlandos, hitting leadoff, had three of those eight hits including a double. RHP Beau Hintz started, did his best Nuke LaLoosh impression, and also took the loss for Everett (4 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 6 K).
Mariners 9, Brewers 7. 1B Luis Soto led the offense with a single, a double and three RBIs, and CF Samuel Bradford Jr., SS George Sandel, RF Michael Wilson and 3B Craig Hern each added a pair of hits. Sandel also stole three bases, giving him four on the young season.
Oh, and I know this is a Mariners blog, but its Seattle related, and I need to get this off my chest before I go to bed:
Nick Collison. Luke Ridnour. Willie Green? To quote Bill Simmons, I will now light myself on fire.
I mean, you couldn’t have screwed this draft up anymore if you had tried. A soft unathletic power forward, an out of control transition point who couldn’t stop me from scoring 30, and yet another shooting guard. You know, thats just what I was thinking the Sonics needed.
Alright, back to baseball.
Alex was here for one full season of Safeco Field-2000.
That year, he hit .272/.406/.502 in 265 at-bats when the M’s were at home.
On the road, he hit .356/.433/.702 in 289 at-bats.
So, thats 80 points of batting average, 30 points of on base percentage, and 200 points of slugging percentage. Yea, Alex did relatively well in Safeco. A .900 OPS is nothing to sneeze at, especially from a shortstop. But its not the huge earthshattering upgrade, either. Guillen’s line at Safeco this year is .308/.407/.423 for an .830 OPS.
I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t think Alex would be an improvement. Obviously, he’s an awesome player, and I don’t even think he’s overpaid. However, if you’re asking me if I’d trade Guillen, Soriano, Nageotte, and Lopez for him, the answer would be no. I’d trade Guillen for him straight up. I might even throw in Ryan Franklin. But I wouldn’t give up a lot in return for a player who is going to provide what we already have; hall of fame hitting on the road that is greatly diminished when we come home. The M’s need more left-handed bats that will be able to yank the ball down the right field line and avoid Safeco’s death valley in left center field.
Dave — I think Alex did well in Safeco when he was here (though I can’t find historical splits and I’m on deadline for something here so I can’t stooge around and look). And I like him. So there.
More on bullpen usage:
Rany Jazayerli did a great study for Baseball Prospectus a while back that talks about when it’s best to use your ace relivers. His conclusion:
So how should a team prioritize the use of its best reliever?
1) Top 9th, lead by 1 (.170) 1) Bottom 9th, lead by 1 (.223)
2) Top 9th, tied (.160) 2) Bottom 8th, lead by 1 (.158)
3) Top 8th, lead by 1 (.123) 3) Bottom 9th, tied (.155)
4) Top 8th, tied (.115) 4) Bottom 8th, tied (.122)
5) Top 7th, lead by 1 (.096) 5) Bottom 9th, lead by 2 (.113)
6) Top 7th, tied (.092) 6) Bottom 7th, lead by 1 (.111)
7) Top 9th, lead by 2 (.080) 7) Bottom 8th, lead by 2 (.108
That’s just a summary, too — look closely at the tables and you’ll see how ridiculous it is to push your relievers into far-ahead situtations: protecting a three-run lead is far less valuable than any tied or trial-by-one situation, and most trail-by-two and some early trail-by-three situations.
Melvin’s fixation on lead protection has already hurt the team and will continue to do so.
So, Derek, why exactly is getting another right-handed hitter a good thing? Safeco kills righthanders. The last thing the M’s need is another superstar on the road who hits .220 at home.
As far as replacing Winn and Cirillo go, I’d have to question who is legitimately a better alternative. Are there better hitters than Randy Winn out there? Sure. But how much better would they be in Safeco Field (which is really where the offense needs improving), and how much would it effect the defense. The M’s are currently number one in Defensive Efficiency for a reason, and Winn and Cirillo are contributing to the defensive success.
And, like I said the other day, Cirillo hasn’t stopped hitting. He just went through a homestand, where he never hits. Since going back on the road last Friday, he’s hitting .272/.466/.364. Yes, thats correct, he’s reached base in 7 of his 15 plate appearances since the team left Seattle. I’d go as far as suggesting that when the Mariners aren’t playing at home, Jeff Cirillo is one of the 5 best third baseman in the American League. Ridiculous? Start naming better players. Blalock, Glaus, Koskie, Chavez… Uhh, Bill Mueller, anyone? Robin Ventura? The standards aren’t exactly high, and Cirillo’s .388 road on base percentage (yes, .388, also known as 60 points higher than what the great Eric Chavez is sporting) is darn valuable. Toss in his glove, and he’s a big part of why the M’s are so awesome away from Safeco Field.
Ludicrous thought of the day: the Mariners should see if salary-dumping Texas would like to trade us Alex Rodriguez. Sure, he’s the best player in baseball, but they’re trying to go young-and-cheap now, and Alex gets paid $21m they could waste on other things. They’d save $10m just this year. Texas could use an influx of young good pitchers, and we’ve got young good pitchers to give, and give ’em Guillen to serve out his time at second. Alex gets to play for a competitive team, which is his long-stated desire, in front of fans who appreciate.. well, good thing we poisoned that well. Anyway, I’m sure the town would come around soon enough if he returned. As much as Alex likes yapping about what a great 2b partner Young is, who wants to bet Boone would be even nicer? Plus, he’d be able to get away from Carl Everett.
And that 25m, that’s money the team has, and don’t let them tell you otherwise. They just would prefer to keep it.
The upgrade’s two, three games in the standings easily just with the bat, and then they’d have another right-handed bat, improved up-the-middle defense. Oooh yeah.
Why this won’t happen: M’s are allergic to long-term deals, which is why they lost Alex in the first place. It’s further from Florida. Alex’s unfairly been labeled a money-grubbing pariah here in Seattle.
So what else does this leave us? Where can the team upgrade, costs aside?
Left field: Winn’s good defensively, we figure, but he’s not hitting at all. Good-hitting LFers who might be available… yeagh. Luis Gonzalez? Brian Giles? Cliff Floyd?
3rd base: Cirillo’s stopped hitting again, I don’t know what to do about him. Mike Lowell’s obviously the prize right now, and then it’s a bleak picture.
Bullpen: dear lord, if you’re dead set and determined to have a second lefty in the pen, it doesn’t have to be Matt Freaking White. Argh.
Bench: standard rant here
Costs included, Winn makes $3.3m, Cirillo makes $6.85m, so it’s unlikely the parsimonous M’s would bench either. And they don’t call him Stand Pat for no reason.
I know what’s on your mind, dear readers. “Yeah, I know it seems like Melvin’s only using the good relievers when the M’s are ahead, but is that just perception?”
Hell no. Arthur Rhodes has been in 36 games this year. To break that down:
7 times Rhodes was put into a game when the M’s were behind by any score
1 Rhodes was put into a tie game
28 when Rhodes came in the Mariners had a lead
Further, I think Rhodes has been brought in with the Mariners up by more than three runs as many times as he was brought in with the team behind *at any score*.
Hasegawa’s been in 33 games, and… well, and I’m tired of looking at game logs. Heh. But I see he’s got what, 11 holds, a save, and looking through his season log, I see a lot of games where he’s used in the same way-ahead game situations Rhodes is. I would bet that a detailed accounting would validate this, and I’m going to see if I can’t do some work on this for Baseball Prospectus. Baseball Prospectus: because in the world of MLB coverage, you get what you pay for. Um, anyway, the good relievers appear in close and close-and-behind games far less than you’d expect from the M’s record.
Ladies and gentlemen, Matt White: the new Carrara. Every team has to have one guy on the roster they can blame things on (the Emmanuel Goldstein, for today’s literary reference) and with Carrara gone, Matt White’s been shoved forward to take the boos.
In other news: Garcia is crediting his improvement to better mechanics, concentration, a move on the rubber, and developing an effective slider. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?
After last nights game, we got several emails that said, essentially, the exact same thing:
“Why did Bob Melvin put Matt White into a one run game, when his quality relievers were all available to pitch?”
Because Bob lives in Bizarro-World, where a 1-run deficit is insurmountable but we must protect a 5 run lead at all costs. He has systematically shown a refusal to use a non-crappy reliever in situations where the Mariners are trailing, and he saves the Nelson/Rhodes/Hasegawa trio to protect leads.
Of course, Pat Gillick gets his share of the blame for bringing Matt White and Giovanni Carrara here in the first place. But Melvin is going to have to learn how to use his bullpen. He’s simply awful at it right now.