Tonight’s game produced the most unbelievable boxscore line of the season to date:
AB R H RBI BB
J Mabry, DH 1 0 0 0 4
Who walks John Mabry four times?!
Three cheers for Julio Mateo and Rafael Soriano. Is there a more underrated reliever in baseball than Mateo right now? His only flaw is his tendency to give up the long ball, and even that has been curtailed lately. Look at his monthly splits:
April: 12 2/3 IP, 10 H, 2 HR, 4 BB, 11 K, 2.13 ERA
May: 13 1/3 IP, 15 H, 5 HR, 4 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA
June: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 HR, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.50 ERA
July: 15 2/3 IP, 11 H, 1 HR, 0 BB, 15 K, 1.15 ERA
He was tateriffic in May, but he’s been lights out the rest of the year, and he’s been unreal the past two months. Righties are managing just a .179/.273/.231 line against him. Remarkably, he’s pitched this well despite not being spotted solely against right-handers. I have few issues saying Mateo is a better reliever than Jeff Nelson right now.
I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be up in arms about the Pirates trading 3B Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs today. After all, he’s 25, has some power, and is having a reasonable season with a .283/.333/.453 line. However, Aramis Ramirez just isn’t that good, and I won’t lose any sleep over not acquiring him.
He’s on the hook for $6 million next year, which is no small chunk of change. This is the same guy who hit .234/.279/.387 last year, has awful plate discipline, and boasts a career .313 on base percentage. He’s also right-handed, and does most of his damage versus lefties, making him a poor fit for the M’s needs. The real kicker, though? He’s a butcher in the field. I’d project him to hit something in the range of .250/.305/.430 as a Mariner, making him worth about 15 more runs than Cirillo offensively over the course of the entire season. There’s almost no doubt in my mind, however, that Cirillo’s glove is more than 15 runs better than Ramirez’s, and I’m not sure Cirillo isn’t a better fit for this team than Ramirez is.
Of course, that comparison would require Melvin to actually play Cirillo, who is stil the best third baseman on the roster. Consider, since Willie Bloomquist took over:
The Mariners are 3-5 against bad opponents.
They have allowed 45 runs (and counting) in 9 games
They have allowed double digit hits in 5 of the 6 games on the current road trip.
The carcas of Mark McLemore being allowed to play shortstop has something to do with the truly godawful defense we’ve gotten from the left side of the infield the past week, but Bloomquist isn’t helping with his glove at third base, either. Oh, and he’s 3 for 21 since the Tampa Series ended. Guess this small sample doesn’t count, though, right, because we all want Wee Willie to succeed.
Put Cirillo back in and be done with it.
I want to say something interesting and insightful today, but don’t have any great ideas. I’m worried about Meche. I’m disappointed that this team is so badly constructed, so lacking in depth. I liked reading the trading deadline preview, and I also know none of it’s going to happen.
I understand that teams operate under a much greater burden of caution than we do. Almost every organization is reluctant to make a move: there has to be a clear advantage to making a personell change. Some are a little hyperactive, and some use transactions as punishment (the Twins of the Kelly years, for instance). No one’s going to run a real franchise like a fantasy roto owner, making two or three deals a week, one of them involving more than five players, so you have a 200% roster turnover over the course of a season. Teams don’t want to disrupt their rosters, they want to see returns on their investments.
No team though would have been better served by the constant improvement twitchiness of, say, the Reds, than the Mariners. This is a team age will catch up to soon. Maybe not today, or this year, but with Edgar retiring, this is likely it for this edition of the competitive Mariners. The team has a core they can win with, the issue has been the supporting players — and that sould have been easy.
Utility players, spares, platoon partners, these are all things you can pick off the waiver wire if you’re in the office and awake. These are the guys you can pick up and discard, and flex the lineup around as the season goes on. Out of fear and sloth, the Mariners have done nothing. Bloomquist must be one popular clubhouse guy for the team to keep dropping games around him. To look to improve requires a recognition of problems, which goes hand in hand with honest evaluation of your players and others, a hunger to win, and a willingness to take risks. The Mariners have none of these: they’re happy with their team, they’re blind to their own weaknesses, they’re content to win 80-85 games, and they’re risk-adverse.
Sadder still is that the team’s penny-wise and pound-foolish. The Mariners are one of the best teams in the league in making money, and yet they’re unable to grasp how much more money they would make in the playoffs. Every regular season win, more or less, is worth $1-$2 million dollars in revenue to a team, when you take everything into account. Playoff games, even if you lose, are worth millions to a team. A World Series title is millions on top of that.
Pushing Bloomquist out for an infield upgrade, finding better bats, dumping Wilson, McLemore… every improvement, every win they could scrape out, would be worth millions to this team.
Or maybe they are: maybe they’ve got a sheet somewhere that says they’ll make $100m if they fill Safeco and don’t get to playoffs, but being active might cost them an extra $10m and make them only $5m, and their chances of getting to the playoffs don’t improve enough to justify spending even more. I’ll be applying for the M’s GM job if Gillick retires.