Always nice to take 2 out of 3 in Yankee Stadium. With the A’s loss (side note: Esteban Loaiza is for real, and the White Sox scare the crap out of me. Go Royals), we have a 4 game lead again, the 4th best record in baseball, and we’re in a virtual tie with the Yankees for home field advantage in the playoffs. Some miscellaneous Sunday notes:
1. Its time to praise Bob Melvin. His willingness to put Mateo and then Soriano into a game at Yankee Stadium, with the lead, shows that he’s learning. Soriano has turned into the 1996 version of Mariano Rivera, with one slight caveat; Soriano might just be better. Here are there two lines, with Soriano’s season projected out to Rivera’s 107 inning total:
Mo IP Â Â Â H Â Â Â R Â Â ER Â Â HR Â Â BB Â Â SO Â Â ERA
1996 107.2 73 25 25 1 34 130 2.09
So IP Â Â Â H Â Â Â R Â Â ER Â Â HR Â Â BB Â Â SO Â Â ERA
2003 107 58 17 17 3 21 137 1.44
Despite all the talk that Soriano should replace Freddy in the rotation, I’m not sure Soriano isn’t more valuable to the Mariners in the playoffs working the high leverage 7th and 8th innings, blowing people away in close games. If you stick him in the playoff rotation, he’s the #4 starter (in which case you’re also bumping Ryan Franklin to the pen), and he throws 6-8 per series. Bring him out of the bullpen, and you can get 10+ innings per series out of him, and make those innings count. Starters are usually more valuable than relievers. In this case, I’m not so sure.
2. Remember all those people that told you Willie Bloomquist just needed regular playing time in order to show how good of a hitter he really is? Well, they’re wrong.
Bloomquist, pre all-star: .233/.314/.344
Bloomquist, post all-star: .243/.303/.271
3. Mark McLemore, worst player in baseball?
4. John Mabry pinch hitting for Dan Wilson might be the stupidest thing on earth. Ben Davis is going to have to catch the next inning anyways, so they aren’t “saving the catcher” by using Mabry. And well, everyone on the planet should realize that Davis (.266/.325/.429) is a better hitter than Mabry (.162!/.305/.324).
5. Shigetoshi Hasegawa now has a 0.66 ERA. For his career, its 3.48, and his career best was 3.14 in 1998. He’s also struck out 23 batters in 55 innings, good for a 3.76 K/9 ratio. 3.76 K/9 and 0.66 ERA don’t often go together. This might be the craziest relief season I’ve ever seen.
6. Remember Aaron Boone, trading deadline superstar? He’s hitting .121/.121/.152 since the trade. Yeesh.
7. Did I mention that the White Sox scare the crap out of me? Please, everyone, root like mad for the Royals. I mean, Loaiza-Buerhle-Colon or May-Lima-Hernandez? Is this even a question? How are the White Sox not 15 games up in that division?
8. Why didn’t someone tell me that it rains more in Winston-Salem (45 inches SO FAR this year) than in Seattle (36 inches average yearly rainfall)?
Jeff Nelson rules. 2 inherited runners, 2 runs allowed.
Yeah, maybe Freddy could go to Tacoma after all
I’ve read through an old version of the Major League Rules I’ve been told has only minor changes since then, and have some thoughts.
Major League Rule 11(c) states that “an optional assignment of a player contract shall be permitted for not more than three seasons between Major League Clubs and Minor League Clubs”, and even further, there’s an “EXCEPTION: Contracts of Major League Players who, prior to commencement of the current season, have been credited with less than five seasons of professional baseball (excluding [some technicalities]) shall be elligible for a fourth optional assignment, without waivers, during that season.”
For blanket refusal of minor-league assignments, you’ve got to have 5 cumulative years on the ML service time.
It would seem that even if you have four full years of service and you’ve been optioned up and down in three of those years, you can still get pushed down to the minors in your *fifth* year, though apptly it could happen only once.
Still… I wonder. This contradicts a lot of the summary information I find out on the web, some of it published by clubs themselves.
Other blog-related news: Blogger seemed to have solved the constant problems with archiving and the permalinks (the little blue thing after the author’s name in the post, which supposedly provide a way to link directly to entries forever) are broken… again. I’ve logged an issue with blogger, but we’ll see if anything ever comes of it. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Thanks to everyone who is who so impressed with the U.S.S. Mariner they offered their full endorsement.
Sunday’s Times-PI has a Bob Sherwin minor league piece (“M’s take stock in good, young pitching“). Features some comments by Benny Looper, and it’s always interesting to get the official team line. I’m still baffled at why people think Thornton’s going to recover and make a huge impact, or why Anderson may ever be healthy again. Sherwin’s Top 10 and (their rank) at the USS Mariner Future Forty, for comparison’s sake:
1.(2) RHP Clint Nageotte
2.(5) RHP Rett Johnson
3.(6) LHP Travis Blackley
4.(1) OF Chris Snelling
5.(4) OF Shin-Soo Choo
6.(13) LHP Bobby Livingston
7.(25) 3B Justin Leone
8.(3) SS Jose Lopez
9.(8) RHP Cha Baek
10.(--) OF Greg Jacobs
Justin Leone’s a controversial prospect even within the organization. He’s having a great year, no doubt, but then, he’s also 26 in AA. His minor league lines don’t suggest he’s a can’t-miss prospect (and here I’d like to thank the Mariners 2003 Information Guide, which doesn’t have either OBP or SLG in their historical lines). He went unlisted in almost every prospect list and book I have handy. Sherwin also seems to say that a Moyer-Pineiro-Meche-Soriano-Johson/etc rotation would be a bad thing — “The club can’t afford to inject too much youth into the rotation, but it must be served at some point.” I always reject standards like this. If you have players who are ready, I say you play them, regardless of overall team age. Best player for the job, all that. The A’s, for example, have a rotation with Hudson (28), Zito (25), Mulder (26), and Harden (22).
Also, Sherwin writes that “it would seem likely [Garcia] would be shipped out over the winter, perhaps brining in another starter candidate.” Um, no. Garcia makes a lot of money after beating the M’s in arbitration before this season. Under arb rules, he can’t get a significant pay cut if he’s taken to arb again. So trading him means that the M’s will have to offer arbitration to keep Garcia bound to the club, and then find someone who is willing to take a risk of at least $6m. To think that a team is going to make that gamble and give the M’s a player good enough to be a starter candidate at the same time — who would do that? Why not just keep the starter candidate, and then they can just wait out the M’s (I don’t expect the team will even offer him arbitration) and get Garcia on the free-agent market for $much less.
Other articles today: M’s plan to ease Sasaki into closing, blah blah velocity back he’s fine, and two from Larry Stone, Officially Endorsed Seattle Print Baseball Writer of the U.S.S. Mariner:
“Shiggy saving the season for M’s” and “Beinfest, Marlins making waves”.
I missed this earlier this week: Freddy Garcia has two blown eardrums. Don’t fret, though — “I can still dance good.”