September 27, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

How about those Sacramento Rivercats, huh? Six pitchers, sixteen position players… this wasn’t a game, it was a circus parade. I’m glad I didn’t try and score this bad boy.

Great moment of tonight: Edgar’s last at-bat people stood, applauded and kept applauding. It was awesome. Never content to let fans have their own moment, of course, after a couple of pitches the M’s started to do the dumb clappy sound effects and co-opt the moment (and not as if they’re trying to assist, as with herding the Eee-chee-ro chants together). It was cool though.

Overheard at the Ballpark, 9/25: “I still think John Olerud is our MVP.”

Last year when the Angels and Giants met in the World Series, one of the things people pointed to was that both teams had the best run differential in their leagues, and so maybe beyond the vagries of a couple wins breaking one way or another, they were indeed the best teams and the Wild Card was good because it ensured they had… anyway.

The M’s scored 770 runs to date, allowed 627 (+143). Oakland’s only a bit behind them, at 758-618 (+140, though Mr. Fairly will tell you the important thing to know about Oakland’s offense is… come on, you know the words… that they may not get as many hits, but they get the key hits).

New York’s at +155, Boston’s at +156 (and jeez, what an offensive attack these guys have… we complain the Mariners fielded Edgar+Boone+crap for much of this year, and when those guys don’t hit it’s lights out on the lineup, and the Red Sox are top-to-bottom OBP guys around two similarly outstanding hitters, and you see the result).

Seattle, for all of their flaws, still managed to hang with the bigger dogs, but Oakland pulled out the title. So here’s the question: Why?

Here’s a couple of random stats that I’ve been chewing on today…

Seattle became a .500 team in close games: 16-15 in games decided by a run, 14-15 in two-run games, 12-10 in three-run games, 14-12 in 4 run games. Once you get out to 6+ run difference, the Mariners become (essentially) undefeatable. That’s weird.

Oakland, by contrast, got some breaks: 25-20 1 run, 20-14 2 run, 18-7 3 run.

It’s probably too stupid to make anything of, and yet.. what kind of games were the M’s winning? Games where the beat the stuffing out of the other team. When that happened, shut the door. Otherwise, it was a coin flip. I don’t know what that means, either. And yeah, I know, you’re thinking “but Derek, you’re a professional baseball writer, shouldn’t you be able to interpret this stuff?”

“Yes, dear reader, yes I should.” No, but seriously, I’m throwing this stuff out there because I’m curious what the rest of the world thinks. Writing columns is like cross-examinations: you don’t ask questions you can’t answer for the reader. I’ve got more discarded columns just this year on my PC than the Tigers have losses. Than Viagra ads you’ve seen this season. Than…

The problem with the beat-the-stuffing=wins stats is you’d think then the Mariners were winning all the games when they could match a good pitcher (Moyer, 1st-half Meche, Pineiro, good Freddy, good Franklin) against a scrub. But they weren’t: the M’s split the season series with Texas (oh, the humanity) and their starters endorse lighter fluid in Texas (“Fans, when even I can’t get the fire going, I turn to Bob’s Extra Flamy Barbeque Start Stuff”). They did beat the stripes off the Tigers (8-1), but Tampa had awful starting pitching and they took 5 of 9 from the M’s. Anahiem’s pitching was a disaster for much of the season, and the M’s only managed to go 11-8.

I blame Gillick.

September 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Art Thiel, of the Seattle PI, has a new book out (Out of Left Field — How the Mariners Made Baseball Fly in Seattle), and the PI’s been running excerpts from it:

Mariners nearly fanned on Junior

Piniella, Lincoln clash led to exit

Big Unit’s attitude a role in ’98 trade

Ellis issued challenge, and M’s got their leader

Definately recommended reading for the M’s fan.

Disturbing quote of the day, from the PI’s M’s notebook by David Andriessen:

What the Mariners do this winter becomes far less predictable should Gillick depart, though with the rest of management committed to the game plan, it’s unlikely his replacement would deviate far from the Gillick Doctrine.

“We’re all in this together,” Gillick said. “It’s an organizational approach.”

Let’s start crossing the interesting candidates off our GM lists, Dave.

And in the laughable analysis category:

Speaking of third base, being on the hook for nearly $13 million for All-Star-turned-pine-rider Jeff Cirillo over the next two years is an issue. Their best chance to get rid of him is to package him with someone more attractive — perhaps Garcia — and agree to eat part of the contract.

Let’s role-play here. I’m another GM, and I’ll also be FUTURE M’S GM.

“Hey fellow GM, Roger here.”

“What’s up, Roger?”

“I know you need pitching, and we’ve got too much.”

“Cool, send me Soriano and Blackley and I’ll give you this spice rack.”

“Um, no, I was thinking about Garcia.”

“What, are you serious? Even if you win the maximum decrease in arbitration, I’ll be on the hook for what, six million dollars? For what, a lottery ticket?”

“Yeah, okay, that’s true, but you know, maybe he thrives over there.”

“And maybe he hates it. Tell you what, though, our scouts like him, and I think maybe we can work with him. What do you want?”

“Couple of young kids in A ball would be fine.”

“Okay, I think we might be able to swing this deal.”

“One more thing… you’d have to take Cirillo too. We’d be willing to pay part of his contract.”

“Roger, call me back when the crack wears off.”

September 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

As much as I’d like to see the Tacoma guys mop up the saeson, how about using John Olerud? If he tears his elbow up and has to go in for Tommy John, we collect insurance next year and upgrade. Where’s the downside?

Note of the day: Pat Borders was drafted just behind Alvin Davis in the 1982 draft.

September 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

From Lee Sinins’ email report: “Mariners DH Edgar Martinez says he hasn’t decided yet whether he will be

retiring after the season. Martinez says a big factor in the decision is his 9 year old son doesn’t want him to retire.”

Isn’t this distilled Edgar for you?

(Edgar comes home after road trip and head-to-head with Gillick. He sets down his bags.)

“Boy, I am exhausted. Family, I have an announcement. I’ve had enough of baseball. I want to spend more time with you.”

“We like seeing you be so awesome. Hang out with us later.”

“Um, okay.”

(Edgar picks up bags, walks back out)

September 26, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Just crunching some numbers this morning, and we’ll make this available as a U.S.S. Mariner offseason feature soon, but here is how the 2004 roster breaks down as of today, not including 40 man roster minor leaguers:

1. $40.5 million in guaranteed contracts to seven players

2. 18 players under control through contracts, arbitration, or renewal.

3. Six arbitration eligible players that I project at a total cost of $25 million.

4. Six free agents, whose total cost to retain would be about $20 million

5. If the entire 2003 club was retained, the approximate payroll: $88 million.

September 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Yeah, what are we going to be doing this off-season? We’ll still be writing, I’ll tell you that much right now. There should be plenty to talk about, between the search for a new GM, lots of potential player movement, and of course MLB in general.

In a completely unrelated note — well, related only in that it involves me — I sprained my ankle this evening and it’s not pleasant.

Oh, and Boston clinched the Wild Card tonight if you hadn’t already heard (hence, no more countdown on the left nav).

September 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  


“Now taking the field to present this year’s check to Children’s Hosptial is Mariners President Chuck Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln.”


“What’s that? Chuck, are they booing us?”

“Uh, no sir, there’s been an accounting scandal at the Hospital.”

September 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

In a totally random note: “Fifty million Americans can’t be wrong.” — Representative Billy Tauzin, R-Louisiana, after a judge blocked implementation of the national do-not-call list.

While estimates vary hugely, the fairly reputable 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found there were 11 million marijuana users in the country, which means 1 in 20 people in this country use an illegal drug. Do you think Billy Tauzin is going to stump for rational drug policy on that platform?

Uh, so anyway, many people want to know what we’re going to write about in the off-season, and I have no idea. Probably the M’s, and probably less frequently (one: less going on, two: better job for Derek stops mid-day posting).

September 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

The problem with not putting Rrrandy Winn through arb and moving him to center is that there aren’t going to be much better alternatives out there. Cameron’s a FA, he’ll be gone, and unless we want to trade for Beltran, we’re in trouble.

I don’t think Winn’s a liability in center so much as he’s not Cameron. Defensively he’s no McLemore out there. Who’s available (scampering for notes… holy mackeral, is Vernon Wells having a nice season)?

Milton Bradley and the Indians are parting ways, that wouldn’t be so bad, though Milton seems to emit radiation on a wavelength that alienates front offices.

Carl Everett? There’s nothing in the bible about playing child abusers (yeah, I know, there’s no evidence he directly beat the kids himself, just that he failed to intervene…)

Kenny Lofton? He’s awful defensively.

Ken Griffey Jr. may seriously be the team’s best option, especially if the Reds will eat a lot of his salary. Man, I used to love cheering for Griffey before he went insane. And playing him in center’s probably not going to help the injuries.

Other than that, you’re looking at a AAA-level flycatcher. Though now that I think about it, a pure defensive CF wouldn’t be so bad if they did let Winn go and invested that $10m+ in a masher for LF and a decent 4th OF (like free agent Rrrrandy Winn).

September 25, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

C Randy Winn

1B Rey Sanchez

2B Mike Cameron

SS John Mabry

3B Jeff Cirillo (ha!)

LF Pat Borders

CF Carlos Guillen

RF John Olerud

DH Luis Ugueto

And on the mound, #29, Bret Boone.

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