May 31, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Mariners versus Blue Jays! The newly revamped and revitalized Mariners head back home after their triumphant world tour.

Monday, 7:05p, LHP Moyer v RHP Hentgen. I always think of Pete Harnisch instead of Hentgen — “He’s still around?”.

Tuesday, 7:05p, RHP Meche v RHPP Halladay. Halladay’s been the best pitcher on the Blue Jays staff so far, and only Freddy Garcia’s been better for us. Meche… well, you’ve seen what’s happening.

Wednesday, 7:05p, RHP Pineiro v LHP Lilly. Lilly the huge-then-ex-prospect has revived his career by way of being okay.

Didn’t the cops catch up to “Bum Fights” and shut them down?

Offenses: Toronto 25th, Seattle 27th

Rotations: Seattle 14th, Toronto 19th

Bullpens: Toronto 18th, Seattle 21st

Defenses: Seattle okay, Toronto slightly worse

Seriously.. ugh. Two bottom-tier teams punching each other repeatedly for meaningless wins. Orlando Hudson’s out, Kevin Cash is out, Frank Catalanotto is out, and that new mean-looking Jay… that’s dumb. I liked the old logo better, it was classy.

It’s interesting to note that the Blue Jays, who hired JP Riccardi, who got the job because he went into the interviews and laid out exactly the kind of super-sabermetric-friendly team plan I would have, if I was really good at presentations, and could get an interview for these kind of jobs.

Since he took over, he’s gutted as much payroll as he could, they’re drafting college players almost exclusively (well, that’s too strong — they’ve moved towards a lot more of them). The Blue Jays compete in a brutally difficult division, like the Mariners do, plus they suffer from some terrific currency exchange issues that hamper thair ability to spend on payroll.

For all of their work trying to turn the team around, they’re playing .440 ball. They don’t have any huge future superstar position players on the major league team (I know, Wells, but I mean a guy like early Beltran that’s out playing and makes you nod and think “You can build a team around this guy”, and Wells doesn’t make me think that), and I don’t see Delgado sticking around after his contract’s up, though I don’t know where he’d head (we could do much worse).

The Blue Jays, though, cost $50m, and they’re better than the Mariners by a long shot.

Hey, interesting side note — ESPN’s straight-no-bunk payroll has the Mariners at $73m.

There are a couple of points here, I guess —

The Blue Jays as an organization are spending their money way, way better than the Mariners, even if their team isn’t winning the way the A’s are.

A smart organization can spend some money and keep themselves respectable as they transform into something capable of long-term success.

The Mariners don’t have some money, they have a ton of money. If they wanted, they could run $100m+ payrolls and make mid-season salary pickups, and still be profitable. If they’re willing to listen to my pal Dave here, they can start drafting much better, make some astute trades, and spend their way to short-term respectability while they try and rebuild a shattered farm system.

See everyone at the game tonight!

May 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Hey, also, where are all these big changes we were promised? It’s been a week since Finnegan’s piece in the Times, and two weeks since the piece in the News Tribune. So far all we’ve seen is the McCracken-Nageotte swap — color me unimpressed.

May 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

So, three games and Nageotte still hasn’t pitched. After Mateo’s long outing on 5/27, he’s only thrown 10 pitches in the past three days, so I’m sure he’s fully available again. Nageotte will go back to Tacoma tomorrow (the team is back in Seattle Monday), Jamal Strong will make his way to Seattle to take the roster spot he should have had all season, and Nageotte’s service time clock will have begun ticking for no reason at all.

May 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Jon Rauch is being run out of the White Sox organization. They’ve come out in public and said “anyone interested in Jon Rauch should call us.” See, he left the stadium early after a bad start, possibly (Rauch maintains) because of a misunderstanding and possibly (the White Sox say) because he didn’t want to talk to the GM after his outing.

The M’s should be calling. Now, we can debate on Rauch’s possible future value and potential, whether he can complete his comeback from labrum surgery, but here’s the problem in a nutshell:

Clint Nageotte’s been called up for.. however long he’s up. This means the Rainiers rotation is patched up and features Scott Maynard, who’s throwing the knuckler as a pitcher. Maynard is the guy you may remember last year was an infielder (ed: catcher, actually) of not much note. Faced with being released, Maynard said “Hey, check this out” and now he’s filling in the rotation in Tacoma. The Mariners don’t have a lot of options for filling in their minor-league rotation, which probably only matters to Rainiers fans, but becomes important if we’re going to start jettisoning guys out of the major league rotation (trade, or suspicious injury.. whatever), because Tacoma still has to field a team.

And if the White Sox are really willing to toss Rauch, well — in AAA Charlotte the dude was 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA, in 50 innings of work he walked 18 guys, struck out 40, and… well, he gave up 7 home runs. But Tacoma would help with that.

My point is that Rauch is all upside. You stick him in AAA to fill the rotation, even if he is only going 5 innings a start, or long relief, or whatever. And if he returns to being the monster prospect some people saw a couple of years ago, you win there, too.

May 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Two things on today’s broadcast:

The Rizzs-Henderson blasting of diving into first was the first multi-minute commentary that I’ve heard from this year that was entirely, verifiably true.

I discovered that I own a fan that somehow totally obliterates Dave Henderson’s voice, except when he raises quite a bit to make some weird point. It’s really quite pleasant to run while I watch the game. I get a nice breeze in the room and the quality of commentary improves dramatically.

May 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Manager Second-Guessing of the Night: Terry Francona

In the bottom of the 8th, Hasegawa relives Mateo.

Varitek singles

McCarty doubles (again with the doubles)

Men on second and third, Gabe Kapler-R is set to bat against Hasegawa. Kapler v RHP this year: .234/.270/.298, three year .268/.334/.393

Opposing hitters v. Hasegawa this year (3-year)

RHB: .300/.383/.420 (.228/285/.362)

LHB: .237/.326/.368 (.252/.326/.351)

What you make of that matchup depends on your taste, I guess.

Melvin has the M’s best reliever warm in Guardado. This is startling in itself, but it’s still likely that he wouldn’t bring in Guardado until you’ve got a lefty up. Meanwhile, Hasegawa’s been craptabulous this year and Aurilia’s been put in at short, sooo the defense just took a step back, too.

After Kapler, due up is Pokey Reese-R, who’s helpless against righties and average against lefties, then Mark Bellhorn-B, who’s been getting on base (.246/.387/.408) well this year, followed by Youklis-R and Ortiz-L.

I think you leave Kapler in there and see what happens. Hasegawa’s leaving the ball out to be hit, as he has most of this season, under double-plus pressure not to walk the bases loaded, and Kapler can make contact and maybe drive it (how come Kapler’s never hit for the kind of power everyone thought he would? That dude is freaking ripped, he could throw the ball farther than he hits it.)

Instead, Damon bats for Kapler, Melvin brings Guardado in (“He’s learning! Yayyy!”)

Now, it doesn’t work out as well as we’d like, but it’s weird to see Melvin put his best reliever out there when he really needed his best pitcher out there.

Other notes from this game:

Using Ron Villone, Classic Swingman, in the LOOGY role is ridiculous, especially when Myers was up later so heee was available.

Generally speaking, when people propose rules changes to baseball I roll my eyes. The rules we have, ignored and battered as they are, work well enough. We should enforce them as they’re written and then see about adding on (which I understand makes me a super-conservative on that).

That said, I’m starting to come around on Bill James’ suggestions to improve baseball, particularly those around limiting in-game substitutions — that pitchers, say, should have to face at least two batters before they can be removed. This constant five-six ptichers/game strategy of Melvin’s was old last year and it’s torture this year as the team loses.

For one, it’s dumb. If you’re to the point where you’re selecting pitchers based on their ability to get one-sided batters out, you’re in trouble already. Plus churning through them like this risks disaster with each swap. Every time you bring a pitcher in, you don’t really know what they’ll be throwing that day, and there’s a significant chance you won’t be getting the idealized guy you thought you were bringing in. Relieving a pitcher who is cruising or dealing some filthy cards to secure an unknown marginal advantage for one batter is short-sighted and dumb.

For two, if we’re going to lose, could we at least be quick about it? I know the Mariner hitters have been pitching in towards this goal, but they can’t carry the load alone.

May 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Apparently good old New York Vinnie mentioned the USS Mariner today on channel 13’s post-game show… so, welcome aboard if you’re just now finding us thanks to him. Have a look around, stay as long as you like, and we hope you’ll be back often.

May 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

I liked today’s game. Sure, you’re not going to see Myers strike out three guys in an inning’s worth of work (!) but they were patient with Wakefield and took their walks where they could get them. Knuckleball guys, even when they’re on, are likely to give up baserunners on walks and hit some guys, and containing frustration at the nature of the pitch in order to hit what you can isn’t something you see all the time.

Still, four doubles against today– four. This defense may not be league-worst, but they do give up the XBH more often then we’re used to seeing.

We got some email today about something the Fox announcers said — that the Mariners were 3rd in the league in “fielding”. I don’t know what that means, and even if you use fielding percentage, which is a terrible way to evaluate defense, they’re not third, they’re in a huge pack in the middle. Even the other commonly-circulated-but-still-not-that-good stats like ZR have the Mariners at best at about #20.

So I’m stumped about what that might have meant, and I wasn’t listening so I don’t have any context to go on.

May 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Why would Melvin mess with the rotation, Jason? He’s got to set a record for only using 5 starters for two years. History’s at stake here. He didn’t take Meche out last year or start giving him more regular time off when Meche was clearly gassed, why start now?

May 28, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Nageotte’s up, but you probably already know that. Melvin says he won’t mess with the rotation — c’mon, Bob, Meche is awful! — so it’s off to the bullpen. If this really is just a move to get Mateo some rest, I would have rather brought up, say, Scott Atchison instead of Nageotte. No reason to disturb his regular starts. Yeah, Atchison isn’t on the 40-man, but they could have easily made room by simply using McCracken’s spot. In any event, if they somehow manage to get some good innings from their starters this weekend, it’s entirely possible Nageotte goes back down on Monday without having thrown a single pitch in the majors.

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