Aaaaand… another loss.
Don’t let those ten hits fool you — this offense is anemic. In nine innings, M’s hitters managed just one extra-base hit and one walk. As Dave said earlier, that just isn’t going to get the job done. Meanwhile, they’ve fallen 10.5 games back of Anaheim and are five full games out of third.
Time for a major overhaul? You bet, particularly with the number of free agents the M’s have this winter: Edgar, Wilson, Olerud, Garcia, Aurilia, Hansen. And frankly, I don’t want any of them back next season (with the exception of Edgar, who can play here as long as he likes). Sadly, Garcia’s the only one likely to fetch much in trade. That’s OK, though, because it’s about time to look ahead to next season.
One interesting side effect of Boone’s back problems is that he has an option for 2005 which vests if he reaches 450 plate appearances. He’s still well on pace to do so, but if the back winds up being a bigger issue, he might not make the cut. Moving along, and at the risk of upsetting people — Boone’s probably the team’s most tradable regular, and I wouldn’t be averse to dealing him. By the time the M’s have a chance of competing again (and that’s not next season, barring free agency miracles), he’ll no longer be a top-shelf player. I’m not saying I’d be out shopping him — no, wait, why the heck not? — but he shouldn’t be off the table.
Bavasi said he and his staff are in the process of identifying which MLB teams might have the best matches for trades. The Mariners, who need more offense, have the kind of starting pitching that other teams covet.
Most teams are still in process of determining whether they will be a buyer or seller leading up the July 31 trade deadline. Bavasi wants to be in the group that adds players for the second half of the season, but it’s up to the present players to make it happen.
Nice indirect quote. It’s also up to the manager and general manager to make that happen, and they’re doing a pretty good job at making sure it doesn’t happen.
I love that the Mariners have the kind of starting pitching other teams covet. If Garcia’s turned around and pitching right, he’s still expensive. Pineiro and Meche are question marks. Franklin would be an effective back-end rotation guy who goes deep into games for relatively cheap and do well for a team with a good defense, but what contending team meets those criteria, and what can they offer the M’s?
More importantly, I like that the team is still unable to figure out what’s wrong with on the field, or why they’re losing games. Smart people saw the flaws before the season even started, we know the Mariners know what the criticism of their team have been, and we know that those criticisms were spot on.
I cannot understand how any business can run like this.
“Hey, your fruit stand is on fire.”
“No it’s not.”
“It is, seriously, and I mention this because I like your fruit.”
“You must be some kind of complainer. I will ignore you now. Now where did all the customers go? I note that, totally independent of that first dude, that it’s unusually hot here. I will call to have an expensive air conditioner installed.”
This latest news is ill tidings for the Mariner fan: if you thought Bavasi did a bad job patching (and opening new) holes in the ship’s hull this off-season, take a second to imagine what’s going to happen when he decides to rebuild the ship entirely in his image.
More fun with the brilliance of our grand poobah in today’s Times. Keep in mind, this is the man that Howard Lincoln praised as “exactly the right man for this team” and gushed that he’s been “better than we even imagined.” Presumably, he said it with a straight face while sober, but one can’t be sure.
“But it’s almost as if there are two tracks,” he said before the Mariners lost the series opener here last night. “You are investigating ways to get better, and at the same time you have to think you’ll be getting better with the guys you have now.”
This is about as public a proclamation as you’re going to get that the management realizes that there is something wrong. They’re going to put a positive spin on things, but they have passed the slow start thinking, and now realize that this team has fundamental problems that need to be addressed. The question will be whether they realize just how severe those problems are, and that the best way to address them is by tearing this team apart and starting over.
The team has a .242 EqA, 3rd worst in the majors (ahead of Tampa and Montrael, whose combined payrolls are roughly 1/2 that of the Mariners). Their three best hitters to date (Spiezio, Wilson, and Ibanez) are performing at a level equivalent to the career marks of luminaries such as Tony Clark. Their worst hitters are performing like AL pitchers in interleague play. The pitching has been bad, but made even worse by an abysmal defense. The core players are showing their age, and the young guys counted on for improvement are hurt or mysteriously struggling.
If you assume the M’s need to win 95 games to win the AL West, they’d have to go 83-47 the rest of the way, which is .638 baseball. No team in baseball finished the year with a .638 winning percentage last year. That’s a clip that would win you 104 games over the course of the year. Regardless of how much better you could expect some players to perform, does anyone see any kind of acquisition enabling this team to play like a 104 win team for the next four and a half months?
Bavasi can cite June 1st as the date to throw in thet towel, but on May 12th, it’s rather obvious that they might as well start stretching their arms in preparation for the heave. For this team to play .638 ball the rest of the way would be a miracle of heavenly proportions, and it just simply isn’t going to happen.
It sucks having to give up on a season in May. But at this point, it’s the right choice. It’s time to look to 2005 and preparing to make that club as good as it can possibly be. It’s time to explore a selloff and see if you can find some takers for the veterans that the organization thought would bring them success. It’s time to tear this team apart and start over, because 2004 is down the drain.