Back despite popular demand, its Dave’s Random Thoughts While Watching The Game.
8:09 pm: Nice walk by Winn. Is he the streakiest hitter the M’s have had since Mike Blowers?
8:12: And Spiezio lines in to a double play by hitting the ball on the screws. Thats 2004 in a nutshell, right there.
During the top of the first, Fairly rambled about Drese improving thanks to Orel Hershiser helping him eliminate two of his pitches, simplifying and getting down to a base three to work from. I can think of at least two or three times this year when Fairly has also talked about how hard Ryan Franklin is to hit because he has 5 different pitches he throws. So, apparently, throwing a variety of pitches is good if you have talent, and bad if you don’t. More reason to turn down the sound.
8:16: And Nageotte throws a meatball to Young to start the first inning. I could have whacked that one for a base hit. And then Fairly tosses in this gem “Nageotte’s outpitch might be his breaking ball”. You think, Ron?
8:19: I’m no fashion expert, but man, Alfonso Soriano looks awful in blue socks, white pants, white shirt, and a blue helmet. I keep expecting him to break into a version of “Oompa, Loompa, Oompa Dee Do”.
8:20: As Ramon Santiago futily dives for a ball that looked playable, I’m reminded that Carlos Guillen just got a 3 year contract extension from the Detroit Tigers. He’ll make $4 million next year, and $5 million each of the two following seasons. But hey, we’ve got Ramon Santiago…
8:24: Double plays are maddening for an offense. Rangers have scored two, Nageotte’s struggling, and they have a chance to knock him out early. Then Dellucci ends the rally with one swing. For all the time people spend lauding players who “put the ball in play”, at least a strikeout doesn’t instantly erase a rally like that.
8:28: Listening to Ron and Dave talk about “If Boone starts hitting, and Spiezio comes around, and we can get Olerud and Edgar going…” reminds me of friends of mine during the .com bust. “No, really, homegrocer.com is going to rebound. That massive selloff of buymyusedjunk.com is just a blip. Some friend of a neighbor’s goat is going to lend me money to start imanidiot.com. I’m just about to be rich”. Seriously, there’s just no way these guys are all going to play like they did in their primes. They’ve declined. Deal with it.
8:32: Gary Matthews Jr comes up for Texas. I have this memory from my childhood of Gary Matthews, playing for the M’s, launching a long home run that took out some kind of water tower or something. Unfortunately, as cool as retrosheet is, they don’t include notations on busted equipment. Anyone else remember this?
8:34: I guess we get Bad Clint tonight. With Travis Blackley just on fire down in Tacoma, it will be curious to see when he gets the call. He’s just clearly more major league ready than Nageotte right now, and he fits the M’s mold of what a starting pitcher should be.
8:49: Ooh, ooh, the M’s have the best record in the AL west since May 23rd. Let’s just ignore that arbitrary start date, the fact that their 15-10 record came against the easiest part of their entire schedule, and that almost all of that has been concentrated in the past two weeks beatings of bad National League teams.
8:52: Randy Winn just stared at a 2 strike, belt high fastball. I’ve never understood this. What could you possibly be looking for that would cause you to not swing in that case?
8:54: RYAN DRESE HAS A NO-HITTER GOING. RYAN DRESE HAS A NO-HITTER GOING. RYAN DRESE HAS A NO-HITTER GOING. That oughta do it.
8:55: Okay, thats just eerie. I hit “publish post” right as Dave says “and thats a base hit back up the middle”…
8:57: 406 foot outs suck.
9:03: Yet another double play kills a rally for Texas. I’m guessing ESPN isn’t going to count these as anti-productive outs in their ridiculous new stat, though, are they?
9:16: Is there any reason to ever throw Alfonso Soriano a fastball? He just can’t hit breaking balls to save his life, yet he keeps hacking away. He’s one of those guys you look at and wonder what he could do if he’d just make some adjustments.
9:19: Let’s try this again. RYAN DRESE HAS A SHUTOUT GOING. RYAN DRESE HAS A SHUTOUT GOING. RYAN DRESE HAS A SHUTOUT GOING.
9:20: And Pat Borders promptly doubles. Someone get me a plane ticket to Vegas, pronto.
9:23: This is followed by a Ramon Santiago walk. You might not ever see those two things in succession again.
9:26: There goes the shutout. Nothing like a couple of weak groundouts to move the man over and then score him. Somehow, this is “good baseball”. Making outs is not good baseball.
9:28: Can we fine Ichiro every time he attempts to bunt with a runner in scoring position and two outs? Isn’t the whole point of hitting him third so that we can maximize his high batting average in these circumstances. No one is scoring from second on a bunt single. Swing the freaking bat.
9:37: These Washington Mutual “honesty” commercials are pretty funny.
9:40: J.J. Putz has to lead the league in “times brought into game with bases loaded and nobody out”, doesn’t he?
9:45: Spiezio dives for a ball on a base hit to left, and to avoid spiking him, Dellucci jumps over him. This costs him enough speed that he can’t score on the base hit, and I think you can make a pretty good case that Dellucci should be awarded home. Spiezio was making a play on the ball, but he only had to make that play because he lined himself up in the basepath. It’s a judgment call, but Spiezio really should rethink where he sets himself when there is a runner on second base. He could have easily taken a cleat to the face.
9:47: Michael Young with a 3 run triple and its 8-1. Good enough for me to call it a night.
Popping my head in to point out that that trade, as proposed, is exactly how a smart, statehad-y GM should try and attempt to take advantage of a less-smart, scout-heady GM: by tossing them players the other side might thing are useful, but which don’t have a future.
Generally in trades, you want to give the other side something you don’t need for something you do. Ideally, you want to give them something you don’t want or care for and that they can’t use for something of value to you.
Never interviewed DePodesta. Which reminds me, it’s time for
New GM Watch
June 22nd edition
a brief comparison of GMs in their freshman year at the helm of their teams
Paul DePodesta, Dodgers, 37-30, .552 [last year .525]
Dan Oâ€™Brien, Reds, 38-31, .551 [last year .426]
Bill Bavasi, Mariners, 29-38, .433 [last year .574]
From the same Gammons’ column that Derek referenced below:
Six trades that make sense
1. Los Angeles trades catcher Koyie Hill, pitcher Joel Hanrahan and outfielders Xavier Paul and Reggie Abercrombie to Seattle for Freddy Garcia. The Dodgers need a starter more than anything. Garcia has pitched well (he’s sixth in the AL with a 3.21 ERA and has had only 20 runs of support) and would be a shot in the arm to the Dodgers’ staff. Mariners GM Bill Bavasi knows the Dodgers’ system well because he previously worked for L.A. and played a big part in restoring it.
Saying Bill Bavasi played a big part in restoring the Dodgers farm system is either sucking up, ignorance, or lying. His position was “director of player development”, or what is more commonly referred to as the farm director. This is the same role Benny Looper held in Seattle during Pat Gililck’s regime. The farm director has most of the control over the day to day operations of the minor leagues and handles such things as roster management and implementation of organizational philosophies. In other words, the farm director dictates which levels players are assigned to and oversees the coaches in charge of teaching the players in the system.
The farm director has very little to do with actual talent acquisition. The revitalization of the Dodgers farm system came from several strong drafts led by scouting director Logan White. With White making the calls the in 2002 and 2003, the Dodgers selected Greg Miller, Edwin Jackson, James Loney, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Chuck Tiffany, Mike Nixon, Delwyn Young, and Andy LaRoche. That mass influx of talent is the sole reason for the strength of the current Dodgers minor league system. During Bavasi’s tenure, he showed an ultra-aggressive tendency to move players through the system, and the player development staff barely had time to make an impact on these players during Bavasi’s tenure. Bavasi was part of the organization at the time of the resurgance, but he wasn’t anything close to being “a big part of restoring it”.
Now, on to the actual players in the rumor;
Koyie Hill has waffled between prospect and fringe player the past few years. A former infielder, he was moved behind the dish to take advantage of his strong defensive skills and to compensate for a weak bat. He can catch-and-throw with the best of them, but his offense is questionable at best. He’s a fastball hitter with poor plate discipline who is easily fooled by good breaking stuff. He can hit mistakes, but good pitchers will eat him alive. His numbers are inflated by the offensive haven that is Las Vegas and the PCL. In reality, he’s a backup in the majors, and he’s not a spring chicken anymore. He’s kind of like the catching equivalent of A.J. Zapp. Better than some major leaguers, but not really a prospect in the true sense of the word.
Joel Hanrahan would be the prize in the deal. He’s a solid RH arm who can throw in the low 90’s with average command and solid offspeed stuff. He’s got good mechanics and a history of strong performances. Las Vegas has made his numbers suffer this year, but getting him out of that park would do wonders for him. He’s similar to Rett Johnson, but without the issues that are keeping Rett on the sidelines. Of course, the M’s need another RH pitcher like they need another incompetant GM.
Reggie Abercrombie is the classic example of the flaws of scouting. He’s got enough tools to dream about what might be if he learned how to hit, but realistically, he’s not going to. He can run and throw like a world class athlete, but his actual baseball skills are more that of a high school kid. His plate discipline is historically awful, and without a major overhaul in his approach at the plate, he’s not a major league hitter. He might have a career as a 5th outfielder, but odds are he flames out as another in the long lineage of Ruben Rivera/Kenny Kelly type.
Xavier Paul is a nice outfield prospect with some pop, but he’s 4 years away, at best. He profiles as a corner outfielder who can hit .275/.325/.470. If all goes well, he’s Carlos Lee. The odds of him actually reaching that potential fall somewhere between slim and maybe. The best comparison for him in the M’s system right now is probably Adam Jones. There is talent there, but it isn’t superstar talent, and its a long ways away.
Put simply, this package just isn’t very attractive. I like Hanrahan, but he’s not filling any needs. Hill might be the answer to next years backup catcher problem, but there are bigger fish to fry first. Paul might help the team in 2008, and Abercrombie will probably be out of baseball by then. I’d take this group for Ryan Franklin or Bret Boone or Randy Winn, but not for Freddy Garcia. They really should get more for him.
First things first: yay, the M’s are winning.
Second things second: I’m on a BP chat today, so swing by if you’re around at noon (hmmm… lunch hour).
And last — Gammons reported that the Mariners aren’t going to trade Garcia “because of the fans”. I find this newfound respect for the fans surprising. After pawning off flawed teams us for years under the guise of being competitive while taking huge profits out of the club, they’ve finally come around. They’re going to keep Freddy in the hopes that he keeps this season going, which will make people happy somehow, so that we can lose him in free agency and get (almost certainly) two draft picks for him.
The M’s are done. They’re still done. They’re 8 1/2 games out of a division race that has three teams playing .550+ ball. To quote the Crow, “There’s no coming back” at this point in the season. If the team put everything together (Ibanez returns/Boone starts hitting/Edgar starts hitting/Spiezio-Aurilia start hitting/etc) they’d still be extremely lucky to play .600 ball from here out. You can catch one team from this far out, sure. But the chances they’re going to
As a fan, as a long-time, hard-core, goes-to-many-many-games fan, I would rather see Freddy traded if it means the team gets a better return than they would through the draft, even if it means they lose a couple more games this year.
This loyalty to the fans thing is another smokescreen, another quest for a middling finish (expect “In any other division we’d have been over .500” at the end of the year) so the team won’t be so bad that it risks turning fans off.
I don’t think we’re that dumb, that fans will be more turned off by continued ineffectual management and lost seasons with pretensious than they would be by one clearly lost season visible to all.