M’s trade Borders; apocolypse near

Dave · August 31, 2004 at 1:53 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners have traded Pat Borders to Minnesota for B.J. Garbe, one of the biggest busts in recent draft history. Garbe, now 23, was the 5th overall pick in 1999 out of Moses Lake High School, where he teamed with Ryan Doumit (now with the Pirates) and Jason Cooper (Indians) to form one of the best high school teams in state history. Since then, he’s managed to hit like a one-armed girl, including a .201/.283/.278 line this year. Garbe has no value and will certainly be exposed in the rule 5 draft this fall. The M’s essentially made this deal to give Borders another shot at the playoffs.

Of course, the Rainiers are now screwed at catcher for the last week of the season.


44 Responses to “M’s trade Borders; apocolypse near”

  1. Evan on August 31st, 2004 2:00 pm

    This is the ultimate sign that Pat Gillick no longer has any say in roster decisions.

    Which means Bavasi is now in complete control. Hide the children.

  2. Jeremy on August 31st, 2004 2:00 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, isn’t Garbe from Moses Lake?

    And Dave, the apocolypse is near if and only if the Mariners have a big spending offseason. Which basically means that it won’t be coming anytime soon. Of course, I hope I’m wrong. But with this organization, who freaking knows what they’re thinking at this point.

  3. Dave S. on August 31st, 2004 2:01 pm

    Is Ryan Christianson healthy enough to play catcher? What about Wiki?

  4. Christopher on August 31st, 2004 2:13 pm

    We just traded a 40 year old minor leaguer for a 23 year old bust. Slow news day…

  5. johnB on August 31st, 2004 2:15 pm

    Borders is a perenial minor league free agent. He can go to Minnesota for six weeks as an insurance policy and always return the M’s. He is pretty much done so being able to go to a contender one more time for 6 weeks is a pretty good treat. I think Pat will be 43 nxt year so it may be time for him to head to his farm in Florida.

    The M’s are set at catcher next year with Wilson, and Olivio.
    Christianson has hit well in AAA since he returned and is turning himself back into a prospect. He has good tools behind the plate if his arm recovers.

    Wiki is a free agent after the season and I don’t know if the M’s will resign him to a minor league deal.

  6. Troy Sowden on August 31st, 2004 2:18 pm

    As the official spokesperson for one-armed girls everywhere, I would like the record to show that we are very dissapointed by this post. We believe BJ’s hitting more closely resembles that of Timmy from South Park than that of our distinguished societal subset. Please research your handicap similies more thoroughly next time.


  7. Tim on August 31st, 2004 2:33 pm

    I’m pretty sure we have Wiki for another year.

  8. Ralph Malph on August 31st, 2004 2:47 pm

    Good for Pat. He gets 6 more weeks of major league service and a shot at a ring.

  9. Eric on August 31st, 2004 2:58 pm

    Wouldn’t at all be surprised if Borders is managing for one of the Ms farm teams next season.

  10. Evan on August 31st, 2004 3:06 pm

    How about conditioning coach? The man’s a 41-year-old CATCHER. Either all of his joints are cybernetic, or he knows something the rest of us don’t.

  11. Dave on August 31st, 2004 3:10 pm

    Daniel Santin is getting called up from the Arizona League to fill Borders spot behind the plate. Christianson can’t catch and Horner has been on a once-a-week schedule due to his hip problem.

  12. Troy Sowden on August 31st, 2004 3:14 pm

    Whoa! Isn’t Santin like 18 (or 19)? I know he’s hit well, but jumping him five levels seems crazy. I know they don’t want to disrupt another team in a race, but why not call up a backup from Inland or anybody from Wisconsin?

  13. Adam T on August 31st, 2004 3:15 pm

    I was wondering why Borders hit cleanup last night for Tacoma. Maybe I got to see the last game with him in our organization.

    Wiki Gonzalez is injured & has been most of the season.

    Christiansen hit a towering home run to right center last night. I don’t know why he hasn’t been catching.

    Moon was on the roster but I believe he was sent back down to AA.(?)

  14. RealRhino on August 31st, 2004 3:17 pm

    Funny thing is that the spring after BJ was drafted, I called a family member (a coach in the Twins organization) to ask him about Rivas (aside: is this cheating if done for fantasy purposes, or just using the sources you have?). He had a lot to say about Rivas’ arm and legs, not much info on his bat. Strangely, the one guy he singled out as having “that special sound” coming off his bat, accdg. to the offensive coaches, was none other than BJ Garbe. They said the ball just sounded different coming off the bat, and he was just lacing doubles left and right.

  15. Dan on August 31st, 2004 3:26 pm

    Yes, but can he hit singles? That is what this management is after.

  16. bob mong on August 31st, 2004 3:28 pm

    Dave, why can’t Ryan C catch? Injuries? And if he can’t catch, why is he still in the organization?

  17. 3DFan (Moses Lake, WA) on August 31st, 2004 3:48 pm

    As a close friend of BJ, I am happy to see this trade. Yes, he was the fifth overall selection in the 1999 draft, and he was for a reason. Why do people label a 23-year-old kid a bust? Maybe a change of venue is exactly what he needs. I have some serious doubts that BJ will ever make the show, but give the kid a chance and don’t badmouth and judge him because he hasn’t lived up to his billing yet. Knowing him, I can tell you that he is his own biggest critic, and he is not happy with his career. At least he is 23 and set for life, and he hasn’t given up even though everyone else has. It’s pretty telling that you people can sit back and rip this kid to shreds. Yeah, you’re fans and you deserve that right, but remember… He is 23. Not 34. The sun hasn’t set on his career yet.

    I am not even saying he will make it with the Mariners… I doubt he will. If not, he will take a football scholarship and leave baseball knowing he gave it all he had.

    I could see the frustration if BJ was dealt for Jose Lopez, or Leone, or someone like that… but Pat Borders? Come on, guys. You’re reaching, and it’s pretty pathetic.

  18. David J Corcoran on August 31st, 2004 4:08 pm

    This makes me madder than heck. The only upside I can see is that Borders gets one last hurrah in the playoffs.

  19. Paul Weaver on August 31st, 2004 4:10 pm

    How can we call him a bust?
    Other than rookie league, he’s never hit above .242 in almost 6 years of pro baseball, 3 of those in A-ball.
    Nonetheless, I’d rather have a guy who could potentially break out – I mean he must have the raw skills that got him drafted 5th overall.
    Let’s hope he can contribute at some level for us.
    Is he a good fielder? Anyone know?

  20. Dash on August 31st, 2004 4:12 pm

    Bob – Christiansen had shoulder surgery and can’t throw right now. He is allowed to hit though.

    Why not trade an over-the-hill AAA catcher for a kid who still has an outside chance of reaching his potential. I can guarantee that Border’s best years are behind him.

  21. Troy Sowden on August 31st, 2004 4:12 pm

    3DFan, I understand your a little defensive of your boy, but, who’s frustrated that we dealt for him? Most of us are just amazed that we gave up Pat Gillick’s boy Pat Borders for ANYthing. Sure, we’re not doing cartwheels over acquiring Garbe and we DO think he’s a bust (the history of 23 year-olds who hit like Garbe turning into major league contributors is relatively non-existant). That doesn’t mean we’re frustrated about the trade, nor that we won’t be pulling for Garbe. Chill out.

  22. DMZ on August 31st, 2004 4:15 pm

    3DFan: While I can understand your frustration, Dave’s right. Garbe hasn’t hit well at all since being drafted. He’s not an utter disaster, but there’s five years of minor league seasons without cause for hope that he’s going to develop into a decent hitter. There’s nothing in his record I can point to as an possible sign he might have the skills to put together a career.

    And sure, he’s only 23, but at 23 it’s unlikely he’ll develop into anything. It sucks, but it is true.

  23. 3DFan (Moses Lake, WA) on August 31st, 2004 4:23 pm

    My bad, I didn’t mean to rip anyone. It’s just frustrating because he is still young. When he was drafted by the Twins, the first thing they did with him was try to get him to change his swing. They messed with his mechanics, which in turn messed with head. Why anyone would want to mess with a kid who was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year (over Beckett, Hamilton, etc) just baffles me. He hit like .340 in rookie ball, and hit something like 20 doubles, stole bases, and basically just kicked ass. He was labeled a five-tooler, and then the Twins brass tell him he needs to change his swing. It just makes no sense.

  24. Jim Thomsen on August 31st, 2004 4:32 pm

    I agree that Garbe hasn’t done anything yet as a professional that shows much promise, but sometimes a player needs a different organization with different hitting approaches/philiosophies that can, on rare occasion, bring out something special that was there all along but hidden because the former organization tried to turn him into a different kind of hitter than the one he was genetically engineered to be. I interviewed Scott Hatteberg last winter and he told me how his career was nearly ruined by the Red Sox at the minor league level because they wanted him to be an aggressive power hitter who didn’t work the pitch count. I’ll bet there’s a thousand examples of this in the last 25 years in baseball … players whose skills were simply ill-matched with their organization’s beliefs about how to develop hitters.

    This may or may not apply to B.J. Garbe … especially when you consider that he is moving from a very good minor-league organization to a pretty bad one. But there’s no risk in finding out, is there? Maybe he’ll get in touch with his inner Billy McMillon. Or maybe he’ll be managing the KFC drive-thru in Ephrata two years for now. I’d be interested to see him even if he turns out to be nothing more than Shawn Abner.

  25. Brent Overman on August 31st, 2004 4:41 pm

    On the flp side, we’ve seen weirder things happen with flip trades like this. Remember when the M’s picked up Rob Ramsay from Boston? Sure, he was coming off Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the BoSox organization, but he was sporting a 5.35 ERA with Pawtucket at the time of the trade. He moved into an albiet pitchers park in Cheney and set the world on fire with a high K:IP and very low ERA, possibly do to the excitement he must have had coming home. He was highly motivated and rejuvenated with a homecoming.

    This is all just heresy, but stranger things have happened.

  26. Ralph Malph on August 31st, 2004 4:44 pm

    Madder than heck? Why would anybody be madder than heck about this deal? Is Borders our catcher of the future or something? Were you just itching to see him on the bench in Safeco in September or something?

    If Borders has a future as a coach in the organisation, then we can sign him up after the season is over. We’re just giving him a chance to play with a contender for 6 weeks. We’re doing him a favor, people.

  27. 3DFan (Moses Lake, WA) on August 31st, 2004 4:49 pm

    That’s all I was really trying to say: BJ is coming home. He is from Moses Lake, he is familiar with life here. Will that help his baseball career? I don’t know. Do I believe BJ has the tools (and skills) to be a major leaguer? Yes. A great major leaguer? I doubt it. I’ve never met a more driven person, and a person who wants nothing more than to make it to the big leagues. I’d give him about a 30 percent chance of making the big leagues.

    BJ is home… as a Mariner. I am sure he is pumped for the change of venue, and being in his home state. The skills and talent were there, I just hope they still are.

  28. The Ancient Mariner on August 31st, 2004 4:50 pm

    For the long term, we traded nothing for maybe-something. There’s always the chance somebody in the organization sees something and Garbe is able to turn his career around–and if his struggles were because the Twins messed him up, that’s not all that unreasonable a hope. Heck, Rafael Soriano was a failed OF once too; and when we dealt Jason Varitek, I was sure it was no loss. Dave McCarty was a classic first-round bust, but he at least managed one pretty good half-season in the bigs. Even a faint possibility is better than nothing, especially with the shambles our FO is making of this organization.

  29. 3DFan (Moses Lake, WA) on August 31st, 2004 5:03 pm

    It’s funny you bring up Soriano being a failed OF’er… Garbe brought it at 96 mph as a pitcher for MLHS, and was unhittable. He has a great arm, and maybe the M’s saw something in that? Who knows?

  30. Dave on August 31st, 2004 5:10 pm


    I don’t know one person who is upset with this trade. Pretty much anytime a last place team trades a 41-year-old for a 23-year-old, it’s at worst a wash. I’m glad that Borders will get to spend September in a pennant race rather than the PCL and I’m glad that BJ gets a new organization to play for.

    Really, I hope BJ keeps fighting and turns out to be a major league player. It’d be a cool story, and by all accounts, he’s a good guy. But, honestly, the odds are ridiculously long, and the entire point of the initial post was to let people who are unfamiliar with Garbe know that this isn’t an acquisition that we should be getting excited about.

    Best of luck to him, but we won’t be holding our breath waiting for his arrival in Seattle.

  31. Cap on August 31st, 2004 5:15 pm

    Bavasi picked up a young kid with potential (dwindling potential? who’s really to say) for a minor league catcher who was probably retiring at the end of the year. The thing that sticks out in my mind is that Bavasi is looking ahead, stocking the minor league teams for what will be nothing in a month. It’s a good investment move.


  32. Ralph Malph on August 31st, 2004 5:42 pm

    David J Corcoran is upset about the trade, for some reason. Maybe he went to high school with Borders.

  33. David J Corcoran on August 31st, 2004 6:08 pm

    Actually, Borders DID go to high school with my older brother… but that is beside the point

    Borders had potential to be a coach in our system one day., and arguably the top managing prospect in baseball. In exchange, we got a guy, who has possiblity of being decent one day.

    His ability to work with younger pitchers is phenomenal (see Freddy). I was hoping to see him working with Franklin, Putz, and Thornton, in September, to see if he could “pull a Freddy”

    If Borders comes back, then we win on this trade. Otherwise, it is a big loss.

  34. David J Corcoran on August 31st, 2004 6:09 pm

    I do agree, however, that it is good (great) that he gets a chance to play in the playoffs, and have one last hurrah in the bigs. We are doing him a favor.

  35. happygolucky on August 31st, 2004 10:06 pm

    Speaking of changing hitting style, wasn’t Ichiro told by his manager to change his swing when he first came up to the Japanese big league? Didn’t he have an aweful start as a result of it? Fortunately the manager got sacked and the new manager (his mentor who visited Safeco Field early this month) told him to stick to what he felt comfortable with and the rest is history. Just imagine what would’ve happened if Ichiro had forced himself to change his mechanics. Maybe there wouldn’t have been an Ichiro now. It just goes to show how important coaching is, and sometimes talents alone are not enough for someone to make it. There’s a lot of luck (and hard work of course) involved. Anyway, I just hope the kid got his chance to turn it around, and if he gives it all, he shouldn’t have any regret. As for Borders, he has nothing to lose, and we’ll have something to gain when and if he comes back to the organization.

  36. The Ancient Mariner on August 31st, 2004 10:45 pm

    If we’re making this move to do him a favor, why wouldn’t he come back?

  37. stan on September 1st, 2004 12:20 am

    I was hoping the Mariners would have Garbe play in Tacoma for the last few games of the season where his friends and family could see him but alas I gather he was assigned to San Antonio. I know Bill Bavasi gets ripped here regularly but I do think it was a classy move on his part to give Pat Borders a chance to finish his major league career with a team that has a legit chance to go deep into the post season rather than finish up with a club 30 games under 500.

  38. Adam T on September 1st, 2004 12:25 am

    I just got back from the Rainiers game and I don’t know if this new catcher will get any PT after tonight. With 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, the catcher, Joe Horner (hitting about .180 and 0-3 for the game), hit hard gounder double down the left field line that scored 3 runs and won it for Tacoma 3-2. Great finish to a nice pitching duel tonight.

  39. Jon Wells on September 1st, 2004 1:11 am

    For anybody to call getting rid of a 41 year old catcher who wasn’t even in the majors (and who hit .189 with a .283 slugging pctg. this year in the bigs) a “big loss” borders on the insane. A few weeks with the Twins doesn’t mean ‘ol Pat won’t come back to be a coach with the M’s (or sign another Tacoma contract for ’05). In fact there’s a precedent — Borders left the organization once before (after the 2001 season), went to spring training in ’02 with Texas, then was released by the Rangers on opening day and signed w/ Tacoma a few days later.

    I remember the hullabaloo locally when Garbe was drafted fifth overall. When I first heard his name and that we got him for Borders I was kind of excited. Then I got home and took a look at his stat line. Nevertheless, maybe the M’s can turn him into something. They can always use a decent $300,000 player to round out the roster in ’06 or ’07. Thankfully Willie F Bloomquist will have become eligible for arbitration by then and he can be non-tendered.

    And yeah Garbe is sure to be exposed in the Rule V Draft this winter but I highly doubt he’ll be picked. Guys that hit .201 with no power at Double-A (after hitting .178 with no power in Double-A the year before) are in no danger of being selected — what team would possibly think it would be in their best interests to have to keep a guy like that on their 25 man roster for a full year?

  40. Jon Wells on September 1st, 2004 1:23 am

    OK, David Corcoran, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. According to Bob Finnigan’s article in Wednesday’s Sea Times (below), Borders only agreed to the trade (as if he had some sort of veto power) after making sure it wouldn’t jeopardize his chances of returning to the organization. This Seattle organization is really amazing — they give no-trade clauses to the likes of Scott Spiezio and then they ask a 41-year old minor leaguer to approve a trade they’re thinking of making. What nobody’s touched on yet here is that Dan Wilson is the guy that really should have been traded — he went to college in Minnesota, he’d have been more useful to the Twins and we might have gotten back an actual prospect if we’d dealt them Wilson — but apparently Wilson, because of his “special connection to the community” can’t be traded either (that and his 10-5 rights I guess).

    “The veteran catcher, who flew to Minnesota, reportedly wants to remain with the Mariners and agreed to the move only after making sure it would not jeopardize his chances of returning to Seattle, with whom he had become a fixture bouncing up and down from Class AAA Tacoma the past four years.”

  41. Jon Wells on September 1st, 2004 1:38 am

    OK, it’s now September 1st and there were 4 minor trades yesterday on August 31st (the last day to make a deal and have the new player be on your playoff roster).

    Besides Pat Borders going to the Twins, the Cubs got Ben Grieve and Mike Difelice from Milwaukee and the Red Sox got Sandy Martinez from the Indians. 3 of these 4 players spent most of the season in the minors. Ho Fucking Hum. Aside from these there really weren’t any earth shaking trades this August — as usual.

    This is I think the third or fourth year in a row where we’ve heard the same nonsense on August 1st — that this year there’s gonna be a lot of trades in August because a lot of players are going to be clearing waivers. Is this just something that a major league General Manager has to say to try to appease his team’s fan base when he doesn’t pull the trigger on July 31st, even though he knows it’s not true??? If your team has needs, why would any GM not make a trade on July 31st just because he thinks he might be able to get the same player in August? On July 31 there’s no obstacle other than meeting the other team’s price. And if you need the player why not have him for the full 2 months than for a month and a half? If he can make a difference, maybe the team wins one more game and makes the playoffs. Most players that would clear waivers aren’t worth adding, either because they’re too expensive or underperforming.

    I wish these GM’s would just do their jobs and quit the BS….

  42. Christopher on September 1st, 2004 2:23 am

    The only thing that upsets me about this trade is that it was Borders and not Rich. But then management probably didn’t want to award him by sending him to the playoffs.

  43. Ralph Malph on September 1st, 2004 9:31 am

    Rich Aurilia? Rich who?

  44. Jim Thomsen on September 1st, 2004 1:34 pm

    What’s all this nonsense about how great it is to get Borders a last shot with a contender? There have been players who have had 18-year careers and never made it to the World Series, and yet somehow it is monumentally important to a lot of people that the 1993 World Series MVP, with TWO rings, get one more chance at one? Ridiculous. If we felt that sentimental about everybody, then why not give every fringe non-prospect a week on the Mariners during the September callup just so what can feel warm and fuzzy about having given them their only shot at playing in The Show and giving them a line in the MacMillan Encyclopedia they can show off to their grandchildren?

    And yet, if Pat Borders could actually play baseball … it would almost make sense. Almost.