Team meeting

September 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 9 Comments 

In case you don’t read Jeff Sullivan’s blog (you’re missing out, really), read this. Sometimes, a good laugh cures a lot of ills.

Melvin: “We’ve all been in the big leagues long enough to know that losing 100 games stinks.”
Ichiro: “257?”
Dobbs: “Speak for yourself, coach.”
Reed: “Yeah, what are you talking about?”
Bloomquist: “Simmer down, guys, the skipper’s talking to you.”
Melvin: “Any veteran in the clubhouse can tell you just how tough it is, I mean psychologically, to lose 100 games. It can break your spirit.”
Boone: “Hey, I can put a spoon on my nose!”
Ichiro: “257.”
Melvin: “It reflects poorly on you guys, it reflects poorly on me.”
Boone: “Wait, no I can’t.”
Melvin: “I can’t speak towards my future with this organization, but a lot of you guys are near the end of your careers, and nobody wants to retire after losing 100 games.”
Reed: “Do you even know my name?”
Boone: “Why won’t it stick?”
Melvin: “I mean, do you think Edgar wants to leave on a sour note? All he wanted was one last shot at a ring, but things haven’t exactly worked out like we thought they would.”
Ibanez: “You have to lick it first.”
Melvin: “You’ve got to do it for yourselves. Everyone in this clubhouse has a lot of pride in their big league careers, both present and past.”
Dobbs: “Dude.”
Ichiro: “250, and 7.”
Boone: “It’s still not sticking.”
Melvin: “We know what we can do at this level. We haven’t done it most of the season, but if we play at the level I know we can for the rest of the year, then we can end on a good note and avoid those 100 losses.”
Ibanez: “No, no, that’s too much. Just a little moisture.”

Rose and wrongness

September 30, 2004 · Filed Under Off-topic ranting · 9 Comments 

I realized something today, as I sorted through a stack of email from people mad about my answer to a Pete Rose related question I answered in a chat.

I can see why people think I was wrong and should fess up. I’ve been so caught up in the long slide towards having parts of it proven correct that I missed it. It’s more complicated but at its heart, there’s a crucial assertion in the original story that I now think was wrong.

Read more

Game thread, Mariners at Athletics, 9/30

September 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 75 Comments 

12:35, on FSN

Franklin v Redman

Ichiro! v Sisler

Possible position players to plunk in retaliation for Ichiro’s beaning, if Melvin protected his players, which he doesn’t:
Erubiel Durazo, DH
Eric Chavez, 3B
Mark Kotsay, CF

If you want value for value, though, you really have to plunk Durazo and someone else like Byrnes. To make a serious point, you’d plunk Durazo and Chavez.

Not that I’m advocating a beanball war. Though the A’s might be slow to retaliate, given that they’re in a pennant race and don’t want to get injured or suspended.

I’m only going to say that if I was Melvin, I’ve got 20 relievers I can bring in to plunk somebody in the butt to make my point, if I get tossed it’s no big deal, if they get tossed it’s no big deal, but protecting Ichiro! is worth doing (if you think beaning, say, Durazo and Byrnes does that) (I mean, as long as you’re not going to protect Madrtisch’s arm).


September 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 40 Comments 

Because I’m sitting at home sick as a dog, I’m just going to ramble. If you know any miracle cures for the cold/flu, feel free to leave them in comments.

1. I’ve flip-flopped on the wild card ever since it was instituted, but this year is one of the strongest cases for it that I can remember. The last weekend in the NL should be one of the most entertaining in baseball history.

2. I’d pay good money to ride “The Michael Vick Experience”.

3. One of the worst parts of the 2004 season has been the systematic weeding out of the blogosphere. One by one, watching passionate M’s fans lose the will to write about their team regularly has been disappointing. I miss my daily Musings post from Peter, business management analogies from Steve, long-winded recaps from Jeff. Here’s to hoping 2005 provides the inspiration necessary to bring them back.

4. Am I the only one who thinks they should consider renaming the NL manager of the year award after Bobby Cox?

5. I saw this in the comments the other day, so I’m curious; how many Carolina readers do we have? And among those, any interest in organizing a gathering to watch the playoffs?

6. Would anyone be against a 24/7 women’s health commercial network, where all femine hygene products had to be advertised on that specific station alone? If you’re not sure which herpes medicince to buy, flip to channel 842 now and leave the rest of us alone.

7. I hope Ichiro breaks the record at home. The fans deserve it, and having him break it in Oakland with 20,000 people watching would be a shame. And seriously, A’s fans, GO TO THE FREAKING GAMES. That’s all.


September 30, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 32 Comments 

I’m not part of the crowd that calls for a managers head when his starting pitcher throws 138 pitches in a complete game to end the season. However, it seems like the sides defending Madritsch being left out for the 9th are using the “how bad can one start hurt?” theory, which ignores the actual pattern of how Madritsch has been used since being promoted.

Madritsch is averaging 110.4 pitches per start, 4th highest total in the majors. Only Jason Schmidt, Livan Hernandez, and Carlos Zambrano are averaging more P/GS than Mads.

Madritsch’s 138 pitch effort last night was the 3rd highest single game pitch count of the season. Livan Hernandez threw 144 once and Jason Schmidt threw 143. No other pitcher in baseball has been pushed as long as Mads was last night.

His last 5 starts, he’s thrown 126, 122, 119, 66, and 138 pitches. Last night’s outing was not an isolated incident. He’s been worked very hard since coming up.

We still have a long ways to go in understanding pitcher injuries and why they occur. It’s an indisputable fact, however, that Madritsch has been placed in a workload category that correlates with future arm problems. There is reason to worry about the effects this will have on him. The Mariners chose to ignore that risk, much like they’ve ignored similar risks with other pitchers, and they certainly don’t have the track record to say “trust us, we know what we’re doing”. When it comes to keeping pitchers healthy, the M’s have clearly shown that they don’t know any more than you or I. We all know very little, but it would be nice if the team would admit their ignorance on the subject and error on the side of caution. The 2005 M’s need a healthy Bobby Madritsch a lot more than he needed that complete game.


September 29, 2004 · Filed Under Site information · 23 Comments 

As I wait for something cool to happen in the game…

In the last day (and these numbers are all “known” numbers, there’s a huge chunk of visitors to the site we don’t get information on):
2% of our visitors were from Boeing
2% are from the University of Washington (and Jason and I say: woof!)

1 person was looking for nude pictures of Gabe Kapler (we’ve commented on this before, but there seems to be a weird, small group of people out there looking for naked pictures of Kapler and/or his wife
1 for Giovanni Carrara’s wife
1 for “yellow bracelets supporting neil armstrong” which, uh… not so much
1 person was looking for counterfeit live strong wristbands which is so low I can’t even come up with a reasonable description

Game thread, Mariners at Athletics, 9/29

September 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 43 Comments 

Madritsch v Harden

Come see two guys who have been mentioned by different people as being closers of the future duke it out as their talents warranted — as starters.

Also… Ichiro: hitting machine

Ichiro! and the Hall of Fame

September 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 31 Comments 

Ichiro started playing ion 1993 for the Orix Blue Wave. Between 1994 and 2000, seven years, he hit .353/.421/.522. Since coming over to the Mariners, he’s hit .339/.384/.444.

Warning! Rough stats ahead!

Assuming that he managed the same overall playing time (longer seasons here but labor disputes), using his Safeco rates, that’s about 4000 PAs, and you’d add to his career totals about 1,300 hits, 250 walks, another 50 HR.

Ichiro! would today have over 2,200 hits, over 400 walks (420?), and 87 HR. He’d break into the all-time leaderboard after his 2005 season at about… #90, 2006, #60 or so (asssuming no labor war again), 2007, #40, 2008, he could be in the top 20 for major league hits of all time. His 350 SB would have him sneaking onto that all-time leaderboard this year.

That’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point to think about this. Ichiro! would have played 100 games in 1994, say 145 in 1995. If you figure him for an almost full-timer but also grant him games off he missed in Orix, I come out with another hundred, hundred-fifty hits.

I think even that understates the case. Speed, like defense, generally declines much earlier in a player’s career than hitting talent. Given Ichiro’s general hitting style, I think it’s likely that he may done even better here early in his career than this gives him credit. And he’d almost certainly have won a number of Gold Gloves if he’d played here from 1994-2000 as well.

My point, though, is this — unlike Japanese players who put up tremendous numbers only in Japanese baseball, Ichiro! may well end up with, strictly speaking, two halves of a resume. He’ll have been outstanding in the first half of his career in Japan, and in the second half of his career here. If he’d played here his whole career, he’d be a shoe-in to be voted into the Hall.

But as it is, his accomplishments here only serve as proof that he could have been a HoF-level player, had he started here… but his career achievements here won’t seem to justify enshrinement.

I’d vote for him, but I think everyone here knew I’d write that. The question is… when Ichiro! decides to retire, given five years to mull on the question, will the Hall of Fame votering have advanced enough that he’ll be given due consideration? Should the Hall of Fame recognize great ability, even if all that the ability achieved is not within our borders?

And if that’s the case, doesn’t that open the door for Oh?

Free agent relievers

September 29, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 31 Comments 

Since the bullpen seems to be the topic du’jour in the comments, here’s a complete list of relievers who will be free agents at years end. Good luck finding a power relief ace for $2-$3 million in this bunch.


Troy Percival
Terry Adams
Curtis Leskanic
Ramiro Mendoza
Scott Williamson
Mike Jackson
Cliff Politte
Rich White
Bob Wickman
Danny Patterson
Ugueth Urbina
Alan Levine
Doug Brocail
Jeff Nelson
Jay Powell
Antonio Alfonseca
Steve Reed
Armando Benitez
Chad Fox
Billy Koch
Rudy Seanez
Dan Miceli
David Weathers
Paul Shuey
Dave Burba
Ricky Bottalico
Mike DeJean
Roberto Hernandez
Todd Jones
Jose Mesa
Cal Eldred
Antonio Osuna
Dustin Hermanson


Mike Myers
Ron Villone
Kent Mercker
Jeff Fassero
Darren Oliver
Wilson Alvarez
John Franco
Rheal Cormier
Steve Kline

There are a few other guys who have team options that will likely be declined (Trevor Hoffman), but they aren’t the kind of relievers we need to be throwing money at anyways.

If the M’s want a dominating power relief ace next year, they’re going to have to trade for one.


September 28, 2004 · Filed Under Mariners · 16 Comments 

Derek mentions him briefly in the post below, and he’s been getting some love for the terrific K rate he’s posted since getting the call, so I want to talk about Scott Atchison briefly. Despite what the media will tell you, he didn’t really come out of nowhere, as he’s been hanging around the bottom of the Future Forty for the past year. He’s been moderately effective with below average stuff, prompting comparisons to Ryan Franklin. How good a comp is that?

Atchison’s minor league career:

Age	Level	ERA	IP	H	BB	SO	BB/9	K/9	WHIP
23	A	3.42	81.2	67	25	85	2.76	9.37	1.13
24	A	3.69	97.2	117	21	77	1.94	7.1	1.41
24	AAA	3.81	26	22	6	18	2.08	6.23	1.08
25	AA	4.24	136	171	28	83	1.85	5.49	1.46
26	AAA	4.63	124.1	123	31	112	2.24	8.11	1.24
27	AAA	4.31	108.2	114	37	83	3.06	6.87	1.39
28	AAA	4.15	69.1	71	26	76	3.38	9.87	1.4

Here’s Franklin’s:

Age	Level	ERA	IP	H	BB	SO	BB/9	K/9	WHIP
20	A	2.92	74	72	27	55	3.28	6.69	1.34
21	A	3.06	61.2	61	8	35	1.17	5.11	1.12
21	A	3.13	118	105	23	102	1.75	7.78	1.08
21	AAA	7.94	5.2	9	1	2	1.59	3.18	1.87
22	AA	4.32	146	153	43	102	2.65	6.29	1.34
23	AA	4.01	182	186	37	127	1.83	6.28	1.23
24	AA	3.03	59.1	45	14	49	2.12	7.43	0.99
24	AAA	4.18	90.1	97	24	59	2.39	5.88	1.34
25	AAA	4.51	127.2	148	32	90	2.26	6.34	1.41
26	AAA	4.71	135.2	142	33	94	2.19	6.24	1.29
27	AAA	3.9	164	147	35	142	1.92	7.79	1.11

Atchison has a slightly higher K/9 rate with an abnormal spike this year, but Franklin had superior control. Unfortunately, we don’t have HR rates for Franklin during his minor league career, so a comparison there isn’t possible.

Stuff wise, they are similar pitchers. However, Franklin succeeded by throwing an abudnance of strikes and letting his defense make outs. Atchison puts slightly more people on base but cleans up the mess by himself more often. Other than that, the comparison is pretty solid across the board.

Franklin rode his strike-a-thon method to solid bullpen work and slightly below average rotation performances, following the trend of most other average-stuff command types. Atchison is trying to go down a different path, however, inducing swings-and-misses with much greater frequency at the expense of less command. While we normally prefer a high strikeout rate in a pitcher, I’m not so sure this is a good tradeoff in this situation.

Very few, and I mean very few, pitchers with Atchison’s stuff post solid strikeout numbers in the majors, even with strong track records in the minors. Recent examples of this are guys like John Stephens, Kirk Saarloos, Justin Duchscherer. All posted tremendous K/9 rates in the minors with average at best stuff, then became contact machines in the big leagues. Stephens and Saarloos haven’t succeeded at the big league level, and while Duchscherer’s 3.40 ERA looks shiny, he’s getting an unbelievable amount of help from his defense. His fielding independant ERA is 5.01 thanks to mediocre walk and strikeout rates.

Guys with Atchison’s stuff just don’t miss bats in the majors very often, at least not without sacrificing other important parts of pitching, which is what I’m afraid Atchison is doing this year. It’s worked for him so far, and I’m glad he’s pitched well in his deserved debut, but we should be realistic with what we have here. Atchison and Putz are perfect examples of why you shouldn’t spend money on the back-end of your bullpen. They’re solid assets at the league minimum as the 4th or 5th guy out of the pen. However, they aren’t, and likely never will be, the vaunted “relief ace”. With Soriano shelved and Guardado questionable, the Mariners lack a true front-end-of-the-bullpen arm. Atchison isn’t one in the making, shiny K rate or not.

He should be given every chance to make the roster out of spring training next year, and his emergence should allow the M’s to ignore the lower tier relief types (hello Ron Villone) this offseason. However, he is what he is, and with his average stuff and not-so-hot command, we should be realistic in our expectations. He’s an asset while cheap, but he’s not a long term solution to a vital role on a big league pitching staff.

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