Mariners season preview

DMZ · January 26, 2005 at 11:08 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I’ve heard that yesterday the M’s had a “Season Preview” event at Safeco Field, with Hargrove, Bavasi, and others. Did anyone get to go? Anything interesting happen?


37 Responses to “Mariners season preview”

  1. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 11:18 am

    This is the first I’m hearing of it. Unless it was some sort of exclusive invitation-only event for corporate sponsors or something, I’d be shocked … considering how much grinding promotion I hear on the radio for Fanfest. If it happened, it must have been closed to the general public.

  2. DMZ on January 26th, 2005 11:33 am

    I believe it was through sponsors, but details are scarce.

  3. Tiboreau on January 26th, 2005 12:22 pm

    Has anyone mentioned this article about Jeremy Reed possibly starting in center? I ask because someone mentioned Reed’s presence at this event, I believe, leading that person to think that they would be on the team, which they weren’t sure of before.

    While I thought the M’s would probably have Reed on the 25-man, I didn’t think they would be willing to do this. If he starts in center, then Winn would probably move to left and Ibañez to dh, with Jacobsen moving to the bench, I guess. It’d make for a stronger bench and greater versatility, but. . . .

  4. Jon Wells on January 26th, 2005 12:30 pm

    I believe the event you’re talking about is the annual media luncheon, in which “mainstream media” (read: all media outlets except Grand Salami) are invited to schmooze with the manager and selected players, the same players who will be at FanFest later in the week. They may also have a separate event for their bigger sponsors or they may just invite the sponsors to the media luncheon.

  5. Jon Wells on January 26th, 2005 12:35 pm

    KJR is reporting that the M’s have signed a Cuban shortstop by the name of Betancourt (like Cleveland pitcher Rafael Betancourt) and they have designated Aaron Looper for assignment. They’ve added Betancourt to the 40 man roster. Not finding any other info online about this guy — anyone have any info? Dave?

  6. msb on January 26th, 2005 12:52 pm

    Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi today announced that the Mariners signed free agent infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a Major League contract and added him to the club’s 40-man roster.


    Betancourt, 22, escaped from Cuba on a raft in July of 2003. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound shortstop baseman landed in Mexico, where he has since resided.

    “Yuniesky is an athletic, offensive shortstop,” Bavasi said. “We view him as the equivalent of a first or second round draft pick.”

    Betancourt spent the 2001-2003 seasons playing second base with Villa Clara in the Cuban National League. (Cuba’s National Team shortstop Eduardo Paret has been the starting shortstop with Villa Clara for the past 10 years). In 2002, Betancourt hit .288 with 43 runs, 4 home runs, and 45 RBI. His average improved to .317 in 2003 with 64 runs, 7 home runs, and 52 RBI. Betancourt was the starting shortstop for Cuba’s 17-18 year-old National Team that competed in the 2000 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. He hit .523 in that tournament.

  7. vj on January 26th, 2005 12:58 pm

    Here’s a link to the press release msb quoted:
    Hope the spam filters don’t eat it.

  8. RHarr on January 26th, 2005 1:15 pm

    eponymous coward posted a Bucky/Reed platoon (different thread) that would make Reed a part timer:

    “vs. lefties
    Bucky at DH
    Winn in CF
    Ibanez in LF

    (2 RH batters, 1 LH batter)

    vs. righties
    Ibanez at DH
    Reed in CF
    Winn in LF

    (3 LH batters)”

    I’m not sure this is a good idea – if you think a young guy can be a good major leaguer, you don’t want to do a left-right platoon with him, cause then he won’t learn to hit pitcher coming from the same side. I could see a platoon based on field and handedness that would split playing time a bit more evenly between these four:
    RHP, Big field (e.g. Seattle, Detroit – 50% of games?):
    Ibanez at DH
    Reed in CF
    Winn in LF
    (3 LH batters)

    LHP, Big field (15% of games?):
    Bucky at DH
    Reed in CF
    Winn in LF
    (2 RH batters, 1 LH batter)

    RHP, Small field (e.g. Texas, Minnesota – 25% of games?):
    Bucky at DH
    Winn or Reed in CF
    Ibanez in LF
    (2 LH batters, 1 RH batter)

    LHP, Small field (10% of games?):
    Bucky at DH
    Winn in CF
    Ibanez in LF
    (2 RH batters, 1 LH batter)

    Now you have Ibanez in 85% of the games, Winn in 75-100% of the games, Reed in 65-90% of the games, and Bucky in 50% of the games. And you always have your best defense on the field in big parks (if Reed really is a good center fielder?). Put Bucky at 1st for 10 games to spell Sexson to get Bucky a few more swings.

    This would give the young guys plenty of ABs to show what they can do with big league pitching. By the end of the season, the Mariners should have an idea of what they have.

  9. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 1:19 pm

    I just read today’s Times … saw that Jamie Moyer threw a pitch at a minivan windshield at yesterday’s event, apparently just to prove that he was capable of breaking it.

    It’s funny … we all think of Jamie as a horribly slow thrower, and yet he can throw in the mid-eighties … which is 15-20 mph more than any of us tough guys could throw even if we took six months to limber up. I pitched in high school and community college, and couldn’t throw any harder than the mid-sixties. And that was my absolute whaling-est. In games, it was probably high fifties.

  10. wabbles on January 26th, 2005 1:29 pm

    Yeah, I remember watching/listening to Moyer warming up in the bullpen before a game in September 2000. As I listened to the SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! of the ball hitting the catcher’s glove (mitt?), I said basically the same thing to someone standing next to me. “And he’s a slow thrower.”

  11. Joshua Buergel on January 26th, 2005 1:39 pm

    I’m not sure this is a good idea – if you think a young guy can be a good major leaguer, you don’t want to do a left-right platoon with him, cause then he won’t learn to hit pitcher coming from the same side.

    I seem to remember Hargrove breaking in Jim Thome very gradually against lefties when he first came up with the Tribe, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he did the same with a less talented hitter.

  12. Jim on January 26th, 2005 1:55 pm

    #9 – in a related but not widely reported event, Travis Blackley was brought in to throw at the same minivan windshield, to prove he could hit it twice in a row. No word on whether this was before or after Moyer’s throw….

    Most Little Leaguers can hit the mid 50’s today – I strongly suspect that in HS and CC our Mr. Thomsen was closer to the low 70s. Either that or you had some amazing movement and control – or a knuckler that would make Charlie Hough weep!

  13. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 2:08 pm

    Well, I never was on a radar gun in high school, because it was just B League ball, but, when I was playing CC ball, I went to an M’s game in 1985 when they had a radar gun for fans just inside the north Kingdome ticket window. Maybe it was a slow gun, but I was in good shape at the time, threw six pitches the hardest I could throw, and my highest reading was 66.

    I had OK control, a fastball with almost no movement, a sort of half-assed knuckle-curve that dipped a bit low and inside to right-handed hitters (I’m a righty) that a Babe Ruth coach taught me, and I tried harder breaking pitches from time to time but could never learn to locate them. My best asset was being able to hit precise spots in the strike zone, jerk hitters’ chains a little, get them crowding the plate too much or getting them to back off too much.

    In other words, I sucked. I would never have played CC ball if two-thirds of the team hadn’t gone academically ineligible and the coach put on an open tryout for players.

    And yet, this is why I’m a baseball fan. Because those were some of my best days on Planet Earth. And that’s why I post here, write about sports on a professional basis and will be among the genuflecting gaggle at Fanfest.

    So I’m guessing I shouldn’t sidle up to Betancourt on Saturday (if he’s there, which he won’t be) and ask if he can get me a case of cigars?

    And it’s another resounding vote of confidence for Willie Dynamite, eh?

  14. Jeff Sullivan on January 26th, 2005 2:11 pm

    I pitched in high school, and could reach the mid- to upper-70s. Which, as a southpaw, more than qualified me for the Phillies bullpen. Unfortunately, Ed Wade didn’t give me a no-trade and third year player option, so I opted for school.

    My strongest attribute was instilling fear in opponents after beaning our right fielder during batting practice.

  15. Brian on January 26th, 2005 2:26 pm

    Re #14:

    My strongest attribute was instilling fear in opponents after beaning our right fielder during batting practice.

    Hah! That’s hil-freakin-larious…not to mention a fine piece of psych-out strategy! You out there, Bryan Price?

  16. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 2:28 pm


    I can just see your catcher, ala Catch Davis: “Throw at the mascot.”

    “But I’m working on a two-hit shutout.”

    “I don’t care. Just throw at the damn bull.”

    Then he says to the batter: :I wouldn’t dig in if I were you. I don’t know where it’s going to go.”

    Now, in retrospect, it would have been even more fear-instilling if you had thrown at the opposing coach’s windshield …..

    You know what’s amazing about this media event yesterday? None of the papers had a story worth a damn (or any story) in today’s editions. That tells me they don’t know how best to use their access to advantage.

    It makes me wonder … if each of us had three questions we could ask Bill Bavasi, what would they be?

  17. Tim Kelly on January 26th, 2005 2:46 pm

    I was at Safeco yesterday picking up my Beltre jersey (freaking sweet) and UPN had this sign outside the Safeco lobby that said “Mike Hargrove’s First Pitch”. I went in and asked and the receptionist said it was for the media. Lots of people were streaming in at about 3:30-4 o’clock. Thats all I got.

  18. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 2:58 pm

    Are blogs media? Does USS Mariner consider itself a “media outlet”? How about Leone for Third or David’s Corcoriffic site? Discuss.

    Maybe our invitations got lost in the mail?

  19. Adam T on January 26th, 2005 3:09 pm

    Re: #16

    1) Really, why did you trade for Q McCracken?
    2) Who made the decision to give Melvin an extension after the worst month my a Mariners manager in 3+ seasons?
    3) As of today – who’s our top choice for the June draft?

    Re: #17

    I had an invite from UPN to the event but didn’t go. It was promoted as lasting from 4-6 with Hargrove, Bavasi and (I’d have to double check) I believe Armstrong & Lincoln. Details were scarce. How does “Beltre” look on the back of your jersey? Is he really wearing #5?

    I believe he was #29 with LA last season and possibly #16 earlier on? Boone obviously has #29 taken…didn’t he used to wear #5 as well, first stint?

  20. Evan on January 26th, 2005 3:11 pm

    My three questions for Bill. Hmm…

    1. How did Bob Melvin’s contract extension benefit the Mariners?

    2. How would you describe a typical conversation between you and Mat Olkin? Feel free to use an example.

    3. Are you familiar with the concept of “replacement level” and how it compares to the performance of Willie Bloomquist?

  21. DMZ on January 26th, 2005 3:48 pm

    Are blogs media? Does USS Mariner consider itself a “media outlet”?

    That will depend on what you think that term means. The issue though is whether the Mariners recognize us as such, and they (like many teams) don’t recognize online media that aren’t,, or

  22. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 3:53 pm

    Yeah, I dunno what it means, either. And I might be a part of it. Or not.

  23. eponymous coward on January 26th, 2005 4:22 pm

    Well, I looked up the BP PECOTA projections for all 4 of them. I doubt the USSM folks want me to commit a DCMA violation, so I won’t repost the stats, but to paraphrase:

    – the VORP stack ranking of the players went like this: Reed, Jacobsen, Winn (all 3 very close, then BIG gap) Ibanez.
    – Jacobsen is the player with the best chance of improving their level of performance of the 3 players.

    Well, with that in mind, I take back wanting to bench Reed to play Ibanez everyday. I now would rather see who would take Ibanez and his shiny .300 average in trade. Hmm, I hear the Mets need a 1B…

  24. Tim Kelly on January 26th, 2005 4:59 pm

    RE 19:

    The Beltre Jersey looks really, really nice and will look even sweeter when he takes home AL MVP. The team originally said he was going to wear number 20. Then my friend went to the safeco team store and an employee said Beltre asked for number 11. I don’t know who that guy thought he was and hopefully he was fired for such blasphemy. Then before the Hawks playoff game I went to the store and all the employees said he was going to wear number 5. So I emailed the team and they said the same thing.

    RE 23

    Mets trsded for Doug Mientkiewicz and the second most historical baseball (behind the ball that Edgar hit the double with) for minor league first basemen Ian Bladergroen.

    By the way did anybody else see the sweet Mariners promo schedule this year??? Ichiro 262 Bobblehead Doll, Beltre and Sexson shirts (for kids), 1995 Retro Caps, a Buhner collectible figure, an Edgar collectible figure, and a Griffey collectible figure.

  25. tvwxman on January 26th, 2005 5:13 pm

    13– that makes me feel good. I was only a crappy B-division outfielder, but I topped out in the low 70s. BTW, where did you play in high school, Jim? Us small-school folk are few and far between.

  26. Nate on January 26th, 2005 7:48 pm

    Three questions for Bavasi:

    1. When do you generally favor giving young players starting roles?

    2. Can you compare and contrast your decision and negotiation process for the Garcia trade with that of the Guillen trade?

    3. What aspect of the organizations in your division (Texas, Anaheim, Oakland) would you want to emulate?

  27. Jim Thomsen on January 26th, 2005 9:34 pm

    Auburn Adventist. The old Sea-Tac B League.

  28. Tyler on January 26th, 2005 11:33 pm

    Off topic (sorry guys) but on the “B” comments… there are quite a few of us, actually. And these comments are basketball based, but anyway… let me wax poetic on small schools.

    I played at Onalaska High School. We moved up from “B” to “A” my first year (1990) and have stayed so since. Love the “B” tourney in Spokane, though. I coached there Napavine’s last year in the “B” tourney before they moved up to “A” in 2000. Also coached at Thorp HS just outside Ellensburg while finishing my B.A.

    Now Thorp was S-M-A-L-L. I think there were 11 kids in the graduating class. We actually won some games (a rarity there), and had Thorp’s best year since… uhm… television. We eliminated next year’s state champs at district (Waterville) in 1999(?).

    That league was something else. Some incredible talent and some very small “will they field a team this year” schools. Kittitas, Thorp, Easton, Manson, Soap Lake, Moses Lake Christian, Day Star (also in Moses Lake), Entiat, Pateros, and some school by a dam whose name eludes me, Bridgeport maybe? What road trips! We frequently got back at 1 or later in the morning.

    One time we had to put chains on the bus in 8 inches of snow on Stevens Pass. Always fun in dress clothes. One 15 minute bus trip and the rest were well over an hour. What a great experience…. sigh.

  29. Tim Kelly on January 27th, 2005 2:16 am

    Off Topic But Lewis County is the best

  30. tvwxman on January 27th, 2005 8:47 am

    Continuing the hijack, I agree. My wife, who is from Atlanta, graduated with 500 kids in her high school. Mine (Coupeville) was 43, and that was one of the bigger classes in the school’s history.

    Road trips were the best. I was a terrible basketball player, but I was on the team and sat the bench just to go on the road trips all year long. We played up in the mountains — Concrete and Darrington, and in the San Juans — Friday Harbor, Lopez, Orcas Island — as well as LaConner. Non-conference games would be either over toward Sequim or playing “big schools” (Like Mariner, Snohomish, Marysville or Mt. Vernon’s) JV squads. We played football at Mariner and Snohomish a couple times on their Astroturf field, and we were so fascinated by it, they must have thought we were a bunch of hayseed hicks who came to town…which we were, I guess.

    To catch the ferry, we had to leave school at 8:30 am (just about enough time for half of first period). We traveled on the San Juan ferry for about 4 hours, and got to the school about 2 hours before game time. 6 hours of excused absences at least 10 times per year. Gotta love that.

  31. tyler (jorgensen) on January 27th, 2005 9:50 am

    Tim Kelly-

    are you the white pass tim kelly?

    you should know me then! 🙂

  32. Tim Kelly on January 27th, 2005 10:20 am

    Nope Tyler sorry to disappoint but I am the Chehalis version of Tim Kelly

  33. Ken on January 27th, 2005 12:28 pm

    Hey Tyler, what years did you coach at Thorp? I went to school there in the mid 70’s, Jim Stone and John Sellend were my high school coaches.

  34. Tyler on January 27th, 2005 4:07 pm

    Sry about the off-topic :/ this on both Thorp and Lewis County


    I coached at Thorp with Jim Stone (and Mike Smith, whose father Gary was the long time CWU trainer) in his very last year.

    Stone is a wonderful man, but to put it kindly, the game had somewhat passed him by. We brought youthful fire and the team went .500 and was playing very well going into districts, where we beat Waterville before losing to Pateros. Pateros had Clint Hull, who later went to EWU. They also had won both football and basketball championships the year before, and had 10 guys on a B roster who dunked in warm ups.
    (That’s practically unheard of, for those of you from bigger schools.)

    People from Pateros (where Stone was from) were insulting us before the game. Saying crap like “Take is easy on us tonight, Jim” and whatnot. Jim was such a great guy, he didn’t even realize they were being condenscending. We were, after all, Thorp.

    Well, we played them incredibly tight. By halftime you could see they were nervous and hadn’t anticipated this much of a battle. It was monumental… like the end of the first round of Rocky, when the bell rings, they do the round by round montage with sweeping music. “We’ve got a war on our hands.”

    Soon they were tightening up…and our kids played so well… we couldn’t help but to believe we were Hickory High School, and our best player Zach (forgot his last name) was morphing into Jimi Chitwood. At one point he hit a third three over Hull’s head and hull shrugged his shoulders, looked at the coach (his dad) and said, “What do I do?” Heck, we only had 8 on the bench, just like Hickory.

    We played long possessions on “O” and great 1/2 court man D. It was a 5 point game with 3 minutes left in the fourth and one of our kids stole a pass but lost control and travelled in the open court. It was as close as we would get. Our second best player picked up his 5th and we just couldn’t bring anybody in to pick up the slack. The “tipping point” had been hit. They went on about a 12 point run to finish the game.

    The final score looked like a blow-out, but not a person in that gym thought that for a second. Pateros fans came down and congratulated OUR players! It was really a tremendous effort… one of the finest sporting achievements I’ve ever been associated with.

    The best would be in Onalaska’s gym my senior year, 1993. We took league driver’s seat by beating Rochester.. oh, did I mention it was in a game we were down by 12 with 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter? No O.T.

    Tim Kelly– baseball fan from Chehalis has to know my cousin Brandon Bluhm, right? (Jorgensen’s and Bluhm’s related) And how is that kid from Centralia doing in the minors? The pitcher?

  35. tvwxman on January 27th, 2005 5:05 pm

    10 guys who can dunk? That’s sick in B-league ball. My senior year, our hoops team had one guy over 6 feet tall — a freshman — and we made the state playoffs.

  36. Aaron Bregel on January 27th, 2005 5:28 pm

    Last night (1/26) the M’s hosted a function in the Ellis pavillion for people who had seats in the diamond club, there might have been others invited, but I got in via a friend who has four diamond club seats. It was used as an introduction of Hargrove. He spoke along with Chuck Armstrong and Bill Bavasi. During dinner and before they all talked the M’s account executives were making their rounds at the tables and also Howard Lincoln. He stopped the table my friend and I were sitting at at appolgized again for how they played last year and that they were committed to winning again this year.
    After a brief introduction by Armstrong, Hargrove spoke first. He talked about how he had just gotten into town on Monday and had spent most of the Tuesday morning with his wife looking for a place to rent or live. He commented on how everyone in Seattle had made him feel welcome and well recieved. He called Safeco the best of the three fields he had managed at. He talked about how he was still meeting most of the players. In fact just the day before he had meet Reed and how if he had seen him before that time he would not have know who he was. He made a comment about have 3000+ line-up variations as a joke but then went on to say that for the first day of Spring training he had his line-up ready but things could change the second day; Sexson – 1B, Boone – 2B, Reese – SS, Beltre – 3B, Winn – LF, Reed – CF, Ichrio – RF, and Ibanez at DH. You will note that he did not mention the catcher. During the Q&A someone asked about the pitching and Hargrove said that he wanted to talk about them but forgot. I am sorry that I do not remember what he said about the pitching. Another question was about the catcher; “Is your starting catcher healthy?” Bavasi answered this one and said “You mean Olivio? Yes he is healthy and has been working out here in Seattle with and also that Rivera has been working out here. Olivio has a long way to go but he is working on it”. I might be paraphasing a bit.
    A question was asked about if they had found a firey personality that seem to be missing since Buhner had retired. Bavasi answered about Beltre and he said that during their research on him that they found one incident where he turned on another players boom box and tossed it out the window of the bus after a losing game. He felt that he could make a club house presence and felt that when he knew him in LA that he was told to be quite and act more like a 19 year old than an adult. Hargrove answered about Sexson and first he said there would be no one like Jay and that they seem to come along once in a generation. He then said that Sexson was fairly quite and not the person that was going to make a lot of noise in the clubhouse.
    One person called out Bavasi on the fact that at the end of last year he said the M’s needed a left handed bat yet they had signed right handed bats in Beltre and Sexson. He answer was that they were committed to going after Carlos and felt that Borras would drag everyone along and have him sign first somewhere before any of his other players. Also that Scott Borras at times will get it in his head that he wants a player to sign with a specific team and he will work to get it done, in this case Beltre. If they had signed Carlos then Sexson would have been moved to left. Bill felt that defensively having Sexson and first and Beltre at thrid made up for the fact that they did not get a left handed hitter. There was either a follow up question or somehow he went on to talk about Ordonez and how he was still out there and available but he also was a right handed hitter.
    Bivasi was asked if he was surprised by what Oakland had done by trading away their stud pitcher and his answer was no that Oakland management had been telling people all along that they were going to do it. He went on to commnet on how the M’s really like some of the players that Oakland got back in the trade. Sorry I do remember who or why.
    The last question went to Armstrong and it was about drug testing. As part of his answer he said that they felt that MLB had the strongest testing policy of all of the major sports. He was happy to see that steriods had been added to the list of things being tested for and that they management was still working on getting testing for other things but the players were more balking on testing that required blood instead of urine. He felt that the policy had gotten better over the last few years. 2003 everyone got tested in Spring training but he pointed out that after you were tested that you could have done whatever you wanted because you did not get tested again. In 2004 he said everyone got tested as a team and in the case of the M’s it was some time late in the year. The new policy has random testing at any time and I think he said up to three times a player. It is also now a year round testing that is blind to geographic location, so a person living in Austriala in the offseason had the same chances as a player living in Seattle. He went on to point out that Donald Fehr sits on the US Olympic drug testing committee and when he had talked to him about if doing so was really a conflict his answer was more that he was just doing what his constituents had asked him to work out as a drug testing deal. He went on to say that Fehr has a hard job. For example he had been on all of the talks about retraction but when all of the players had heard that two teams of players were going to lose their jobs he had to back pettle from and claim he really knew nothing at all about retraction and he was not for it at all, yet had been in all of the talks and had been giving guidence behind the scenes.
    I think there were a few other questions but I do not remember them. At the end of the night we got to tour the M’s locker room and workout area which they had all cleaned up for the Fan Fest this weekend. It was interesting to note that Boone is down from three lockers to two lockers this year but maybe that will change before the season begins.

  37. Tim Kelly on January 28th, 2005 2:23 am


    I know who your cousin is but I dont know him personally. I saw him at the high school when I was younger. The pitcher from Centralia was Jason Stumm. He’s gotten to Double-A in the White Sox system but he has been injury prone. I think he had Tommy John and heard he lost a lot of velocity. It’s crazy to think that he was drafted the same year as Buerhle. Chehalis also has 2 guys in the Minnesota Twins system.