More cuts

Dave · March 16, 2005 at 10:47 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Those who wanted Justin Leone to get a shot with the big club can begin their outrage again; he was one of 9 players cut from big league camp today. Shin-Soo Choo, Clint Nageotte, Mike Morse, and Justin Leone were optioned to Tacoma, Rene Rivera and Yuniesky Betancourt were optioned to San Antonio, Wladimir Balentien was optioned to Inland Empire, and Jon Huber and Mickey Lopez were reassigned to minor league camp.


82 Responses to “More cuts”

  1. Todd on March 16th, 2005 7:32 pm

    To pile on the announcers — They were baffled as to why Madritch was throwing from the strecth. They speculated that Madritch was throwing from the stretch because, as a starter, he might not get that chance much in ST. So, they postulated, that today was his day to work on throwing from the strecth. It was hard to believe that none of them were familiar enough with Madritch to know that he always throws from the stretch, and that he has done so since the independent leagues. What a bunch of dopes.

  2. Todd on March 16th, 2005 7:35 pm

    I can’t believe that I mispelled Madritsch every single time in my previous post. How humiliating.

  3. David J Corcoran on March 16th, 2005 7:37 pm

    It’s OK. The S is silent.

  4. stan on March 16th, 2005 7:45 pm

    I saw Leone make a few throwing errors in Tacoma when he was playing third on what should have been routine outs. I can’t imagine why anyone would consider him to be a major league player. No speed, strikes out a ton, and can’t be trusted to make a routine throw across the diamond.

  5. Dave on March 16th, 2005 8:19 pm

    No speed, strikes out a ton, and can’t be trusted to make a routine throw across the diamond.

    That also describes Jim Thome to a tee. And we all know he sucks.

  6. matt on March 16th, 2005 9:28 pm

    Leone loses out because he’s got nowhere to play. It should be pretty obvious. Spiezio is already a backup 3B/1B, he’s got a guaranteed contract, and can flail away from the first base side of the dish, as well as the 3B side. Unless the team can move Spiezio (good luck!), Leone will be stuck in AAA until an injury or until September.
    And this has nothing to do with Bloomquist. They are not taking similar roles. Willie is backing up at SS and in CF, roles that Leone doesn’t fill. Yeah, it would be nice to have someone who can hit a bit more for this role, particularly when your starter is Pokey Reese, but they don’t really have this person. Given the options for backup SS, I’ll chose Willie. At least he is young, and can steal a base for you off the bench. The steaming remains of Benji G / Ricky G are about as worthless as the second Milli Vanilli record.
    Dobbs isn’t making the team, either. No need to get bent about this. He’ll be in the next set of cuts, probably.
    Chico Ruiz!?! Nice to hear from you. I thought you were dead! Did you really pull a gun on Alex Johnson?

  7. Ace of Spades on March 16th, 2005 9:29 pm

    Since when does Leone have no speed?

  8. eponymous coward on March 16th, 2005 10:26 pm

    To be fair, Jim Thome is a considerably better hitter than Justin Leone was or will ever be. Leone’s more like a RH version of Russ Branyan, and would be a decent fill-in on a team for a year or three. Thing is we don’t exactly need a fill-in at 3B, do we?

    The irony is that after the “youth movement” last year, the Rainiers lineup in Tacoma is likely to have Jose Lopez, Justin Leone and Bucky Jacobsen in it come April, just like last year. They must feel like they’re in “Groundhog Day”…

  9. Bela Txadux on March 16th, 2005 10:31 pm

    Justin Leone’s fate with the Ms was sealed the moment they announced the signing of Beltre. 3B is taken. 1B is taken. Leone strikes out too much to project as a pinch hitter, power notwithstanding. Leone has no recent experience at other infield positions to mention, so he’s not suited to a quick conversion to a utility player. Justin’s only role is exactly the one he’s ticketed for now: AAA zombie to be revived only if Beltre or Richie S. go down, and then only for six weeks or so. Didn’t you folks notice how little playing time Leone was getting in camp?

    It sucks. I like Leone. There’s just no place/role for him within the present construction of the Ms 25-man, though; not his fault, just the situation. I wish the team would pull a minor league swap with him out of simple fairness. Dobbs is younger and can fit the roll of AAA zombie for several years just as well until the Ms release him quietly, whereas Justin actually has enough talent to play for a few years in the bigs if he can find a team with a position open. Good luck, J-Leo, and keep trying: you’re not history yet.

  10. DG on March 16th, 2005 11:29 pm

    I may have seen Leone play, up close and personal, as much as anyone that has commented here, if not more – and he was very average at third base in Triple-A.

    He did indeed make consistent errors at third. He wasn’t horrible, by any stretch, but he was pretty average for a AAA type.

    Dobbs made less mistakes.

    In my opinion, Leone has a better chance to be good at third than Dobbs, but third base play isn’t the reason why the organization loves Dobbs and it isn’t the reason why I saw Leone taking ground balls on Field 5 in Peoria with Hunter Brown, instead of with the big club preparing for their game at the PSC’s main stadium field against the Giants.

    The love affair with Dobbs is two fold.

    1. He truly is a great guy. Anyone who talks to him for any lenth of time will see that he is genuinely a quality human being and that transfers over to the way he approaches the game, which is why the club adores him.

    He does anything and everything the teams asks of him and does it with 1000% effort and 1000% focus and determination.

    Not that Leone’s effort level is bad, because it isn’t, but Dobbs just goes above and beyond.

    2. Dobbs is a left-handed bat.

    Believe it or not, if all else was equal – and it very well may be in the end – the M’s will take the left-handed stick over the righty bat.

    Having said that, I do believe that if Leo was healthy and was available to have gotten the same shot as Dobbs, that he may have hit the baseball with too much power for them to pass him up.

    Dobbs, however, is having a great spring and though that doesn’t translate to good regular season hitting, he is getting hits off the starters and closers on legit big league teams, such as Mark Prior, Brian Lawrence, Joe Borowski, etc.

    In the end, unless Spiezio is dealt or released, neither Dobbs nor Leo was going to make this team anyway.

  11. stan on March 17th, 2005 12:53 am

    Dave, do you think Leone has the potential to be another Jim Thome? If so, he should be the Mariner dh. Actually, if Leone has any future as a Mariner, I think he will have to be a dh. If he could make a little better contact while keeping his power, perhaps he could fill that role.

    Ace. perhaps saying no speed is a bit harsh. Leone is not in the same class as Edgar or John Olerud. He doesn’t have much speed though. Unlike the favorite whipping boy on this site, Leone could not be used as a pinch runner to steal a base. With his problems making an accurate throw, I don’t see where he could be used as a defensive replacement except at first base. I simply don’t see how he would provide enough value to be on the roster unless he could hit with enough consistent power to be a dh.

  12. DMZ on March 17th, 2005 2:25 am

    He does anything and everything the teams asks of him and does it with 1000% effort and 1000% focus and determination.

    In unison: “That’s impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.”

    This Simpsons reference brought to you by – your source for all your Simpsons quote references.

  13. Jeff Sullivan on March 17th, 2005 5:41 am


    This wasn’t worthy of an email, but in today’s Off the Wall, you say that “Leone’s best seasons came in Tacoma,” which isn’t true. It may have been a typo, in which case nevermind, but Leone was a better hitter and a better player in San Antonio two years ago.

  14. MarinerInAbstentia on March 17th, 2005 7:18 am

    i’d be interested in seeing your pick for the 24 man roster, ussmariner. of all the people on the 40 man (and anywhere else in the org) who do you believe SHOULD make the team? with some small (or however much you choose) amount of justification.

  15. Jim Osmer on March 17th, 2005 8:05 am

    I saw Leone two years ago at AA and he played great defense and was an excellent baserunner (more of a Bagwell smarts/speed than lightning quick). Last year in spring training he turned into Russ Davis. His injury set him back this spring training but I think he could be a good player somewhere.

    I got to think that Sele and Nelson plus a non-roster utility guy (Ricky G. or Benji or Ramon) will make the team. That makes 3 slots that need to open up. I would think Thornton would be one (out of options and still horrible to watch). Will the M’s give up someone like Leone to make room?

    That being said I prefer Sele to Franklin (Sele’s quick pitching style versus Franklin’s tedium I believe directly translates into run support and thus win/loss record). But I prefer Putz and Mateo over Nelson who is just too inconsistent these days at throwing strikes.

  16. Jeff Sullivan on March 17th, 2005 8:15 am

    How would pitching quickly or slowly have any effect on run support?

  17. BKL on March 17th, 2005 8:46 am

    Let me qualify this statement by saying that errors are not a true evaluation of defensive performance, but you kind of have to wonder if Leone isn’t one of those defensive types of players that makes you think he’s a much better player than he is by coming up with “spectacular” plays that outweigh the errors he does commit.

    In his minor league career, (from numbers I can find online) Leone has had 20+ errors at third in every year of his career (excluding 1999 which the numbers aren’t listed).

    2000 – 115 games played – 26 errors
    2001 – 130 games played – 27 errors
    2002 – 98 games played – 24 errors
    2003 – 135 games played – 21 errors
    2004 – 99 games played – 24 errors (combined Tacoma/Seattle Numbers)

  18. msb on March 17th, 2005 8:51 am

    #48-49: c’mon now, we also learned from Gary Thorne that Ichiro apparently will be playing center this season (Thorne seemed to think Reed was in center only because Ichi was the DH today) ; Brantley & Sutcliffe like Meche, but want him to be more aggressive and go after batters ; Ichiro gets lots of hits. He is a magician with the bat. He gets lots of hits ; the only reason Reed & Olivo will be starting for the Mariners is to justify the trading away Garcia (Apparently Sutcliffe still hasn’t gotten over that one) ; Brantley & Sut both love Bobby Madritsch ; They will all miss seeing Edgar, and agree that he should go into the Hall– if you are going to have specialists like the DH & closers, then you have to acknowledge their accomplishments ; Matt Thornton needs an off-speed pitch he can throw for a strike. Dan Reichert needs to throw strikes consistantly. Thorne still can’t pronounce Sexson.

    Best line of the game? watching Mutt & Jeff (Sexson & Boone) walking down the line to the clubhouse together, Thorne cracked “hey, you didn’t tell me it was Father/Son day at the ballpark”

  19. Adam S on March 17th, 2005 8:53 am

    Leone’s 2003 and 2004 were similar in terms of OPS — he walked less often but showed more power at AAA. If as Derek writes, San Antonio is a hitters park and Tacoma is a pitchers park, I think that means his AAA numbers are better. As well, doing the roughly the same thing in AAA strikes me as better than doing it in AA.

    Way off topic, but like Jim I don’t believe Franklin’s CONSISTENT poor run support is random, but have not looked at any data to prove such a theory.

  20. Ralph Malph on March 17th, 2005 9:31 am

    I could see how pitching slowly might lead to poorer defense behind a pitcher but I can’t see how it could lead to poor run support.

  21. Jeff Sullivan on March 17th, 2005 9:31 am

    San Antonio has played as a severe pitcher’s park for quite some time. Park factors for each of the last three years: 898, 897, 893. Tacoma’s a pitcher’s park as well, but not to the same extent as SA. As for the OPS argument, a point of OBP is roughly 1.8 times as productive as a point of SLG, so Leone’s “adjusted OPS” in 2003 was about 54 points higher than the one he put up in Tacoma.

    As far as Franklin’s “consistently” poor run support is concerned: in 2003, his average run support was 4.84. The Mariners averaged 4.91 runs scored per game. Where’s the problem? Franklin just ran into some lousy luck in 2004, that’s all.

  22. DMZ on March 17th, 2005 9:46 am

    – ON TODAY’S PI –
    There’s a fix submitted for the column, as that is obviously not as it should be. That should have been much, much clearer in what happened where, what the levels were, and how park-adjusted stats compared the two.

    One of my largest problems writing these PI columns is that I’m trying to strike this balance between technical but readable in a short form, and this is a case where I obviously errored in trying to shorten and simplify, to the point where the finished product is wrong.

  23. eponymous coward on March 17th, 2005 11:04 am

    That being said I prefer Sele to Franklin (Sele’s quick pitching style versus Franklin’s tedium I believe directly translates into run support and thus win/loss record).

    Huh? Franklin’s a slow worker? The dude ALWAYS has low pitch counts and works fast in the game I watch…

  24. Jeff on March 17th, 2005 11:08 am

    We’re trying to answer the “who do we want on the roster” question through the roundtables. You can get a pretty clear picture from those, I think.

  25. DG on March 17th, 2005 12:00 pm

    Did someone say Leone was a slow runner, in some fashion?

    And the last time I checked Simpsons references were one of a million ways to clown on someone without taking it head on.

  26. Jim Osmer on March 17th, 2005 12:55 pm

    Quick working pitchers get their players off the field in the dugout quicker instead of standing on the field for long periods of time. When hitters spend all day being fielders, players lose focus. I think this is why strikeout pitchers (like RJ or Pedro) often get poor run support too (i.e. lots of pitches, long at bats). Sele is notorious for winning many games even when his ERA does not seem to justify it. He gets his team off the field quick even when gives up runs.
    Franklin takes forever because he throws to first way too often and lags between pitches. I realize the M’s were bad last year but Bobby M. and Meche (2nd half version only) both had winning records and won more games post all star break than Franklin did all last year. Also Franklin had a losing record in 2003 when we won 93 games. ERA, K’s are nice but you have to look for guys who win on bad teams and avoid guys who lose on good teams.
    The slow pitcher theory shows up even more in the minors where control struggles often lead to painful innings.

  27. Dave on March 17th, 2005 12:58 pm

    The slow pitcher theory also has absolutely no evidence supporting it.

    If you’d like to do some research to support this claim, by all means, I’d love to see some factual support. In reality, though, run support is almost certainly random.

  28. Jeff Sullivan on March 17th, 2005 1:05 pm

    That’s like saying that the Mariners and Cubs don’t score many runs because Ichiro and Nomar take so long getting ready in the batter’s box, and the other hitters become disinterested.

    I don’t buy it, just like I don’t buy the “poor run support made Franklin pitch worse” argument.

  29. Ralph Malph on March 17th, 2005 6:41 pm

    I don’t get anything done at work because my coworkers are all lazy.

  30. Shmoe on March 18th, 2005 3:06 am

    I think the Franklin vs Sele battle may be decided by Joel’s shoulder. Starting rotation of Madritsch, Meche, Moyer, Franklin and Sele? Baseball Gods help us!

  31. James on May 11th, 2005 8:34 pm

    What injury did Leone sustain on May 3rd?

  32. James on May 11th, 2005 8:39 pm

    I trained Leone this offseason. Hargrove sucks, he didn’t even give Leone an at bat during his last call-up. Leone should be playing shortstop. He definately could be putting up better numbers than Valdez(.217 0 HRs and 6 RBIs) or Bloomquist(.138 0 HRs and 3 RBIs).