Off-day Mariner fix

DMZ · April 7, 2005 at 9:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Times notebook: Pineiro feels great but his return won’t be moved up, Franklin doesn’t want to be in the pen, Hargrove doesn’t think Ibanez is bad in left (which sort of misses the point) and will continue to play him out there, Pokey update, other stuff.

PI Notebook: Madritsch injury could move up Pineiro’s return, Dobbs is enthusiastic, Pokey update, “Yesterday’s crowd of 25,580 was the seventh-lowest in Safeco Field history,” a lot of other stuff


41 Responses to “Off-day Mariner fix”

  1. Mr. Mitchell on April 7th, 2005 9:59 am

    I was at the game on Tuesday and Winn would have gotten to at least one and maybe both of the balls Ibanez missed. If Winn catches the ball Ibanez dove for the Twins most likely don’t score 7 runs in that inning (that is asking a lot, but you never know). The reason Ibanez will get playing time in left is to make him happy because he doesn’t like to DH. Lame. Winn may not be a great outfielder, but his speed alone makes him a better choice than Ibanez.

  2. Nick on April 7th, 2005 10:00 am

    Everett Herald Notebook: Ichiro Sizzles – Reed Fizzles, Pokey update, Piniero schedules for Mariners Debut next Saturday, Hargrove says no change for Thornton, Nunez will play in Tacoma

  3. anotherjeff on April 7th, 2005 10:16 am

    The above link is not what it says. I’m sure its an innocent mistake, but the housing market does qualify as a Mariners related topic.

  4. Ralph Malph on April 7th, 2005 10:24 am

    If Hargrove has to play Yul in the field occasionally to make him happy, he’d do less damage if he played 1st with Sexson DH’ing.

  5. Ralph Malph on April 7th, 2005 10:28 am

    Grover’s comment on Winn’s boner:

    “We ran the bases not very smart.”

  6. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2005 10:29 am

    Not so much, actually. Raul’s a butcher at 1B, as opposed to adequate if not good in LF.

    I assume the point is Winn >>>> Ibanez in LF?

    Anyway…I bet more 22,000-25,000 person crowds are in the immediate future. This weekend is cold and rainy (meaning lots of parkas, blankets and hot chocolate), and the Rangers don’t have A-Rod any more.

  7. Chris Caldwell on April 7th, 2005 10:38 am

    About #1: Since Ibanez is the fourth outfielder in addition to his DH duties, he’s going to need to see playing time in left at least once a week, as painful as it may be, in case somebody goes down. Unless we all want Willie in the starting lineup. Ha!

    About #6: The small crowd isn’t that much of a surprise, given that most folks are still at work at 3:30. I still wonder though if we’ll se any sellouts that don’t involve the Yankees or the Red Sox.

  8. Ralph Malph on April 7th, 2005 10:44 am

    My instinct was that the difference between Winn and Ibanez in LF is worth more runs than the difference between Sexson and Ibanez at 1B. Not because Ibanez is any good at 1B but because LF accounts for more runs than 1B.

    Maybe someone who knows stats can tell us if that’s true.

  9. DMZ on April 7th, 2005 11:03 am

    Maybe someone who knows stats can tell us if that’s true.

    If you assume Ibanez would be less-bad at first with a lot of practice there (which I don’t buy, but whatever), it’s a tough choice: you’d be taking out one good defensive player for a bad one either way.

    However, Ibanez in his limited trials at first has been awful awful awful, and if the choice is Winn into Ibanez or Sexson into Ibanez, you’re better off with the latter, and the difference is probably going to work out to 10 runs if you did that every game all year long.

  10. Todd on April 7th, 2005 11:03 am

    I also would not discount Ibanez’s presence in left as a marketing tool. If he is traded to an NL team in need of a lefty bat, the NL team needs to seem him play the outfield.

  11. JMB on April 7th, 2005 11:16 am

    Here’s the actual Everett link:


  12. Xteve X on April 7th, 2005 11:26 am

    I think #10 is a sound point. I really don’t want to see Ibanez at first any more than necessary … but if he doesn’t like to DH, tough. I have zero tolerance for players who whine about how they get their at bats if they’re in the everyday lineup. Especially guys like Raul who are already being paid well over what comparable OFers are getting.

  13. Morisseau on April 7th, 2005 11:39 am

    Hey, if anybody here cares — here’s a link to buy sonics’ playoff tickets :
    presale password supernet47

  14. PositivePaul on April 7th, 2005 11:58 am

    Having been on the “Raul’s not a bad defender” side for awhile, even I was convinced that Winn makes those plays. Winn in LF >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Ibañez in LF.

    Count me now in to the “Ibañez should be playing LF only after Yul Brenner makes his next movie” group.

  15. Shoeless Jose on April 7th, 2005 12:37 pm

    I agree that it was likely Winn would have got to that ball. I do give Raul points for trapping it and not letting it get by him. I know that’s what good outfielders do; but he did it, so he’s good — not great, certainly not fast, downright slow maybe, but good.

    I like the idea of putting him out there to showcase him for other teams, but that only works if he looks good. I suppose he has to “stretch his legs” periodically. BTW, if he is the defacto 4th outfielder, why is Strong still taking a 40 man roster spot?

    I’m not surprised by the low turnout. I make a point of going to the mid-day weekday day games because I can and because good seats are usually available, but I do that during the summer, when the roof is open and you can enjoy the sunshine. So I wasn’t there yesterday, and I’m sure there were a lot of other people thinking the same way I was. But I’m sure this weekend the turnout will be fine. What does ARod have to do with it? He wasn’t with the Rangers last year, either. As a matter of fact, I started going to the games against the Rangers in the early summer because I liked their lineup. I remember thinking (pior to the callup of Bucky etc) “This is what I wish the M’s had: an infield full of young talent who’ve figured out how to hit, but aren’t yet capital-S Stars.” Note to self: be careful what you wish for, or at least always include starting pitching in your wishes…

  16. Basebliman on April 7th, 2005 12:45 pm

    About Madritsch, I just watched the replay on MLB.TV and it doesn’t look good at all. You can tell Mads thinks it’s serious by the look on his face. This guy missed a whole season with arm problems before so he is familiar w/ different types of pain, I’m sure. Let’s hope he was just disgusted that he had to come out of this game and it’s not worse than it looked. If he goes on the DL for a long time (I know he isn’t on it yet) we may be seeing Felix quicker than we thought.

  17. change on April 7th, 2005 1:12 pm

    I was at that game Tuesday, and I was very pissed at Raul. He got a terrible jump on that ball, and it was obvious that he wasn’t going to get it on the dive. I thought that Winn probably would have got to it, and it sucks that it wasn’t caught, but there was more going wrong that inning than a ball that didn’t get caught. The rookie waiver kid cost us outs, Raul cost us outs, Meche got the hook for no reason, Thornton was serving up meatballs…the list goes on and on.

  18. Shoeless Jose on April 7th, 2005 1:29 pm

    You know, as bad as things might seem at this point, it could be worse. The M’s could have spent even more money on FA talent in the offseason and have even less to show for it. You know, like the Mets, who — despite Pedro and Beltran — just got swept by Cincinnati and are off to their worst start since 1964.

  19. JMHawkins on April 7th, 2005 1:33 pm

    Grover certainly isn’t winning many fans. His quick hook of Meche was bad, putting Thronton in with the game on the line and better options available was worse, and putting a less-capable defender on the field while the more-capable defender was DHing was just awful.

    Raul can play LF when Winn or Reed needs a day off. He can play 1B when Sexson needs a day off. And he can play RF for the three games a year that they tie Ichiro up and force him to take a day off. None of those guys needed a day off on the second game of the season. Stupid.

    Carrying Thornton on the roster because they thinks it’s better to give him one last chance to prove himself rather than lose him to waivers is of debatable wisdom, but putting him in when the game was close was stupid. Yeah, a lefty was up, but Mateo vs a lefty, or Shiggy vs a lefty, or Franklin vs a lefty, were all better ideas and what Grover should’ve done. Bring Thornton in when you’re down four or more runs and the starter is tired. In fact, that’s pretty much how Lou used Franklin in ’01, and he was damn successful at it. He was 5-1 that year. The five wins came because he pitched decently enough that the offense came back a few times. There was only 1 loss because they didn’t put him in many situations where he could blow a lead.

    I’m an optimist, I like Ibanez, and I like giving guys a chance to prove themselves. But I’m not happy with bush-league player management.

  20. Morisseau on April 7th, 2005 1:34 pm

    Anybody else notice how frequently the M’s play day games during the first month? I don’t like it — too many times that I miss them on the TV.

  21. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2005 1:56 pm

    Anybody else notice how frequently the M’s play day games during the first month? I don’t like it — too many times that I miss them on the TV.

    The reason could be called “nobody likes sitting in 35 degree weather at 10:07 at night huddled in a blanket and parka and waiting for Hargrove’s 5th pitching change of the game”.

  22. Xteve X on April 7th, 2005 2:00 pm

    Re: #19, I don’t think any of us have seen enough of Grover’s tendencies to jump down his back just yet … with that said I agree he gave Meche the hook way too quickly and Thornton was not the right guy for that situation. But it’s only one game. Perhaps Grover hasn’t seen enough of Thornton yet to know how badly he blows goats? I doubt Thornton is going to be around long enough for Hargrove to make that mistake a second time …

  23. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2005 2:00 pm

    Meche got the hook for no reason

    82 pitches, putting some baserunners on and not yet into the 5th inning is plenty of reason for me.

    Granted, the choice of reliever left something to be desired, but I’m a big fan of the quick hook if the pitch count is starting to go high. Yeah, it costs some starting pitchers decisions. Boo *ing hoo. Don’t walk guys, work quickly and throw strikes if you want to stay around for the later innings.

  24. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2005 2:04 pm

    Er, OUT of the 5th inning.

  25. misterjonez on April 7th, 2005 2:21 pm

    I didn’t get to see the second game, but I agree that Thornton shouldn’t have ever been given the ball in that situation. That’s just ridiculous, *BUT* remember that we’re not going anywhere in our division this season, so it’s as good an opportunity to see what our guys can/can’t do so we can keep them or dump them. Thornton should be a long reliever and nothing else until he proves he can throw strikes, which he hasn’t even come close to doing yet. The only problem with that is that I’m not much more comfortable with Shiggy or Franklin in that situation. Villone is the best option, imo, and that’s kinda scary. Mateo gives up dingers like Moyer’04, so a critical out with men on base isn’t exactly where I perceive him.

    I don’t like losing games any more than the next person, but I would rather we lose those games now and learn if we should just ditch Thornton, than keep him around after he hasn’t really proven to have any value to the club as a later-innings reliever (which is his only potential value). We’re at least two pitchers away from being in contention, and that’s if everyone we have is healthy. I’m just gonna enjoy the season for what it is: Baseball.

  26. Todd on April 7th, 2005 2:29 pm

    I think that Hargrove yanked Meche at the appropriate time. His choice of replacement left something to be desired.

    If anything, Grover, through the first couple of games, has shown that he, unlike Melvin, is not going to let a starter implode and then be forced to bring in the reliever when the situation is already out of hand.

    I bet that he will soon learn that Thornton is not be be called upon, unless you simply like 3-1 counts for the hell of it. Then Thornton’s your man.

  27. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2005 3:17 pm

    Pitcher Clint Nageotte, who was scheduled to begin the season with the Rainiers, is not with the team after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam for his sore right (pitching) elbow. The results should be known today.

    It never ends, does it?

  28. Tim O on April 7th, 2005 3:52 pm

    RE: #25. I still don’t get the idea that it is crystal clear that we aren’t going anywhere in our division this year. Last I checked we went 1-2 against a team expected by most to be a playoff team, while the Rangers and Angels have split and the A’s have split with an O’s team that noone expects to see in the playoffs. There is absolutely no justification in my mind to putting anything but your best available options out in the game this early in the season. I question Ibanez starting in left Thorton being brought in, but I’m certainly not writing off the season after 3 games.

  29. John Hawkins on April 7th, 2005 4:01 pm

    I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on pulling Meche. I think he should’ve left him in, but it’s not a hangin’ offense if he pulled him too early. I didn’t call that move stupid.

    The other two (Thornton and Ibanez in LF) were stupid as far as this fan is concnered.

  30. Jason on April 7th, 2005 4:09 pm

    I’m glad to see pitchers pulled. I was at the D-Backs game Tuesday night and watched Ortiz throw 7 straight balls in the 6th. I started grumbling about not understanding why he hadn’t been pulled. Then my wife had reminded me of the offseason move I had forgotten, bringing in Melvin as manager. I just put my head in my hands when I realized what a season we’re in for if he’s already making bonehead mistakes like that again.

    Ortiz got out of the inning without giving up the lead, and he didn’t come out for the 7th so the D-Backs excaped with a 1 run win.

  31. Ralph Malph on April 7th, 2005 4:28 pm

    I’m not sure I understand your point, Jason. Should Ortiz have been pulled after the 6th straight ball? Like with a 2-0 count on Burnitz? His pitch count was only in the 80’s at the time. And the walk of Ramirez was only the 2nd walk he’d given up in the game.

    I don’t like Melvin any more than you do, but that’s just silly.

  32. Russ on April 7th, 2005 4:38 pm

    I’m surprised that more of you are not MLB managers? With so much baseball knowledge and tactical savvy it is unreal that you are not being utilized for your full potential.

    With the ability that so many of you possess, to manage a baseball game with the outcome known after the decision was made, I can hardly believe that I get to read how you’d do it better.

    This is sheer joy to me.

  33. Ralph Malph on April 7th, 2005 4:43 pm

    I don’t have to be a financial analyst to have an opinion about the social security plan. I don’t have to be a graduate of West Point to have an opinion about the war in Iraq. And I don’t have to be an MLB veteran to have an opinion about a baseball manager.

    Of course opinions are like a**holes, as the saying goes.

  34. Evan on April 7th, 2005 5:01 pm

    Pulling Meche was a good call. If he’d brought in someone other than Thornton and we’d won the game, you wouldn’t be complaining about pulling Meche.

    No, the mistake wasn’t pulling Meche. It was putting in Thornton. The quick hook I like. I just wish he’d have had one for Thornton.

  35. Aaron Brooks on April 7th, 2005 5:02 pm

    Pulling Meche: I think it was an ok strategy. Meche leave w/o a chance of losing the game, and best case/ worst case of allowing 2/4 runs. He comes back his next start with some confidence, plenty of arm strength, etc. Leaving him in you give him a chance to win, but also gamble pulling him one or two batters later with a higher pitch count and a loss.

    The Thornton issue: The team is carrying a hard-throwing lefty reliever who can’t pitch because he’s out of minor league options. Why? Hargrove and/or management wants to run him out there early in the season in clutch situations to accomplish one of two things: 1. see if he can magically get his act together (unlikely), or 2. let him prove he stinks so we can cut him now. Their thinking with #2 may be that other teams won’t want to touch him thus allowing us the “perk” of possibly keeping him in our system… and if by some miracle he performs well at any level, maybe they can trade him.

    I’d rather he wasn’t using up a roster spot — just send him packing. If some other team wants to carry him as a long-shot project, let them pick him up! Perhaps Texas would sign him and he’d be their problem…

    It seems like the M’s see something there that they think is worth saving and will hold onto him despite his lack of control. Perhaps they think we need a lefty really badly no matter how unpredictable he is. I’d rather see us use a decent righty pitcher who has good stuff than a lefty who can’t throw strikes consistently. I bet the averages work out better for a righty pitcher who gets ahead of hitters. So what if the hitter bats left. If Thornton walks him or if the guy knows he only needs to swing at fastballs, he’s not going to be better than a righty pitcher alternative. Of course a good lefty would be the ideal choice, but we can’t seem to find any of those.

  36. Karen on April 7th, 2005 5:11 pm

    I can’t believe none of you complainers about Grover’s quick hook have remembered yet….WE’RE NOT EVEN OUT OF THE FIRST WEEK OF THE NEW SEASON!!! They ALWAYS keep a really close eye on pitch counts. Some guys this early can go to 100 pitches, but a lot should come out by 85 pitches…and Meche has too much injury history to take ANY risks this early.

    As for Madritsch, let’s hope those instances last fall when Melvin let him complete games @ around 120-130 pitches aren’t coming back to haunt…

  37. John Hawkins on April 7th, 2005 7:08 pm


    There’s definitely a good case to be made for pulling Meche, even though I think he should’ve left him in. It’s bringing in Thornton and having the wrong guy at DH that bug me the most.


    We can figure out if Thornton is going to sink or swim in situtation that don’t have the game on the line – that’s why I mentioned how Lou used Franklin in ’01. The weakest guy in your pen isn’t the first reliever you bring in with a slight lead in game two of the season – it’s just unfathomable to me that Grover did that.

    Geez, I’m usually the one complaining about the pessimism on the board. Maybe I need a beer.

  38. Paul Covert on April 7th, 2005 7:51 pm

    The Case for Thornton on the Roster

    (Not to be confused, of course, with “the so-called case for bringing in Thornton with the tying runs on base,” which I don’t agree with either.)

    Part I: My View Before Tuesday’s Fifth-Inning Debacle

    The benefit of the so-called “DIPS Theory” is that it allows us to consider each of a pitcher’s three major skills– strikeouts, walk avoidance, and home-run avoidance– and see what kind of a pitcher they add up to. In particular, it shows us that a pitcher who struggles in one of those areas need not necessarily be a bad pitcher– as long as he’s good enough in the other two areas to make up for it. It also helps us to keep from being confused by the effects that distort a pitcher’s ERA in the short term but which don’t usually persist over time (hits on balls in play, and bunching of hits to create runs).

    In Thornton’s case, he’s always struggled with his control. But he’s also struck a lot of guys out, and (very importantly) he’s never allowed a lot of home runs (neither in the minors nor in last year’s stint with Seattle). In particular, his low-4’s ERA with Seattle last year was not a balls-in-play fluke or a hit-scattering fluke. That’s actually about what you’d expect from a pitcher with .20 K, .17 BB, and .013 HR per batter faced. As long as he keeps the ball in the park (which, historically, he has), he can survive even with only slightly more strikeouts than walks.

    It can, on the other hand, be argued that Thornton’s good peripherals in the majors last year were a bit better than would have been expected from his previous minor-league performance. But not drastically so, I don’t think. PECOTA pegs him for an ERA of about 5.0 in 2005; based on his past record, that seems if anything on the high side. Prior to Wednesday’s game, I had him pegged for somewhere in the high 4’s; not worse than replacement level, and possibly a bit better.

    Now, let’s assume that the team’s goal is to assemble the group that can eventually lead us back to the 95-win level, without hurting ourselves too badly in the meantime. What we want, then, is to accumulate guys who could realistically be contributing parts of the next very good Seattle team– and if they say they have reason to think that Thornton could, I find no cause for disagreement. (I wouldn’t have demoted Sherrill for him, but would certainly have kept him over the various veterans clogging up the staff. The vets might help us pull through this year, but I don’t see that we really need them to. Thornton, if handled correctly, shouldn’t hurt us this year and could, if he turns the corner on his control, become very good in the future.)

    And no, spring training didn’t change my mind. He allowed lot of hits on balls in play during the spring. Those tend to even out. His K/W/HR skills were still there. Those tend to stick around.

    Part II: After Tuesday

    I agree with John Hawkins that Thornton’s job here should be as the mop-up man, until he shows that he’s ready for more. The situation Tuesday in the fifth was too key to give to the last guy on your staff. But still– what happened, happened.

    Does it convince me that my previous view of Thornton was incorrect? No, of course not. Three singles, and then (once he knew he was in over his head) a longball. A four-batter sample’s not going to outweigh a conclusion based on an extensive past history.

    But does it mean that he will become a worse-than-replacement-level pitcher? That’s possible, if he lets the Jacque Jones shellshock get to him. I hope he doesn’t; and I’m still inclined to favor keeping him until he proves he’s fallen apart. And even then, it will still be a matter of “has fallen apart,” not of “was worthless in the first place.” A pitcher who can strike guys out and keep the ball in the park can be good even if he walks too many guys. Don’t get fooled by the CW. But if he does fall apart now, then sure, if somebody else wants to put in a waiver claim, let them.

    And in the meantime– please, Mr. Hargrove, you’ve got eight guys in the pen– please let Thornton re-establish himself as a mop-up guy!

  39. Greg Pirkl on April 7th, 2005 9:37 pm

    If this has been discussed somewhere I apologize but can someone please explain to me why hargrove did not pinch hit for our BACK-UP catcher in the seventh inning with the bases loaded. Mind you this is a guy who has not broken 45 rbi’s in the last 8 Years.

    If you dont go to a left handed bat there when are you going to. if so cut Spezio (might not be a bad idea anyway) and send Dobber down for someone you would bring in there.

    I would hate to calculate the hours of my life that have been spent watching Dan Wilson do nothing but continue to be exhalted in this town thanks to his person PR firm(Rick Rizzs). 1 RBI every 8.14 AB’s over his Seattle career–seriously

  40. Jim Thomsen on April 7th, 2005 10:32 pm

    In other cheering injury news, from the News Tribune:

    Pitcher Clint Nageotte, who was scheduled to begin the season with the Rainiers, is not with the team after undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam for his sore right (pitching) elbow. The results should be known today.

  41. Jason on April 8th, 2005 1:16 pm

    Ralph, I’m not sure he should have been pulled or not. I was just mentioning the difference between Grover and Melvin, and the fact that I was immediately reminded of Melvin’s tendancies in the second D-Backs game of the season. Maybe I didn’t have a point exactly, more of a “remember what it was like last year?” type of thing.