News tidbits

DMZ · May 30, 2005 at 8:22 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Time/PI notebook watch: Borders, Bloomquist may get more and more of the playing time (Borders, presumably, until he stops hitting, Bloomquist, relative to Wilson Valdez, is probably a better choice anyway).

This leads to a problem we saw in yesterday’s game: because the bench is so thin (and bad), if Bloomquist is the 4th outfielder, playing him at shortstop means that if they need a replacement OF, they either have to move Ibanez out of the DH slot (forcing the pitcher to bat) or move Bloomquist into the OF, and Valdez takes over at short. If you pinch-hit for Bloomquist, it’s Ibanez or more juggling that ends up with someone in the outfield who shouldn’t be there.

I know that seems like another of the more trivial problems of the team, and it is — it doesn’t matter if they can’t easily sub a left fielder in if they’re down by 8 — but it’s a good example of how carrying 12 pitchers and having such an inflexible bench hampers the manager, and the team’s, ability to adapt.

We’ve seen Reed start to hit lately, but even the balls that are dropping are part of a pattern: he’s been pulling almost everything to right field. If you look at his hit charts, you can see there’s a huge skew, to the point that you could take the left-fielder and play him shallow behind first-and-second or play really shallow and then shift the infield heavily.

Players can be productive like this, but the problem will come if this is an exploitable flaw in his swing. If teams find that he can only ground out weakly on pitches in, where he can’t get the bat around, that’s all he’ll see.

Reed was my pick as AL Rookie of the Year. There’s still time, but I’d feel a lot better about this if he was hitting to all fields. Or even two fields.

From Gammons:

(on mid-season trades for pitching)

Just as in late July if Barry Zito, Kip Wells, Kevin Millwood, Jason Jennings and Joel Pineiro are available.

That’s an interesting thought, but thie requires a team to look at Pineiro and see something they can fix and something worth an expensive two-year gamble. I don’t see anyone taking that unless he shows he can be consistent with his new lower velocity and that he can do well with it. If a team’s going to deal for pitching help, they’re going to be looking for help, and probably someone who can fit in the first three slots of the rotation if they head towards the playoffs.

Remember Ryan Anderson, the 6-foot-10 “Little Unit” and former no. 1 pick of the Tigers? The Brewers recently signed him out of an Arizona independent league, and he had a four-strikeout inning debut

The Tigers?


43 Responses to “News tidbits”

  1. Paul Molitor Cocktail on May 30th, 2005 8:30 am

    “The Tigers?”

    Forget it, he’s rolling.

  2. David J Corcoran on May 30th, 2005 8:33 am

    Another interesting tidbit from the Tribune:

    Rivera to be called up, Olivo to be optioned?

  3. JMB on May 30th, 2005 8:44 am

    The Tigers, IIRC, had the #1 pick that year. Anderson had said he’d only play for Detroit or Seattle, who nabbed him at #19. Going from memory, could be way off.


  4. Mords on May 30th, 2005 8:45 am

    Probably confused with Matt Anderson

  5. JMB on May 30th, 2005 8:46 am

    Yeah, good call Mords. I hadn’t thought about that.


  6. Jeff on May 30th, 2005 8:55 am

    Gammons also called Alex Gordon “Scott Gordon” in that column. Not his finest hour.

  7. pensive on May 30th, 2005 9:18 am

    Do the Mariners have a short stop in the minors that would not be a defensive liability on the big league team? Bloomquist costs the team more runs than he produces offensively it seems when starting at SS.

    Why did Hargrove empty the bench Sunday, yet in Baltimore made no moves? I like the Hargrove hire but he has made some questionable moves and non-moves.

  8. Tom on May 30th, 2005 9:32 am

    Along the lines of #7, I’m not sure what you give back defensively by playing WFB at short is worth the (gulp) offensive (cough) gain of starting him over Valdez. They’re both pretty easy outs. Not sure WFB is really the better option.

  9. Nelson on May 30th, 2005 9:37 am

    #6: I guess it goes to show that we’re all human. Even “hall-of-famer” Peter Gammons is capable of a Niehausesque senior moment.

  10. pensive on May 30th, 2005 9:47 am

    #6 Lets just hope M’s have the opportunity to draft Alex Gordon. An ideal fit for M’s IMO.

  11. James on May 30th, 2005 9:47 am

    …or 10. He’s really no different than any baseball writer, just that his stuff is read more readily and more often than 80% of baseball writers. The Times, PI, CT, WP, NYT, DMN, BG… they all make the same amount of errors.

  12. eponymous coward on May 30th, 2005 10:17 am

    7 & 8-

    No, actually, Wilson Valdez really IS that bad at the plate. (As is Olivo right now).

    And yeah, the 12 man bullpen makes it likely that at some point, we’ll see a P playing another position or hitting- simply because we’ll run out of bodies. Thing is, the pitching staff isn’t going deep enough in games to justify dropping a bullpen guy yet. Our team leader in quality starts is Aaron Sele, fergawdsake.

  13. Rusty on May 30th, 2005 10:18 am

    I don’t know if D’Angelo Jimenez has passed through waivers yet, but I think the M’s should claim him. He could be a good 2 year stopgap in the middle infield as Lopez appears ready to take over at 2B for Boone. That leaves our other SS prospects time to develop. Yes, all the usual makeup disclaimers are in order here, but despite all the troubles, he does come across as intelligent in last year’s BP interview, and he has plate discipline.

    He’s a better option than either Valdez or Bloomquist.

  14. Pineda on May 30th, 2005 10:19 am

    He also said when mentioning the Brewers prospects that one’s name was Mark Krynzel when in fact his name is Dave Krynzel. He does make a alot of errors I notciced for a big time writer.

  15. Jon Wells on May 30th, 2005 10:20 am

    #2 David J Corcoran said:

    Another interesting tidbit from the Tribune:
    Rivera to be called up, Olivo to be optioned?

    Well it’s about time — I only wish they’d figured out 10 days ago that they wanted to make this move — as I said then they don’t need a Borders-type, they need someone who can play 3 or 4 times a week. Hopefully they’ll try a little harder this time to find a guy who actually might be a servicable starting catcher next year — I note that Kelly Shoppach is now up with the Red Sox (and made his first major league start last night) so presumably he wouldn’t be available. If Olivo comes back this year and doesn’t impress it’s doubtful they’d offer him arbitration in December (although if he stays down long enough he might not end up being arb. eligible).

    A couple of other interesting Olivo/Hargrove notes.

    1) This quote from today’s Seattle Times

    “But when Hargrove was asked after Saturday’s game how much
    of winning pitcher Sele’s recent upturn was due to working with Borders, the manager said much with a non-response: “I can’t answer that without making the other guy [Olivo] look bad … so I won’t.”

    2) When Hargrove didn’t pinch-hit for Olivo in the 7th inning of the last Baltimore game (down by two, with two men on), all three of the regular beat writers questioned the move in their game stories the next day — a beat writer almost never questions the manager so bluntly. The three of them (John Hickey, Bob Finnigan and Larry LaRue) must have gotten together and agreed that they were all going to write about it.

    And it was actually in the headline of John Hickey’s game story in Friday’s P-I
    (“Orioles finish sweep of M’s
    Questionable strategy, weak hitting
    sink Seattle to 10 games below .500”)

    The lead of LaRue’s game story said “In a game that came down to two at-bats for the Seattle Mariners, manager Mike Hargrove all but gave up one of them.”

  16. Adam J. Morris on May 30th, 2005 10:24 am

    There have been a lot of those types of errors lately. I guess they are only letting editors review the pieces that go in the Insider section.

  17. Jon Wells on May 30th, 2005 10:25 am

    Of course there was not even a mention of the 7th inning situation in Jim “Dead End” Street’s daily propaganda piece at…

  18. toonprivate on May 30th, 2005 10:33 am

    Reed: I really admire the prediction that he’d be Rookie of the Year. but i don’t think it’s time to pull back now, even tho he’s not spraying the ball at this point (small sample size, etc.). we’ve seen that he has a nice inside-out swing at times. and the home runs this week — not to mention the higher BA — are encouraging: they are signs that he’s still “in motion” and progressing as a major league hitter. let’s see where he is in august. i’m thinking he’ll have a better June and July than he had April and May, AND that the chart will look more balanced. of course, if his high water mark is .270, then he’s just warming up a spot for choo or doyle or someone else.

  19. Evan on May 30th, 2005 10:49 am

    Reed has a shot, but there are other quality RoY candidates in the AL. Aaron Hill and Gustavo Chacin in Toronto could both be contenders.

  20. Jon Wells on May 30th, 2005 11:05 am

    Hill will be an interesting ROY candidate if he keeps hitting the way he has (.469 in his first 32 ML AB’s). If he keeps it up they’ll have to find a lineup spot for him when Koskie returns from the DL.

  21. world series on May 30th, 2005 11:25 am

    I think Reed definately has a shot. He’s coming around already. It’s going to take a lot more than what Crosby did last year for the A’s because of the competition this year, but he can do it. I think he more than can finish with a very strong average, will make some more spectacular looking diving catches and sway the vote in his favor with a couple of more big rbi games. His sudden HR/gap ability can only help his cause. If his on base percentage and average go up, he will steal as well. He has everything he needs and his confidence is on the rise.

  22. Evan on May 30th, 2005 11:28 am

    If Toronto wasn’t contending, the obvious solution would be to trade Hillenbrand. Hill’s not a good shortstop (and Adams is doing pretty well himself), and Koskie and Hinske are both signed to long-term deals. DH is really where he fits on that team.

    If Ricciardi has guts, he might trade Hillenbrand anyway. They could use a pitcher.

    The Jays have 10 guys who’ve hit homeruns this season, and Hill – with his .469/.536/.688 SLG line – isn’t one of them. Their offense seems pretty balanced, but they need pitching.

    There have been rumours they might try Hill at 2B and trade away the O-Dog, but that would be a shame.

  23. world series on May 30th, 2005 11:28 am


  24. Paul Molitor Cocktail on May 30th, 2005 12:20 pm

    “…or 10. He’s really no different than any baseball writer, just that his stuff is read more readily and more often than 80% of baseball writers. The Times, PI, CT, WP, NYT, DMN, BG… they all make the same amount of errors.”

    What is a replacement-level sportswriter?

    And who is the Mendoza of Sportswriters? Steve Kelley?

  25. DMZ on May 30th, 2005 12:27 pm

    Digging up an older comment:

    …or 10. He’s really no different than any baseball writer, just that his stuff is read more readily and more often than 80% of baseball writers. The Times, PI, CT, WP, NYT, DMN, BG… they all make the same amount of errors.

    That’s just not true. I can disagree with what the Seattle beat writers think and their views, but they rarely make out-and-out factual errors about things happening on the team. So chalk that up to being close to the situation and familiar with what’s happening.

    But there are national baseball writers who don’t make those mistakes, either. Larry Stone writes coverage of both leagues for the Seattle Times, and are we really to expect that he’s got more time and resources at his disposal for fact checking than Gammons?

    I believe that Gammons’ errors are part of the method in which they’re written. Gammons spends so much of his time working the phones and looking for information that he’s almost certainly doing the bulk of his column-side work by dictating notes and snippets over the phone to his editors, and relying on them to expand the names, check the quotes, and so on. That’s tough work, and sometimes they fail, but if that’s the way they’re written — and the nature of the errors, and particularly the way the same kind of errors crop up in his ESPN columns and are frequently corrected, while Gammons on television (or radio, or whatever) does not supports this.

    I can’t believe I just spent that many words theorizing about Peter Gammons’ work methods.

  26. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 1:48 pm

    DMZ … your theory SOUNDS right. But even if it is, it’s no excuse. Errors and errors, no matter how they came about, and they do nothing but undermine the credibility of everyone in journalism. I perceive that Gammons isn’t as well-respected as he was five or ten years ago; I notice his peers stepping up and taking shots at him from time to time in a way that never seemed to happen before. He’s just another gossip columnist, and I wouldn’t be shocked if savvy GMs used him to plant false rumors in hopes of triggering certain actions by others that the savvy ones want to see happen. Of course, Gammons gets a “hot scoop” out of this too, so at best, it’s mutual parisitism as its worst.

    This is the route Bob Finnigan lapses into on occasion … it’s as if he aspires to be Seattle’s Gammons because he can be, with his vast newtork of off-the-record deep sources in the organization and the need of he and his paper to feel they’re the first to report each prospective roster shuffle.

    It reminds me of a line from “Broadcast News,” when Albert Brooks mention that his agent has a hot lead on a job for him at “Portland’s No. 2 station, which aspires to be every bit as good as the networks.” Brooks shurgged and said, “Personally, I think they should aim higher.”

    It’s ironic to note that Mitch Albom took a monstrous, sustained beating from his colleagues in the journalism when it was revealed recently that he wrote a column and filed deswcribing actions that had yet to take place — and in fact DID not take place — as if they actually happened.

    Peter Gammons does this sort of shit all the time. Last year I pointed out how he wrote several columns about how Randy Johnson was desperately unhappy in Arizona and was forcing his employers to trade him by the July 31 deadline, no matter how lopsided a trade it was. He wrote it as though he had some piercing insight into Randy’s psyche, and I’m sure it was widely assumed by readers and other writers that Gammons and Randy were the closest of pals and it was to Gammons alone that The Big Unit poured out his otherwise private pain and anguish.

    Then Randy Johnson came out afterward and said, “I don’t know where this stuff is coming from. I’ve never talked to Peter Gammons. I don’t know why he’d say this about me, and it isn’t true. I never talked to anybody in the front office about anything like that.”

    To me, that shoyuld be enough to trigger and internal investigation at The Boston Globe, Gammons’ chief employer, and perhaps result in his firing or demotion (as happened with Albom, except his disciplinary action was lighter than that). But nobody seemed to care about Gammons’ deliberate printing of falsehoods, and I just can’t understand that. (Gammons never refuted Johnson’s words, and just went on blithely spitting out dubiously sourced rumors.)

    I can’t tell anybody what to think. But my researched opinion is that Peter Gammons is more full of shit than not, and anybody who pays attention to what he has to say as though it were gospel truth or even likely isn’t likely to be rewarded for it.

    So why reward him by reading him?

  27. DMZ on May 30th, 2005 2:09 pm

    So there are a couple different points where which touch each other:
    – Does Gammons get used as by GMs to float trial balloons?
    This is certainly true (“Team X is considering offering…”)

    – What does Gammons do, and what are the standards associated with that?
    He’s clearly not a beat reporter, and not a national analyst in a traditional sense. It’s a strange place he’s in.

    – Does he make stuff up?
    I don’t know. Has he been burned by his sources? I also don’t know that. However, neither this or his unclear role in journalism absolve him from responsibility for factchecking. The name escapes me as I sit here, but there’s a weekly aerospace magazine that’s hugely leak-based by virtue of what it covers, and they still manage to get their stories right.

    – Is his writing flawed in other ways?
    You don’t bring this up directly, but because I’m engaged in a gigantic research project that has required me to read Gammons columns way, way back, I’ll offer this humble opinion: yes. Throughout his career, Gammons has taken up causes and established individuals as being a “good person” which is clearly not a reporter’s or analyst’s role, and used that viewpoint to attack others. Often times, once he’s sharpened that axe, he’ll go back to the same attack over and over through the years.

    Now, this ties into to our other points: once you’re on the side of a front office, or a GM, or you’re committed to saying almost nothing to offend a source, and you go after someone, either because you’re on their side, or you’re sympathetic, or for whatever reason, there’s a whole other dangerous dynamic involved.

    – Why read him?
    Why do people continue to read Bob Novak, who is by any reasonable standard a traitor, and may (and, in fairness, may not) have sold out other writers to save his own worthless hide? The same reasons: they have insider connections and you’re reading for what those people are saying.

    If GMs are using Gammons to float their ideas, and you want to know what those ideas are — for instance, you’re curious who might be on the trading block — but you’re unwilling to read local papers (or can’t, because they’re all registration-only, or whatever) then you have to read Gammons. And especially if you want to know what GMs are broadcasting they’re considering…

    Until there’s a conservative, slow-to-press, reliable, fact-checking, well-edited substitute for Gammons, all you have is Gammons, and I wonder if that role he occupies allows for that person.

  28. Jon Wells on May 30th, 2005 2:19 pm


    Peter Gammons started out at the Globe in the late 60’s and they were his main employer for many years even after he was at ESPN. He stopped being a Globe employee several years ago and contributes there on an “occasional” basis, which has turned out to be “very occasionaL” (even though he still lives in Massachusetts)…

  29. LB on May 30th, 2005 2:21 pm

    #26: internal investigation at The Boston Globe, Gammons’ chief employer

    I believe Gammons has been nothing more than an occassional contributor to the Globe for a long time.

  30. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 3:18 pm

    Thanks for the correction.

  31. JeffS on May 30th, 2005 4:21 pm

    So Reed starts hitting the ball and the editor of this site still isn’t happy? Yeesh. Let’s enjoy Reed’s surge and just like Ichiro during his first spring training he’ll learn to use all sides of the field before long.

  32. Evan on May 30th, 2005 4:26 pm

    But we don’t know that; that’s just blind optimism. Reed is doing better, but he’s also pulling the ball nearly every time. It’s something he’ll probably have to address if he’s to provide continued value as a hitter.

    No one’s saying he can’t fix it – just that it’s something worth watching.

  33. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 4:31 pm

    Geez … haven’t we gotten past the point here yet where we can distinguish critical, analytical observation from an inherently negative “playa-hata” viewpoint? This is a tired argument. In fact, I’m going to take a nap till game time.

  34. DMZ on May 30th, 2005 4:49 pm

    This site has an editor?

  35. tarp on May 30th, 2005 4:51 pm

    [edit, steroid speculation — when are people going to realize that doesn’t fly at USSM?]

  36. JeffS on May 30th, 2005 4:58 pm

    Evan — DMZ needs to dig deeper. Maybe Reed is getting his hits on pitches that need to be pulled?

    Jim — I understand what you are saying but such a post by DMZ is a premature attack on Reed. I believe this is his first hot streak so let’s see where it goes. Let’s say in two weeks if Reed is hitting like he has over the course of the season then it would sense to say — wait a second, the reason for his slump is he is continuing to pull the ball but now the hits are resulting in outs. This would be great and helpful analysis, but as of now DMZ just seems a bit premature in his criticism.

  37. Jeff on May 30th, 2005 5:02 pm

    Attack on Reed? DMZ and I both picked Reed to win the Rookie of the Year award. Obviously, we like the guy, root for him and think he’s going to be successful.

    I swear, we could hire Hello Kitty or Blinky the Very Nice Dog to write for the site and they’d get tarred with being “overly negative.”

  38. Evan on May 30th, 2005 5:04 pm

    If that’s true, then Derek was right. If Reed only gets hits on pitches that need to be pulled, then pitchers will just stop throwing him those pitches.

    We don’t know that, either. Occam’s Razor is your friend.

    Incidentally, why is it Occam’s Razor when the dude in question was William of Ockham? Totally different spelling.

  39. Jeff on May 30th, 2005 5:10 pm

    Evan, there wasn’t much in the way of standardized spelling in Europe of that era. You still see it spelled both ways.

  40. John in L.A. on May 30th, 2005 5:11 pm

    Leaving alone the odd characterization of this entry as an “attack”…

    Why on earth would it be premature? We can only look at the “hot streak” for evaluation?


  41. David J Corcoran on May 30th, 2005 5:13 pm
  42. Kelly Gaffney on May 30th, 2005 5:26 pm

    Perhaps this is implicit in DMZ’s comment, but I also had noticed that Reed’s trend to pull the ball in 05 is in direct contrast be his trend last September. Perhaps the increased hitting to right field reflects a change in the pitching patterns he is seeing this year versus last. He did do quite well in September, so a new approach was probably warranted. Just a thought with no observations to support or refute it.

  43. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 5:36 pm

    “I feel a lot better,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t know if I can play because I haven’t tried to do anything baseball related.”

    Now we know where that laziest-man-in-baseball rep comes from ….