Olivo down, Rivera up

Jeff · May 30, 2005 at 5:21 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Miguel Olivo has been sent to AAA Tacoma. Rene Rivera will replace him on the roster. Though this was rumored, I’m still somewhat surprised, since you have to anticipate that Rivera will effectively become the everyday catcher. Unless another move to acquire a more experienced catcher is in the offing …

Quoth Bill Bavasi: “We have, in no way, given up on Miguel.” Let me think of a positive spin to this news: Now Olivo can work on his chemistry, pitch-calling and developing “veteran leadership” in tandem with King Felix.


29 Responses to “Olivo down, Rivera up”

  1. David J Corcoran on May 30th, 2005 5:24 pm

    I would presume Borders is the everyday catcher. Tribnet says we’re getting another backup.

  2. Jeff on May 30th, 2005 5:31 pm

    Peter and I are just discussing this right now. Either option blows, frankly. But I say this: Rivera needs at bats, or else you’re poisoning his development. Borders’ age makes the day-to-day pounding troubling. If Rivera gets less than half of the playing time, it would be better to sign a cheap veteran rather than let him rot on the bench.

    Or maybe this Tacoma stay for Olivo has a definitive shelf life to it. We shall see.

  3. JeffS on May 30th, 2005 5:35 pm

    I wonder if this means the M’s are negotiating with Benito Santiago?

    Regardless this was a tough move to make and I can’t help but think how Olivio is going to take this.

  4. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 5:37 pm

    The Associated Press version:

    SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners optioned struggling catcher Miguel Olivo to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday, and called up catcher Rene Rivera from Double-A San Antonio.
    The 26-year-old Olivo, obtained last summer in a trade that sent right-hander Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox, was hitting .145 this season with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 37 games.
    “It’s a move that’s been made to get Miguel back to even, at the very least,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. “We felt we couldn’t give him the at-bats he needed to get his game at a consistent level.”
    Olivo wasn’t at his locker in Seattle’s clubhouse, but his packed bags were.
    The move makes 42-year-old Pat Borders, obtained 10 days ago in a cash trade with Milwaukee, into Seattle’s top catcher. The former World Series MVP is hitting .231 with one homer and two RBIs in four games.
    “Pat will catch every three out of four days to start with, maybe more and maybe less,” Hargrove said.
    Hargrove said Rivera, hitting .292 with two homers and 11 RBIs in San Antonio, will start Tuesday night against Toronto.
    The Mariners don’t have longtime catcher Dan Wilson, who tore a knee ligament and is out for the season. Wiki Gonzalez is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, and Hargrove doesn’t think he can play within a week.
    “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.”
    Hargrove expressed concern that Olivo’s troubles at the plate were beginning to distract him from his catching, and general manager Bill Bavasi said the plan is to give him plenty of at-bats in the minors.
    “He’ll tell you his confidence is fine, but I don’t know of too many people hitting .140 for two months and their confidence would be fine,” Hargrove said. “We all think Miguel is a good player. We’ve got to get him back.”

  5. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 5:39 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 ….

  6. peter on May 30th, 2005 5:39 pm

    So we get to pick between the 42-year-old with roughly 150 AB over the last 5 years or the 21-year-old with 3 major league at bats who was hitting .292/.320/.400 in the Texas League.

    This sucks.

  7. Trent on May 30th, 2005 5:41 pm

    I was talking with some friends this morning (when it was purely speculation) about this as well. Asking Borders to assume the role of an everyday back stop might be asking too much of a 42 year old catcher. He has called some good games since coming back, but what happens if he is to get injured?

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I’m going to assume we will be seeing another catcher in Seattle by the end of the Toronto series.

  8. Jim Osmer on May 30th, 2005 5:43 pm

    I would like to see Rivera play a game or two before we are sure he is not ready. A week with Borders could be a good learning experience and maybe he heads back to AA with a better idea of how to handle a staff.
    Chris Widger is hitting around .350 for the WhiteSox. It’s a weird world.

  9. Dash on May 30th, 2005 5:45 pm

    #5. Speaking as someone who has experienced hamstring problems, you do not want to do anythinng except for maybe stretching out your hamstring until it starts to feel close to 100% again. Hammy’s are really easy to retweek.

  10. Jeff on May 30th, 2005 5:46 pm

    When I think of Wiki, I think of that Simpsons episode where Marge (figuratively) neuters Itchy and Scratchy, and Krusty the Clown is going to fire the guy in charge. But he gives him one more chance. Why?

    “I’m a lazy, lazy man,” says Krusty as he lights a cigar.

  11. Trent on May 30th, 2005 5:50 pm

    Heh, have to dig the Simpson references.

    But seriously though, why work hard when you can take it easy and still make close to $3 million? If you know another job where this is the case, let me know so I can submit my resume and cover letter.

  12. Jim Thomsen on May 30th, 2005 5:59 pm

    If I were the father of a young boy, I would groom him to be an NFL punter. I’d work with him afternoons and evenings on every nuance of pooch-kicking, coffin-cornering, hang-timing and inside-5-downing. He’d do leg-strengthening, muscle-stretching exercises on a regular regimen. He’d still get to have friends, some semblance of a normal life and all the McDonalds Happy Meals he wants. By the time he gets to high school, he’ll be so far ahead of the other kids in strength and technique that he’ll be a sure thing to be recruited at the Division 1 level. He goes to college, continues building on his advantage, and goes on to a nine-year NFL career. We split the money, and he’s free at age 30 to take his time to do whatever it is he really wants to do.

  13. Jesse Scott on May 30th, 2005 6:05 pm

    “…and all the McDonalds Happy Meals he wants…”

    Sounds more like you’d be training an offensive lineman… 🙂

  14. Todd on May 30th, 2005 6:46 pm

    I do not get to see a lot of Ranier games, and I only check lookoutlanding for results and player performance, but could Christianson not “back-up” Borders until Lazy Wiki returns? His bat would be much better than Rivera’s, and probably Borders’s. And if Borders is catching 3 out of every 4 games, then no one should worry about working Christianson too much behind the plate after his injury history.

  15. Jim Osmer on May 30th, 2005 6:56 pm

    Christianson is not on the 40 man roster so they would have to move someone off to bring him up. That is why it is Rivera. Also Rivera is a good catcher now but may not hit enough to ever do much in the majors. Christianson looks like Matt LeCroy and still has trouble throwing.
    Likely they will have to do this anyway (make room on the 40 man roster) if they sign another veteran.

  16. Steve on May 30th, 2005 6:59 pm

    #14: Christianson has not played catcher hardly at all since 2001, when he was 21 years old. Even then, had struggled offensively in AA ball, and his catching skills reportedly left much to be desired. He is far, far from being a MLB catcher.

    Bringing up Rivera is strictly an stopgap until another solution is accomplished. If Christianson were any kind of feasible alternative, the Mariners would have brought him up instead of Rivera.

  17. Jim Osmer on May 30th, 2005 7:14 pm

    So what is the scouting report on Rob Johnson (catcher at low A ball who had two homers today)? He’s hitting well but a little old (same age as Rivera) to be playing at Wisconsin. Is he likely to move quickly in the system? Is he likely to stick as a catcher in general?

  18. world series on May 30th, 2005 7:18 pm

    Homerun the other day and great guy aside, Borders will settle in to hitting somewhere between what Valdez and Olivo were doing (anemic). Also, the manager claims that Borders will start games that Moyer and Sele start. Aren’t they the most veteran pitchers on the team?Okay, I guess Baek, Felix, Campillo, and Madtrisch aren’t pitching here yet but? It’s so confusing…. what they say and what they do (or don’t do). Remember when they told Valdez (and Olivo for that matter) to not worry about hitting – that he would be fit just fine if he played defense? I guess he took that to heart. And then the solution for more offense is Bloomquist? These baby steps are killing me. What do we have to lose? Have some tryouts like last year – but now, not next week or next month. Last year we found from the call ups who could play. Nageotte – no. Blackley – no. Madritsch – yes. Leone – ? Jacobsen – yes. Lopez – probably. etc……If we want to compete next year or this, bring some guys up.

  19. G-Man on May 30th, 2005 7:21 pm

    “But seriously though, why work hard when you can take it easy and still make close to $3 million?”

    When it is your contract year, which it is for Wiki. The sweet deal that the Pads foolishly signed him to is up, and the opportunity to show that he deserves to be a major league catcher is here and now. I assume that the trainers told him to take it easy.

    I hope that they don’t do something rash to create a spot on the 40-man for another veteran catcher. I would think that either Wiki or Miguel could be back on the 25-man in a month. I’m intersted in seeing what Rivera can do over several games.

  20. G-Man on May 30th, 2005 7:22 pm

    And I’d groom my son to be a deep snapper.

  21. John in L.A. on May 30th, 2005 7:58 pm

    Yay! We got Good Moyer today.

    I still cannot look at our line-up wihtout shaking my head that WFB is a starter on a major league roster.

    Borders, too, but why that is happening is much more understandable.

    If dropping Olivo was our “big shake-up”…. then color me disappointed.

    Make some trades, Bavasi, and start letting the kids play.

  22. John in L.A. on May 30th, 2005 8:03 pm

    Nice, Richie! And you, Raul!

  23. John in L.A. on May 30th, 2005 8:09 pm

    This is fun. We don’t get enough innings like this anymore. I like it. Like nice sustained drives in football.

    (I really appreciate y’all making me my own game thread and all, but I think I’ll quit talking to myself now.

  24. Bodhizefa on May 30th, 2005 9:37 pm

    Can we please trade for Kelly Shoppach? I don’t know how, but please make this happen, Bavasi.

  25. bagchucker on May 30th, 2005 10:05 pm

    Olivo can’t catch. He has no skills behind the plate. The purported cannon carries no weight when he can’t catch and can’t call. He has hands of stone.

    Olivo needs a year in AAA to learn to play right field, where the cannon might amount to something. He has no other position, unless it’s DH.

    The White Sox fleeced us.

  26. Craig W. on May 30th, 2005 10:30 pm

    The punting thing has promise, but just be careful you don’t end up like Bryan Barker. Oh sure, you get to go to UC Santa Barbara, or some place sexy like that. And you may even be an above-average punter. However, you’ll end up getting your nose practically ripped off of your face on a Turkey-Day game on national television. That’s one punter who won’t do any glamour modelling.

    Seriously, it was gruesome to see that on TV. I think it was 3 years ago, he was playing for the Redskins against the Cowboys, and got a punt blocked. He had one of those little one-bar face masks, and someone fell on him, and just obliterated his nose. The camera focused in on him as he was staggering off the field, and there was blood everywhere, and nostrils pointing every which way.

    Maybe being a placekicker would be better, and you could just be a kickoff specialist. They are expected to be the last guy down the field anyway… very little chance of violent physical contact.

  27. Bodhizefa on May 30th, 2005 11:39 pm

    Does anyone really think that a Brian McCann or Kelly Shoppach deal could be possible for us? Both the Braves and Red Sox could use a guy like Guardado. I’d prefer Shoppach, because he’s closer to being ready and also because catching prospects are so fickle (take the one who’s ready to contribute instead of waiting on a guy with more “potential.”) McCann is a bigger project, but could be even better in the longterm. I’d take either over what we’ve got, though.

    And let this be the beginning of my campaign to allow Rafael Soriano a chance to start when he comes back. We need good starters a heckuva lot more than great relievers at this point.

  28. LB on May 31st, 2005 12:26 am

    Kelly Shoppach is effectively blocked from reaching the big leagues in the Boston organization by Jason Varitek (signed through 2008) and Doug Mirabelli (2006). Since he’s 25 years old, Theo’s probably willing to deal him for the right price. Given the way Alan Embree’s pitched lately (2 HR’s in last 4 appearances), I think that Red Sox fans would very much like the look of Everyday Eddie in a Red Sox uniform.

    How would Eddie feel about giving up the closer’s job to setup Keith Foulke?

  29. Jeff on May 31st, 2005 4:46 am

    The P-I lists Shawn Wooten, Greg Myers and Todd Greene as possibilities, and downplays the chances of Benito Santiago.