Week #12 in Review

peter · June 17, 2005 at 5:31 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Vital Signs
On this Friday we find the Mariners 28-36. Still in third place. Slipping another game back of the Angels. The gap is now 8.5 games. According to Baseball Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the M’s are underperforming by about three games, which means the M’s really aren’t that far from being a .500 team at this point.

Not at all a good week on the run-scoring front. The offense is now solidly last in the league in scoring runs, with a walloping 265, which is roughly how many the Rangers score each homestand. The Mariners have hit 46 home runs, 13th in the league, and much closer to last place Oakland than next up Tampa Bay. Their 186 walks rank 6th in the league. However, to offer some perspective, they are closer to last place than 3rd place. As a team, they are hitting .254/.316/.384 compared to the league average of .265/.328/.417. They are 13th in the American League in OBP and 13th in SLG. Their .257 EqA ranks 23rd in all of baseball, tied with Arizona.

This is most definitely not a recipe for a successful club. The salty, lemon juice on the gaping wound? The 2004 Mariners scored 4.3 runs per game. The 2005 Mariners are scoring 4.1 runs per game.

The defense has allowed 286 runs, which makes them the 7th best team in the American League at keeping runs off the board. The gloves are turning 71.4% of balls in play into outs, which is the 2nd best rate in all of baseball. Overall, the pitching staff continues to trim some tenths off the ol’ ERA, cutting it down to 4.29. The starters again improved and are now hovering the league average mark at 4.79. The bullpen arms are still a strength with a 3.27 ERA.

I was really hoping for a win last night, for more than the obvious reasons. It would have been the Mariners’ first season sweep of the year, and coming on the heels of the Nationals’ sweep would have been a good angle. As it is, a 2-4 week just isn’t that interesting to talk about. The good news was the pitching had a 2.95 ERA. But to allow less than 3 runs a game and win only 2 of 6 is an embarrassment to the offense. The Mariners were unbelievably outscored 19-16 by the Nationals and Phillies, despite the fact that they out-homered their opponents 6-1. It does to help to have runners on board to score those runs. The Mariners surrendered more base-on-balls than they took 25-19.


Michael Morse is still smoking hot. And I don’t mean that in a a junior high fangirl sense. He was 11-for-21 (.524/.560/.714), leading the team in hits (11), total bases (15) and RBI (4). Maybe that’s not saying much, but four starters logged an OPS under .600 for the week. Blech.

Maybe we should just credit the defense, because it’s the gloves that are making the pitchers look so amazing. Joel Pineiro pitched 13 innings in two starts and allowed just 3 earned runs on 13 hits and a walk. The red flag is–and this is where the defense comes in–he struck out only 2.

Not-so-much Heroes
Bret Boone just stinks right now. He had a week of 2-for-19 (.105/.227/.158). He struck out in a third of his at-bats.

The one breakdown of the pitching staff came Friday night when Shigetoshi Hasegawa completely melted down and added a pair of runs to his ERA in a mere 25 pitches. He entered a 3-3 game in the eighth inning. The next time the Mariners came to bat, they were staring at a 9-3 deficit. The only out he recorded was a sacrifice bunt. He non-intentionally walked a pair and allowed a trio of singles. To his credit, it was Matt Thornton who walked in a pair of those runs, but it was Shiggy’s inability to retire them that put them on base to begin with.

Coming to a stadium near you
This coming week the Mariners forego the day-off and play three with the New York Mets before playing host to the Oakland A’s in four. Just when you thought Pedro Martinez moving to the National League would automatically grant the Mariners an extra win in the standings, here they go playing the Mets in interleague. The Mets are 6 games back and last in the NL East despite playing .500 ball. As a friend of mine put it, “Take the AL All-Star squad, call them the Mets and they would be a .500 team.” They are 10th in the NL in runs scored and 7th in runs against.

There once was a day when a series between Oakland and Seattle meant something. It still means something. Just not something important. The A’s are 12th in the AL in runs scored and 9th in runs against.


25 Responses to “Week #12 in Review”

  1. Jon Wells on June 17th, 2005 12:19 pm

    Actually it wouldn’t have been the first sweep of the year. The M’s swept the Royals in KC in early April.

  2. duder on June 17th, 2005 12:24 pm

    ki think he was talking about the season series. we play the royals again this year.

  3. Daaaaan on June 17th, 2005 12:42 pm

    “The mets: where talent goes to die”

  4. eponymous coward on June 17th, 2005 12:51 pm

    The 2004 Mariners scored 4.3 runs per game. The 2005 Mariners are scoring 4.1 runs per game.

    Well, THAT’s pretty simple to figure out. Ichiro’s considerably worse than last year, Boone’s also worse, SS (up until Morse) was a black hole, C and the bench are still black holes, Beltre’s doing his best Spiezio/Cirillo impersonation, and we lost offense so far going from Edgar at DH to Reed in CF. The only position we’re better at is 1B…and even that’s marginal because we had a month and a half of Bucky last year.

    BTW- our ERA in June of 2004? 3.67. Our record that month? 12-14. The more things change…

  5. Jim Osmer on June 17th, 2005 1:33 pm

    If/when Jose Lopez replaces Boone, how much of a lift do you think that would be? If Morse continues to hit, you have to keep him out there even though he is a below average shortstop.

    It almost seems like Lopez as SS, Morse at 2B would be better defensively.

    Odd that we out homered Philly 5-0 with no homers from Beltre/Sexson/Boone. Not sure how Doyle projects power-wise. Most of his homers this year were in the high air of Colorado Springs and Albuquerque. Would Doyle in the lineup over Winn buy us much (I think it would, if only attitude wise).
    Assuming Wiki/Reese/Spiezio are healthly in the next few weeks, what will they do with roster moves?

  6. Evan on June 17th, 2005 1:51 pm

    Looking at the team’s stats, I keep thinking Winn’s doing okay. Ignoring the rotating pile of meat at catcher, he’s our fourth best hitter by EqA (behind Ibanez, Sexson, and Morse).

    That said, our team can’t hit, so measuring him against the M’s probably isn’t the way to go.

    But then, compared the other LF guys in the AL, he’s still fourth (behind Kevin Mench, Garret Anderson, and Manny). But wait – those guys aren’t doing that well either. By VORP, LF is easily the weakest position in the AL right now.

    But he’s still one of our most tradeable commodities.

  7. Ralph Malph on June 17th, 2005 2:38 pm

    They have to trade an OF to get Doyle in the lineup. Whichever one you can get a better deal for, Winn or Ibanez. Which means Winn most likely.

    The only problem with that right now is that it would leave Bloomquist as the backup CF, unless you can convince Ichiro to do it. Which the way he’s hitting seems like a bad idea.

    I wouldn’t worry about getting Spiezio on the roster, since Will Carroll is reporting he may never play for the M’s again.

    It would be great if they could trade Boone, even if they have to cover part of his remaining salary. Pokey could play 2B if they can. Morse has to stay in the lineup.

  8. slooz on June 17th, 2005 2:41 pm

    Spiezio not playing for the M’s again? I have not heard this, based on health or something else? Not that it would be a huge loss, but that’s a lot of cash to flush down the toilet…

  9. Scott S on June 17th, 2005 3:05 pm

    Flush, I say, flush!

  10. Jim on June 17th, 2005 3:14 pm

    Re: #3, Aren’t the Mets celebrating the 19th anniversary of the magical 1986 campaign?
    Talent doesn’t die there, it simply reinforces every Sabermetricians understanding of skills declining with age. It would be very sad for baseball if Carlos Beltran fell in line with that curve.

  11. Mords on June 17th, 2005 3:21 pm

    The significant 19th anniv?

  12. Evan on June 17th, 2005 3:24 pm

    From Will’s column on Thursday:

    “Scott Spiezio is listed as out “indefinitely” after a back injury during his rehab. Some think he’ll never play for the M’s again.”

  13. Paul Molitor Cocktail on June 17th, 2005 3:42 pm

    It’s easy to find BAA for pitchers. Can one find Slugging Average Against?

  14. Paul Molitor Cocktail on June 17th, 2005 3:44 pm

    And I’d never want to imply that Spiezio is “hurt” so the Ms can collect the insurance money.

  15. Evan on June 17th, 2005 3:52 pm

    Nah – just say it outright.

    Anyway, I deny the existence of implication.

  16. David J Corcoran on June 17th, 2005 4:18 pm

    Dobbs down, Jose Lopez up, Lopez starting at 3rd tonight.

  17. Steve on June 17th, 2005 4:20 pm

    #8: Isn’t the cash already flushed? He’s going to get paid no matter whether he plays or not, so the money’s gone. The obligation is a sunk cost.

    The only question is whether there is a better alternative available. If you cut Spiezio and bring up a minor leaguer, the only difference in cash outlay is the pro-rated salary major league minimum salary for the callup.

    And if someone else picks up Spiezio, they pay him the minimum and the transaction becomes a wash.

  18. Chris Caldwell on June 17th, 2005 4:34 pm

    Speaking of D, that 2-3-1 double play was pretty flippin’ awesome.

  19. Will on June 17th, 2005 4:35 pm

    Would someone please explain the difference between being optioned and designated for assignment? Would appreciate it. Thanks.

  20. Steve on June 17th, 2005 5:05 pm

    When a player is added to the 25-man roster he begins accumulating service time and enters his option years. When a player is in an option year, he can be taken off of the 25-man roster (but not the 40-man roster) as many times as you would like during that year without going through waivers.

    After he accumulates service time on the 25-man roster (I believe it’s three years) he no longer has options. Then, if you remove him from the 25-man roster, you have to put him through waivers. When a guy without options is removed from the 25-man roster he is either designated for assignment (meaning the team has 10 days to trade him, release him, or assign him to a minor league roster (after clearing waivers) or put on waivers immediately, then given an outright release if no team puts in a claim.

  21. Will on June 17th, 2005 5:20 pm

    Thanks, Steve. So young guys generally get optioned and sent down for more seasoning or training whatever, or to make room for a better player, and a guy like Olerud gets DFA’d, simply to make room for a better player? Thanks again.

  22. Steve on June 17th, 2005 5:35 pm

    #21: There are a lot of nuances I skipped over, and sometimes the rules get pretty arcane; quite a few people were surprised a couple of years ago to find out that Meche still had an option year.

    But you’re correct that only younger players will have option years. It’s part of the general career progression a player goes through. His first couple of years he doesn’t have any rights – the team can pay him whatever they like (almost always the major league minimum) and they can bounce him between the majors and minors as much as the like (except that after being sent down, he can’t be recalled for ten days). As he gains service time, he becomes eligible for arbitration and is guaranteed a place on the big league roster if the team wants to hold him. Then after six years he can become a free agent if he wishes and he can’t be sent down to the minors without his permission.

    Older guys are never DFA’d, they’re released. DFA doesn’t apply to a vet because a team doesn’t have the right to assign his contract to a minor league team. If a vet wants to stay with the team after being cut, he is released, becomes a free agent, then signs a minor league contract as a free agent. At that point, he is generally not on either the 40-man roster or the 25-man roster. If he is later called up, he has to be added to both the 25-man and 40-man rosters. He retains all of his prior service time (i.e., he does not acquire a new set of option years and is eligible for arbitration), and can’t be removed from the 25-man without making him a free agent again.

  23. BB on June 17th, 2005 10:35 pm

    “The 2004 Mariners scored 4.3 runs per game. The 2005 Mariners are scoring 4.1 runs per game.”

    What about the rest of the league? Isn’t scoring down across the board. Have we dropped more or less than league average?

  24. LB on June 17th, 2005 11:10 pm

    Older players certainly can be DFA’d; it happened to John Olerud last year. (See http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=caple_jim&id=1841213) It allows management a short time to try to cook up a trade for the older player before swallowing the bitter pill and releasing him outright.

    Olerud had a no-trade clause and was adamant that he would only go someplace where his kid could shag fly balls in the outfield before games, a wish Bavasi was unable to accommodate. So all of the trade possibilities fell through, and Olerud was released and continued to collect his paychecks from the Mariners, at which point the Yankees came calling and snagged Olerud for the MLB minimum wage. Whether Olerud’s kid got to shag flyballs on the M’s payroll or not is a detail I’ve not been able to pin down.

  25. Steve on June 18th, 2005 12:45 am

    #24: thanks for the correction. So I guess that any time you’re clearing a guy off the roster who doesn’t have any option years, you can either outright him or DFA him.