One way or another

June 28, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 97 Comments 

Bavasi, via

“We feel better about this club than last year’s club,” Bavasi said. “The way we look at it, we don’t have to make those kinds of decisions until after the All-Star break. We’re not ready yet to say we’re going to trade veterans for kids in the classic give-up style.

“But neither are we at the point of trading for veterans in the classic contender style. The so-called ‘rent-a-player’ idea doesn’t scare us, but I don’t think we would want to trade for someone with a bad contract.”

Fair enough, and in other discussions I’ve tried to make this point: if the team has to pay all of a veteran’s salary (say, Boone) to trade them for a gumdrop, they may be better off keeping the player and letting them finish off the season.

That being said, Bavasi predicted the Mariners would be active “one way or another” as the trading deadline approaches. A lot can happen in the next three weeks, especially with so many games (10) against American League West opponents heading into the three-day All-Star break.

A hot streak could catapult the Mariners into the Angels’ rear-view mirror. A cold snap could bury them in the lower echelon of the division.

We’ve discussed this before, but no hot streak gets this team into contention. They’re over ten games out at this point. Historically, teams that are over ten games out this late in the season don’t come back. It’s possible but extremely unlikely.

This article’s general point, that Seattle’s looking at the pot and wondering, is backed up elsewhere.

In the PI:

The Mariners are said to be considering offers on three players: second baseman Bret Boone, left-handed pitcher Jamie Moyer, and outfielder Randy Winn.

It’s interesting Guardado’s not mentioned here, though we’ve noted that they refused to consider trading him last year and consider having a closer an important part of their .450 team.

A baseball executive whose club spoke with the Mariners recently was told Seattle was in a “holding pattern.”

“If they continue to lose, they’ll probably move some players,” the executive said.

That seems to be the perception of the executive more than anything Bavasi’s said, in the same way the article is. Much of the speculation about what’s in the front office’s head is unsupported by even their statements.

They may be doing what they did last year at this time, and playing hard-to-get. There was a time they weren’t going to trade Freddy Garcia. They could be working the phones, or waiting for the last round of suitors to come knocking again.

They could be bored. They may figure that given the choice between dumping a veteran (and eating a lot of their salary) to pick up a AAA guy they’re going to release this off-season and having that veteran finish out the year, they might as well have the veteran around.

They might be twiddling their thumbs.

We can reasonably expect they’re not punting on next year. As the Yankees, and Red Sox, and other contending teams have trouble getting other teams to cough up players that might help them, it’s unlikely the Mariners are going to go out and trade off their middle infielder crop for rent-a-players.

At some point though, we should worry about Bavasi weighing self-interest against the long term interests of the team. We’ve seen it happen in other teams: if he doesn’t feel like he’ll be around for the next really good Mariner team unless they get to .500 in 2006, there’s a lot of damage that can be done in a one-year quest to guarantee contention.

Doyle’s recent abscence

June 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 57 Comments 

Doyle’s sat out a couple of Tacoma Rainiers games, prompting speculation that he’s hurt. No big deal, he’s got a stiff neck, should be back soon. I attribute this directly to many commenters here using another name for this fine young man, and pledge to take this as the cosmic warning it was clearly intended to be.

Boone or Moyer could be Padre-bound

June 27, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 160 Comments 

We’ve been discussing in the comments how the talk of the post-game show was about a potential trade of Bret Boone to the Padres. Shannon Drayer and others said the stadium was abuzz with the rumor, and Bob Finnigan adds to that chorus.

Smoke being a common indicator of fire, it seems there’s at least something to this. Also, there have been multiple trades between the two clubs in the recent past, including the casting off of unwanted players.

The word from Finnigan is that the Boone talks “had gotten off track at some point before yesterday’s game.” A less likely scenario would be a deal for Jamie Moyer.

No word on what the Padres would be giving up, and I wouldn’t get my hopes up. The cupboard is thin.

Added by Dave: Most rumors have the deal being a variation of Boone for RHP Justin Germano, an overachieving control artist. Think Cha Baek with a curve ball.

The Attrition War, Mets

June 27, 2005 · Filed Under General baseball · 2 Comments 

Part of a continuing series, follow-ups to the initial post detailing the Mariners history over the same period.

Do the Mariners, in comparison to other teams, suffer a higher rate of injury to their pitching prospects than other teams? Here, I look at the Mets.

Read more

Game 74, Mariners at Padres

June 26, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 102 Comments 

Joel Pineiro vs. Woody Williams, 1:05 p.m, as the M’s try to fight their way out of the gutter. TV: 11. Radio: 1000.

Ichiro gets the day off today, his first of the season. Apparently this is a Hargrove decision — since the team has the day off tomorrow, he’ll get two days of rest.

Ichiro is second on the team in batting average against Williams, going 4-7. Who’s first? Jamie Moyer, who in two plate appearances has a walk and a single. Bret Boone is a robust 0-11.

Maybe they’ll pinch-hit Moyer for Boone late in the game.

Game 73, Mariners at Padres

June 25, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 151 Comments 

Wow, 1:10… didn’t see that coming. Televised on (metallic whiiiirrrr— pow!) Fox!

RHP Sele v RHP Peavy.

A couple of points from last night’s game — that Sexson double-play ball, Beltre totally dogged it on his way to second, only starting to hustle when the ball was dropped, running way out to the outfield side of the baseline, not sliding at all. Is he trying to save his hamstrings?

Then, it didn’t matter if he took the guy out or not, though it’d have been nice if he’d run hard and been safe, because Sexson was out by half a mile, a ridiculous distance. He didn’t run at all. And at that point in the game, they weren’t up a thousand to four.

Using cool-o-matic statistical probability only:
Chances that Morse is a .300 hitter but hit .260 in his many minor league at-bats: 20 deviations from the mean, ~0.005%
Chances that Morse is a .400 hitter but hit .260 in his many minor league at-bats: zippo
Chances that Morse is a .260 hitter having a crazy hot streak: ~0.4%

While it’s unlikely that this is a crazy hot streak, it’s about eighty times more likely that’s the case.

A more likely scenario (Morse, being fairly old, is a little better than his minor league career numbers) gets the “hot streak” probability up to like 1, 2% depending on what you set the stats at.

Boy, I wish I’d saved this for a PI article now. Hey, wait — nobody mention this to anyone, and I’ll write it up anyway next week.

Secret Revealed

June 25, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 24 Comments 

Nobody has generated as much talk on the blog lately as one Michael Morse, who is something like 142 for his last 50, and is leading the league in every major category known to man. Okay, slight exaggeration, but the guy’s been on fire ever since the M’s called him up, and people are climbing all over each other to get on the Mike Morse bandwagon.

Well, this morning, the secret of Mike Morse’s hitting abilities was faxed over to USSM headquarters. After confirming its legitimacy with three sources, I’ve decided to publish the document that reveals why Mike Morse has been able to keep his Ted Williams impression going for several weeks.

Remember, this is a USSM exclusive:

Dear Willie Mike,

Thank you for contacting Satan Enterprises LLC. We have reviewed your file and feel that you are a perfect fit for our newest promotion. As a recent graduate of the minor leagues with a less than stellar performance record, it appears that you could use a hand–or perhaps, a spirit–in making your dream of becoming the next Alex Rodriguez come true. After all, by the time he was your age, he had 120 major league home runs and had been a three time all-star. You, not so much. But we feel that you’ve got things we can work with; you’re tall, you are from Florida, and you play shortstop. Well, that’s what the program says, anyways. With a little help from the Dark One, we feel you could become something special.

Sound exciting? This offer is tailor made just for you. If you respond in the next 24 hours, we’ll even slash our price in half. That’s right, you can become a major league superstar for the low, low, low price of one soul-and yes, it has to be yours-and a 2 year agreement to conduct rituals (that are described in the attached pamphlet) on a weekly basis. That’s it! You want to become M-Mor? We will make it happen, and really, you won’t miss your soul at all. It just gets in the way of superstardom anyways.

We look forward to hearing from you. You can call Hades at 1-900-Go-Satan twenty-four hours a day. Or, if you’d prefer, simply fill out the form below and place it under your pillow this evening. We’ll send a representative-and please, don’t refer to them as ghouls, as they have feelings too-to pick it up and save you the cost of a stamp.

All the best,


[ ] Yes, I want to hear more. Please send me an informational video.
[ ] No thanks, I’m happy with my mediocre baseball skills. I’ll be a role player and like it.
[X] I want to be a superstar! I’ve already built my altar and want to sign up.

Michael Morse (sign here)

Game 72, Mariners at Padres

June 24, 2005 · Filed Under Game Threads · 143 Comments 

RHP Meche v LHP Darrell May.

What a pitching duel this is going to be. I’m going to make a prediction: scoring four runs will not win this game.

Sexson suspended

June 24, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 17 Comments 

Two games, plus a fine (“undisclosed amount”) for “inappropriate actions in the bottom of the first inning during his club’s game against the New York Mets on Saturday, June 18, 2005 at Seattle’s Safeco Field.”

He’s out tonight and tomorrow unless he appeals (and really, why bother appealing? It’s not like the Padres are a division rival and the Devil Rays are coming to town next week).

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now. Spiezio would be the obvious choice, but unless he’s suddenly activated, it’s more likely to be Hansen, but also Hargrove might use Bloomquist or Ibanez (because he likes to play the field, as you remember).

Week #13 in Review

June 24, 2005 · Filed Under Mariners · 22 Comments 

So that battle for the basement really didn’t turn out so well, eh. Despite stomach-punching those Athletics. Let’s play the Mets some more. Yeah, let’s play the Mets. And Pedro!

Vital Signs
On this Friday we find the Mariners 32-39. Still in third place. Barely. Three losses to the A’s means the Mariners are now a fraction of a game from last place. Despite winning four games, the Mariners dropped another pair of games in the standings, now 10.5 back of the Angels. Seems the Halos decided to lose only one game this week. According to Baseball Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the M’s are underperforming by a game and a half, and should really be in last place.

300 runs. It sounds like a lot. But it really isn’t. For the Mariners, it really sounds like a lot. The Mariners are one of three major league clubs yet to crack the 300-run barrier. They are the only one of those clubs handicapped with a designated hitter. Shameful, I say.

After a rather embarrassing series against the likewise run-deficient Athletics, the Mariners are now last in the American league in runs scored with 294. As a team, they are batting .256/.316/.380, compared to the league average of .266/.329/.419 — below average across the board. Their OBP ranks 13th in the league (squeaking past the Indians) and their SLG also ranks 13th (just above Oakland). They have hit 49 home runs, which ranks last in the league, tied with Oakland. They’ve drawn 199 bases on balls, 9th in the league, tied with the Orioles. Their .254 EqA ranks 27th in all of baseball, sandwiched between Atlanta, Arizona and Oakland.

The defense has allowed 311 runs, which makes them the 7th best team in the American League at keeping runs off the board. The gloves are turning 71.3% of balls in play into outs, which is the 2nd best rate in all of baseball. The overall the pitching staff ERA continues to shrink, now at 4.19. The starters are allowing 4.66 runs per nine innnings, while the relievers are at 3.22.

What goes up (a sweep of the National League New Yorkers) must come down (dropping 3 of 4 to lowly Oakland). In going 4-3, the Mariners outscored their opponents by four runs, 29-25. That they did so is pretty incredible when you consider the numbers. They allowed more total bases 102-83, more walks 27-13 and more home runs 5-3. Few things went right for the offense. The guy who led the team in total bases (Richie Sexson 12) only reached base 7 times all week. Ichiro! led the team in RBI. [dramatic pause] No knock on the great Ichiro!, but when he’s driving in all the runs, something just ain’t right with the offense.

In a ray of sunshine, Adrian Beltre hit .368/.478/.474. You’ll note the on-base is higher than the slugging. That’s in part to the fact that Mr. Beltre walked 4 times. [dramatic pause] This is a very good thing, as Mr. Beltre had only walked 9 times prior to that all season. He further contributed a pair of doubles.

In 15 innings over 2 starts, Jamie Moyer allowed just 3 earned runs. However, he did walk more batters than he struck out, 4:3.

Not-so-much Heroes
Okay so its only be 2 games since returning from Don Baylor Jedi training school, but Bret Boone still stinks. In the last seven days, he has gone 1-for-11.

The Catfish may have been suckerpunched on Wednesday, but call it revenge for Monday. So Jeff Nelson enters a 3-2 game with two outs. His mission? Retire Mark Ellis of the .323 OBP against right-handed pitching. Ellis squibbles an infield single. Jason Kendall takes his .332 OBP against righties like Nelson and draws himself a walk. Mark Kotsay then proceeds to take his .389 SLG against right-handers and smacks a homer. Now 6-3 A’s. Nelson retired just one of four batters he faced and those three he failed to retire all scored.

Coming to a stadium near you
Get ready. Can you feel it? The tension is so palpable. The heated rivalry continues this weekend… Mariners versus Padres!

What? You say you don’t? I’m sorry, I don’t either.

San Diego remains the top of the NL West, despite a 7-14 June. After coming off a string of four straight wins (in which they allowed a total of 4 runs), they’ve dropped their last two games.

Monday then begins a three-game set with those pesky Athletics again. The Battle for the Basement continues.

Jake Peavy + Petco Field = I don’t expect the Mariners to cross 300 runs until after the weekend.

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