The Mariners are still in this, or not

DMZ · July 22, 2005 at 9:05 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Finnigan today, in the Times, has a shocking lead:

With six wins in eight games, featuring the impressive sweep in Anaheim, Mariners officials watched the team leave on this trip with hopes of scrambling back into the wild-card race.

(and later)

“I think it would be fair to wait to the end of this trip to make a judgment,” said Pelekoudas.

Reading this article totally ignorant of the team’s fortunes, you might wonder: are they four, five, even six games out? No folks, they are not. They are eleven games back in the wild card race, behind not one, or two, or three, but eight teams, some far, far better than the Mariners (Minnesota, or New York. Heck, Cleveland).

Over at the PI, though, John Hickey is the voice of reason, starting his article in the same way (M’s good then got whupped), but then brings it to the logical conclusion: they’re going to be sellers.

It’s unclear just how much selling the Mariners will do — Randy Winn? Ron Villone? Jamie Moyer? Eddie Guardado? — but it’s overwhelmingly obvious by now that the Mariners won’t be buying.

Seattle simply doesn’t have the need. The club would need to pass eight teams down the stretch to win the wild card, and that’s not happening. The Mariners are 15 games out of first place in the American League West and 11 games behind wild card-leading Minnesota.

Whoop, I just said that. Then there’s this quote from the tradable but still not likely to be traded Guardado:

“This is what we do,” closer Eddie Guardado said. “We’ll play four games great, then we’ll play six or seven like this. That’s no way to play. You’re not going to get anywhere doing this.”

No, it’s not, is it?

Finnigan’s article today is pretty straight: the M’s haven’t given up on the impossible dream. Quotes are included, and Finnigan doesn’t interject much opinion there. Hickey’s article, by contrast, is more analysis with some reporting, and the analysis runs “realistically, come on… I mean come on.”

I’m not sure if the reluctance to toss the first shovelful of dirt on this season’s coffin is a negotiating ploy, false, desperate hope, or what, but the grave was dug a long time ago, the undertaker prepared the season, the funeral’s been held, heck, we’ve even done our mourning. Let’s move on.


29 Responses to “The Mariners are still in this, or not”

  1. David J Corcoran on July 22nd, 2005 9:11 am

    This is the same Finnigan that told us that Koskie was going to be the only signing last off season, and the same one that told us we were still in contention last year, and that Freddy wasn’t going to be traded. I think the Front Office tells him to say stuff like this so that when they do more we are pleasantly surprised. I seriously doubt that Bavasi still thinks we are in the WC race. And he needs to be canned right now if he does.

  2. Joe C. in Buffalo on July 22nd, 2005 9:16 am

    I agree… we need to move on. And as fans, we are impatient. But realistically, does it matter that much? We aren’t likely to get much in trades for anyone we will probably trade. It seems as though Felix will be up with the M’s soon anyway, even if in the bullpen. There aren’t any Garcia’s on this year’s team, and they seemingly won’t trade Eddie, the most valuable chip. So, in my opinion, it won’t improve the club much to trade now rather than later, or even at all, since we just don’t have much to trade. What seems to tbe the most benificial possibility is playing Doyle, Felix, Sherrill, among possibly a few others. This will happen, eventually anyway this season.

    I want to move on as well, but the team has to think about season tickets for next year, and tickets for the remainder of this season. Banking as many wins as possible before trading Winn, Villone, and possibly Eddie seems to be their hope.

  3. Ralph Malph on July 22nd, 2005 9:21 am

    Of course the front office is going to say they haven’t run up the white flag. And of course the players are going to say that (most of them anyway). That doesn’t mean they actually believe it. You can’t sell tickets if you say you’ve given up. And the players, as professionals, have to go out every night and try to win.

    Only Finnegan is gullible enough to actually believe them.

  4. Ralph Malph on July 22nd, 2005 9:26 am

    Oops, Finnigan. Don’t want to start another spelling thread.

  5. roger tang on July 22nd, 2005 9:27 am

    Yeah, I think it’s important to think in a larger context. The season’s lost, but is there any good to announce it to your fan base and team before any moves? What, really, is the downside of maintaining their current posture?

    Too, if the Ms are getting unacceptable offers for their few remaining chips (teams know as well as we do that Eddie has that bum shoulder), then there’s no point to trade just for the sake of trading and there’s no point to announcing the season’s done in public.

  6. furgig on July 22nd, 2005 9:34 am

    It would be pretty lame is the team announced they were giving up on the season, then didn’t find any acceptable deals and didn’t make any moves. The announcement would have been for nothing.

    At least by not officially throwing in the towel they don’t have to backpedal if the claim to throw it in, then don’t.

    Personally, I think the team should be buyers right about now, in some respects. We have a full Major League OF, and a number of OF candidates in AAA that are ML ready, or close enough to it to warrant significant playing time. We should deal out of this…trade for pitching, or a power hitter to play LF. Trading pieces doesn’t have to be about giving up on the season, even if this season isn’t going to end in the playoffs.

    At this point, I’m still giving Bavasi the benefit of the doubt. None of us really thought the team would compete this year; let’s see how he holds up for another season or two, when we’re supposed to be competitive again.

  7. jtopps on July 22nd, 2005 9:35 am

    “the grave was dug a long time ago, the undertaker prepared the season, the funeral’s been held, heck, we’ve even done our mourning. Let’s move on.”

    It still feels like mourning when watching a series like this Toronto one. Maybe its just the crushing of any excitement I had after the Anaheim series and the split with Baltimore. I agree, though, let’s move on. Let’s get some great deals for what we are selling and do this thing right!

  8. Jim Osmer on July 22nd, 2005 9:46 am

    I think Eddie’s attitude is excellent and very important for the team. However down in the bullpen he has less influence than someone in the dugout. I would send him to the Red Sox for top prospects (Schilling blew another save yesterday but vultured the win).
    Keep either Villone or Eddie but not both. Shiggy, Franklin, Sele (DFA) and Nelson all need to go too!

  9. Evan on July 22nd, 2005 9:58 am

    The Sox really should be starting Schilling but limiting him to 2-3 innings.

  10. robbbbbb on July 22nd, 2005 10:04 am

    The M’s did the same thing last year in the runup to the Garcia trade. They insisted they weren’t out of it, even as they were working on deals to improve the team for the future. This year the same folks are making the same arguments. Deja vu all over again.

    If we hit the trading deadline and nothing’s happened then we ought to bitch. Until then, hold on and watch.

  11. roger tang on July 22nd, 2005 10:11 am

    re 10

    Yeah, law of conservation of bitching. Save it for when it’s most satisfying.

  12. Ray Oyler Fan Club on July 22nd, 2005 10:37 am

    “I think it would be fair to wait to the end of this trip to make a judgment,” said Pelekoudas.

    well…I imagine an 0-6 road trip will help them make their decision.

  13. Jim Osmer on July 22nd, 2005 10:48 am

    Some of you got to hear Bavasi, does he sound aware enough to know this year is shot and minor tweaks to the pitching staff won’t help?
    I am an impatient person I know, but I will be very disappointed if Winn/Nelson/Franklin/Villone, etc. are all still with us August 1st much less next season.

  14. Plays The Game The Right Way on July 22nd, 2005 10:48 am

    You want something equally scary? How about this from yesterday’s PI:

    “It may be mostly illusion. Guardado, like the Mariners front office, has high expectations for 2006, regardless of the Mariners’ current plight. If the Mariners are going to be good a year from now, they’d need a closer. So why trade one when they’d just have to go out and sign one in the offseason?”

    High expectations? Sure, you want to try to be competitive next year but with the complete overhauls of the rotation required how can anyone have high expectations? To use that as a reason not to trade Eddie is ludicrous.

  15. eponymous coward on July 22nd, 2005 10:52 am

    I seriously doubt that Bavasi still thinks we are in the WC race.

    I suspect that Bavasi decided he’d use the June 25-July 25 period to evaluate the team. Recall that was when we had just gotten good against the NL East, before we fell flat against Oakland.

    I suspect the evaluation’s not going well.

  16. Ryan Carson on July 22nd, 2005 10:54 am

    USSMariner….the of the Seattle Baseball community.

    #6 I just don’t understand how you can assert that we have so many major league outfielders yet we would be looking for a power hitting left fielder. Isn’t it the case that the “major league” outfielders we have represent the relative chaff of the league rather than the wheat. Of all of our outfielders, Ichiro is the only one who shows up anywhere near the top in Win Shares #25 according to Hardball Times (and he is obviously untouchable). Ibanez #39 and Winn #51. So, whose buying these for league ready starting pitching or another, more valuable outfielder?

  17. The Other Tom on July 22nd, 2005 11:01 am

    I have the feeling that as fans we are going to be terribly disappointed with what the management gets in return for our few trading pieces. Other than Eddie, whom management seems reluctant to trade dispite his current high value, our other trade pieces would be bit players on other teams at best. Come August 1st, I think that we are going to feel like the kids in “Stand By Me”, asking why we didn’t get something better:

    Vern: “Geez, Gordie, why couldn’t you have gotten breakfast stuff like twinkies, Pez and root beer?”

    Gordie: “Sorry, Vern. I guess a more experienced shopper could have gotten more for your seven cents.”

  18. jtopps on July 22nd, 2005 11:09 am

    #17 – thanks for making my morning. Spot-on.

  19. bp on July 22nd, 2005 11:09 am

    great stand by me reference, other tom….made my morning

  20. Jim Osmer on July 22nd, 2005 11:11 am

    Watching the ugliness of the Red Sox bullpen and Yankees middle relief, I think Villone, Nelson and Franklin could have some real value.

  21. Baltimore M's Fan on July 22nd, 2005 11:26 am

    I was shocked when I saw the Finnigan article. What a moron

  22. Christopher Michael on July 22nd, 2005 11:44 am

    I don’t understand why the team would think they need a new closer for next season. Soriano, Sherrill, and Putz can all compete for the job. I’m pretty sure one of them would do it just fine. Chances are they are making those comments because they want other teams to think they don’t want to trade him and therefore create better offers.

    As for the rest of the pieces just because a player isn’t a star player doesn’t mean the team can’t get decent value for that player. Trade what we can for prospects and try to flip those prospects for starting pitching. Thats the only way this team is going to compete next year.

    Bavasi was right when he said the 15 days before the trade deadline were the most important part of the year. If we “stand pat” this season we can almost gurantee another losing season next year with a mediocre starting rotation.

  23. eponymous coward on July 22nd, 2005 12:04 pm

    I don’t understand why the team would think they need a new closer for next season. Soriano, Sherrill, and Putz can all compete for the job.

    Could one of them do it? Probably. The thing is, are they proven closers at the major league level? No. And the M’s organization has a bit of a paranoia about proven closers based on past experience (see: 1996-1999) that tends to shape their decisions since then, like signing Sasaki and then Guardado to contracts that were questionable at the time, keeping Shiggy around, and so on.

  24. Adam S on July 22nd, 2005 12:22 pm

    DMZ, I think the issue is a society that’s fundamentally bad at math/statistical concepts.

    BP says that Mariners have a .08% chance to make the playoffs and they made up more than 11 games to make the playoffs once before, so they’re saying the M’s have a chance. Unike Tampa Bay who was never won and has a 0.000% chance according to BP. And really 11 games with 60+ to play is like one game a week they need to gain.

    I’m kidding of course, but there are people (perhaps BF is one of them) who don’t grasp that the Mariners would have to win ~70% of their games the rest of the season to make the playoffs, and 58% just to get to 500. Heck, the Yankees, Red Sox, and White Sox might not win 58% of their remaining games and those are GOOD teams.

  25. eponymous coward on July 22nd, 2005 12:42 pm

    (perhaps BF is one of them

    Perhapos Bob Finnigan reported what Lee Pelekoudas was saying and didn’t express his own opinion ion his article.

    Hell, Blowers and Glasgow on the Pravda Post-Game Show have basically stuck the fork in them. The M’s front office may be the only people on the PLANET who think they still have a shot.

  26. rcc on July 22nd, 2005 12:55 pm

    Re: # 25

    If Blowers, et al, have stuck a fork in the M’s that marks a shift in opinion in just two days. I was listening to their babbling of how the M’s were still in after the first loss at Toronto, and almost drove off the road at their inane comments. I think the writing(s) of Finnigan, and the insane comments on sports radio are what drives the popularity of the Mariner blogs, and the high esteem that I hold for the USS Mariner, and many of my fellow posters here. If I want an informed and rational discussion of the Mariners this is the place….way to go guys. You continue to rock!

  27. Steve Thornton on July 22nd, 2005 3:17 pm

    The M’s were done a month ago. It was apparent then that they could neither hit nor pitch. Heck, by the end of April it was apparent we would suck all year.

    We’re more likely to win 30% of our remaining games than 60%. I think we finish 70-92 at best. We suck, suck, suck.

    If we play our cards right, we contend in 2007, not 2006.

  28. Lokiforever on July 22nd, 2005 3:58 pm

    While the season is clearly over, how is it that the M’s were done in May/June, yet the A’s seem to turn it around every year and finish strong? Is it that in 20/20 hindsight rumors of a premature death are easily substantiated, or is it the A’s simply got something we don’t?

  29. roger tang on July 23rd, 2005 12:23 pm

    re 28

    A) Talent in the minors
    B) A ruthlessness to cut current talent if they feel future, cheaoer talent is equivalent or close to it.