Pitchers and catcher! Pitchers and catchers!

DMZ · February 15, 2006 at 8:58 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Plus, of course, Willie Bloomquist, the Shane Monahan of these Mariners, who’s been hanging around camp for the convenience of baseball writers who need quotes about the Mariners building a winning team. And, obviously, the coaching staff sees him working out and being intense, which helps his campaign to start at second this year. How dedicated is Bloomquist? He lives in Arizona. Those are the little things that don’t show up in boxscores.

So big questions with the pitching staff that’ll be settled in spring training:
Can anyone wrangle a starting job away from Pineiro/Meche?
Be it Foppert, Nageotte, or even (still hoping) Soriano, there’s hope for further improvement on the pitching side.
Who makes up the bullpen?
If Hargrove (ugh) chooses to go with a 13-man pitching staff, he’ll be working through some candidates. L-Guardado, R-Soriano, R-Mateo, R-Putz are obvious locks, L-Sherrill should be, and then there’s two slots between L-Thornton and a whole bunch of possibilities. Will Thornton’s service time status again lock the team into keeping him on the team if there are better options?

Welcome, everyone, to Small Sample Size Theater. It’s a lot better than No Sample Size Theatre.


64 Responses to “Pitchers and catcher! Pitchers and catchers!”

  1. Jonathan on February 15th, 2006 5:37 pm

    Happy Pitchers & Catchers Day!!! DMZ, keep the humor coming, whether it’s about the club’s irrationally exuberant attachment to Willie as a starter, Hargrove’s fondness for a baker’s dozen pitching staff, or ex-prospects and their new careers as movers of liquid refreshment. Hope springs eternal (especially in February), but a sense of humor has been an absolute necessity as an M’s fan.

    Also, on behalf of all the M’s fans here with Phillies loyalties, I’m expecting a lot of support and commiseration this year as we watch Gillick work his “magic” on our beloved Phils. Obviously, nobody will feel our pain quite like M’s fans.

  2. CSG on February 15th, 2006 7:06 pm

    won’t Marcos Carvajal be in the bullpen? I thought he had to be returned to Colorado if he doesn’t make the big league roster. Or was that Luis Gonzalez?

  3. eponymous coward on February 15th, 2006 7:20 pm

    Randy Johnson finished 3rd in Cy Young voting at age 29, going 19-8 with a 3.24 ERA. Comparing him with Matt Thornton is like comparing Nolan Ryan with Todd van Poppel because they both threw a good fastball with the same arm.

    I have zero problem letting Thornton toss seasons like van Poppel’s 2000-2001 for the Cubs (where he posted some decent ERAs out of the bullpen)…simply because finding someone who can give you 50-75 innings with an ERA below 4 ISN’T THAT HARD. These guys are basically free talent you can pick up as minor league free agents, but major league teams are stuck in “proven veteran” mode (see: Shiggy and Nellie, last year) or “OMG, he has such potential” mode (Thornton), and fails to see the forest for the trees.

  4. eponymous coward on February 15th, 2006 7:24 pm

    That should read:

    “I have zero problem letting Thornton toss seasons like van Poppel’s 2000-2001 for the Cubs (where he posted some decent ERAs out of the bullpen) somewhere else…”

  5. little joey on February 15th, 2006 7:51 pm

    There’s no reason to think that Matt Thornton will turn a corner now. It’s rare when any player learns a new skill at 29, much less control for a pitcher.

    Choosing between Thornton and Luis Gonzalez is a waste of time. I wish the Mariners could see the value in bullpen guys who get outs. If not, a six-man pen would be fine.

    Also, hello to The Ancient Mariner. It was almost 8 years ago that we first started posting at your site, among others. I read this site often but rarely post, but i wanted to say “Hello!” after seeing a friendly name.

  6. David J. Corcoran on February 15th, 2006 7:55 pm

    51: That’s Luis Gonzalez.

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on February 15th, 2006 9:25 pm

    Willie Bloomquist = Seattle Mariners’ Chuck Norris.

    Because Willie Bloomquist doesn’t steal second base, it always belonged to him anyway. Jarrod Washburn isn’t a Mariner because Bavasi purchased his contract, he’s a Mariner because he’s already owned by Willie Bloomquist. And Willie doesn’t walk intentionally, the opposing pitcher always intentionally walks Willie.

  8. The Ancient Mariner on February 16th, 2006 8:51 am

    Hey, little joey — how’s life? Seems strange to think it’s been that long, but I guess it has. Good to see you, though I have to disagree with you on Gonzalez, who doesn’t belong in the same category as Thornton. Thornton’s pushing 30 and has firmly established himself as a bad major-league pitcher, however hard he throws. Gonzalez, meanwhile, is 22 and has established himself as a good minor-league pitcher and a real prospect — he was available because the Dodger system is so deep, not because he doesn’t have talent; I’m not saying he’s going to be great, but he has enough potential to justify keeping him on the roster this season, and given the likelihood of a 12-man pitching staff, I think he’ll be an acceptable 12th man.

  9. little joey on February 16th, 2006 9:16 am

    Life’s good. Since we’ve started posting, I’ve been through college and served in the peace corps, which means that the years have passed since I was toting Jake Weber as a good prospect for hitting as a 23-year-old at Everett.

    We can agree to disagree on Gonzalez. For a pitcher to distinguish himself in the pen, and be worth a win more than the next guy, he really does need to make outs at impressive rates, which Gonzalez hasn’t done in the minors. I’ll admit that I know nothing of him other than his minor league stats, but I think those are even more important for relief prospects, of which there are too many to promote guys who simply have good stuff. I suppose Gonzalez might have “enough potential” to keep him on the roster, but isn’t that the same thing that’s kept Thornton and Meche around, among others?

    I’m not sure there’s even much to argue here. I’m a Scott Atchison fan and that’s what has me cranky. Good to see you around.

  10. Grizz on February 16th, 2006 9:29 am

    “Bad” Randy Johnson was only “bad” in comparison to his subsequent Hall-of-Fame level performance. From ages 26 to 28, Johnson performed as a slightly above average major league starter (keeping it simple, raw ERA for 1990-1992 seasons were 3.65, 3.98, 3.77). His walk totals were insane, but he offset them to a great extent by maintaining a roughly 1.5 K/BB ratio and keeping the ball in the park. “Bad” Randy Johnson would arguably be the second best starter on the 2006 Mariners.

  11. The Ancient Mariner on February 16th, 2006 9:59 am

    The difference between Gonzalez and Thornton (or Meche), though, is the difference between stashing a guy who could still improve in a corner of the roster for one year (with a sizable chunk of that on the DL with “tendinitis”) so you can send him back to the minors the next (if necessary), on the one hand, and committing a roster spot for the indefinite future to a guy who is simply too old to get any better. The first is a gamble on future potential; the second is a misevaluation of present reality. The two are very different.

    As for Atchison, I agree he belongs; but even leaving Gonzalez out of the equation, I’m not sure he belongs ahead of Marcos Carvajal.

  12. The Ancient Mariner on February 16th, 2006 10:00 am

    And I forgot to note, I remember when you went into the Peace Corps; what are you up to now?

  13. DMZ on February 16th, 2006 10:41 am

    Hey, not that I don’t love community building and stuff, but…

  14. msb on February 16th, 2006 11:25 am

    the years have passed since I was toting Jake Weber

    must have been hard … Jake weighed a good 180-190 pounds back then, right? 🙂

    btw, Kirby Arnold sez that everyone (but Hargrove) has reported bigger and stronger, and Larue talks to Mattox and Looper about some of the ‘unknowns’ who might have a chance this spring. This includes a great typo in Lopper’s comment about Livingston: “He’s a funny kid in that he’s now a real hard thrower”

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