Wednesday wonders

DMZ · March 1, 2006 at 1:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

From the News Tribune: Gil Meche donated some baseballs to help a New Orleans college team, and Matt Thornton didn’t allow a run — and has a new pitch!

“I’m working on a new sinker, and I didn’t get my arm up to one hitter and walked him,” Thornton said. “Other than that, I threw pretty well.” …

Also in the TNT – “Vina wants to get quick hands on job

Over in the PI, Meche is now throwing a two-seam fastball, instead of his four-seamer. And there’s a profile on Luis Gonzalez, a Rule 5 draftee who came here via trade and might make the bullpen.

The Seattle Times has Pineiro “getting ribbed” over his WBC participation. Also, Richie Sexson would like to remain healthy and productive.


20 Responses to “Wednesday wonders”

  1. Typical Idiot Fan on March 1st, 2006 3:27 am

    Meche said talking to new pitching coach Rafael Chaves has convinced him of the need to overhaul his fastball. Chaves doesn’t want to see the four-seamer put away, but he wants to see more hitters put the ball in play on the ground.

    “Look at our shortstop (Yuniesky Betancourt) and how he gets to everything,” Chaves said. “Look at how good our infield is as a whole. I’ll gladly trade a little bit of velocity to get the hitters to hit the ball on the ground to those guys.”

    Chaves has already proven he’s not a complete moron. Thornton’s problem wasn’t his fastball, it was that he couldn’t locate anything to save his life. His K-rates are fine, it’s his BB-rates that suck. Throwing a 2-seamer might help, I suppose, but being a power lefty means putting the damn ball on the black knee high.

    As for Meche, I think he’s more in dire need of a 2-seamer then anybody. His 4-seamer is about as flat as JJ Putz’s, but his problem is also that he’s incapable of putting the ball where he wants it. Again, maybe a 2-seamer will help, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Still, if Meche and Thornton can start inducing more groundballs, maybe they can balance out some of their disgusting walks.

  2. mln on March 1st, 2006 4:02 am

    I like Matt Thornton. He is in the long tradition of Mariners’ relievers (Bobby Ayala, Heathcliff Slocumb et al.) who have a penchant for giving up the big home run at the most inopportune time. DOH!

    This is a finely honed baseball talent that Mariners scouts seem to have a bloodhound’s nose for sniffing out and nurturing.

  3. pensive on March 1st, 2006 8:00 am

    #3 Ouch those names inspire early morning drinking. If only Lent did not begin today but may have until noon.

    One can hope Soriano is heathy this year and blows away opposition with that smooth delivery that explodes. Best case he wins closing by trade deadline. Will Hargrove use Eddie in only save situations or has he listened to Dave’s numerous suggestions from last season use him earlier to hold opponent from scoring.

  4. msb on March 1st, 2006 10:12 am

    the Ibanez extension is official; no word on the money yet

  5. Choska on March 1st, 2006 10:23 am

    Hope this isn’t too far off-topic, but I believe Baseball Prospectus 2006 is shipping today. So we should expect to see it on store shelves by Thursday or Friday, correct?

  6. chrisisasavage on March 1st, 2006 10:39 am

    Who knows, if Thornton’s sinker is any good, it could drastically change his game and he could be a better pitcher, it’s happened before! Of course more often someone’s said “I developed a new pitch” during spring training and still sucked come season.

  7. pdb on March 1st, 2006 10:39 am

    Speaking of Wednesday Wonders:

    The Boone is no more.

  8. basebliman on March 1st, 2006 10:41 am

    When I first saw that Vina link, I thought it said “Vina gets a quick hand job.” Oops.

  9. msb on March 1st, 2006 11:16 am

    I think I’ve been blinded. You know Batgirl’s horrifying Minnesota Twins Hottest Chick? Check out Barry Bonds as Paula Abdul in a Giants Charity event. In the accompanying photo gallery, you can also see Fassero as Simon. Thank god he isn’t in a dress.

  10. aws on March 1st, 2006 11:37 am “The Seattle Mariners gave veteran Raul Ibanez a two-year, $11 million contract extension Wednesday through the 2008 season.”

    I can swallow 11 million over two year a lot easier then 23.5 over 3 years.

  11. aws on March 1st, 2006 11:38 am

    and that was

  12. msb on March 1st, 2006 11:43 am

    Kirby Arnold talks to Pentland and tells us that the M’s are keeping an eye on Ichiro during the Far East pool of the WBC, and Doug Miller looks at Fruto

  13. adamt on March 1st, 2006 11:55 am

    Lasting image of Bret Boone.

  14. msb on March 1st, 2006 12:13 pm

    Fox has a run-down of all the teams in both leagues up on their site, including an unattributed one via the Sports Xchange for the M’s

  15. Typical Idiot Fan on March 1st, 2006 1:00 pm

    Fox has a run-down of all the teams in both leagues up on their site, including an unattributed one via the Sports Xchange for the M’s

    And they’re idiots.

    RHP Jorge Campillo will miss the entire 2006 season with Tommy John surgery.


  16. hans on March 1st, 2006 1:26 pm

    Hopefully Gonzalez shows he can pitch and supplants Thornton as management’s token “hard-throwing lefty” in the bullpen.

  17. msb on March 1st, 2006 2:58 pm

    #15– yes? Campillo is a RHP, who will be out for next season after having Tommy John elbow surgery, and IIRC, was outrighted to Tacoma at the end of last season…

  18. eponymous coward on March 1st, 2006 3:35 pm

    Yay! We can watch the soul of our 90-loss teamcash paychecks until 2008!

    ” There is really a very limited supply of left-handed hitters of Raul’s caliber,” Bavasi said.

    “This was a pretty high priority for us in the offseason,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “The signing for us is terrific because there’s so few real quality left or switch-hitters that can operate in the middle of the lineup and be as consistent as Raul. We wanted to lock him up.”

    Gah. I mean really, Raul’s a decent hitter, and yeah, hits to the right spot at Safeco, but we’re talking about someone with a lifetime OPS of .801. That’s “you’re getting the job done”, not “you’re special”. Out of 30 MLB teams OPS’s from LF in 2005, Raul’s .801 career OPS scores in 14th (2 points above Tampa Bay), and 6th at DH (4 points above KC). (Keep in mind that playing srcubs at those two positions will REDUCE those scores- our RF OPS as a team was 20 points lower than Ichiro’s).

    Yeah, I know, this signing is all about PR… but what scares me is that I think Bavasi and the M’s fonrt office BELIEVES guys like Everett and Ibañez are special instead of various shades of good/middling/mediocre.

  19. JoeM on March 1st, 2006 5:54 pm

    [ot, discussed previously when it happened]

  20. BelaXadux on March 1st, 2006 9:20 pm

    Re: Meche and the two-seamer, I’ll believe it when I see him execute it during the season. It’s exactly what he needs, though, since his biggest, single problem is an inability to keep the pitch (any pitch) down in the strikezone.

    On Thornton, though, I’m not as sure that the two-seamer is the way to go given his overall poor control. He’s likely to sink the pitch out of the zone too often for it to be effective, it seems to me, exactly as in the instance cited in this article. He’d be better off with the splitter, but given his TJ surgery one suspects there’s a reluctance to have him go that way, and the Ms don’t care for the pitch anyway. Then again, since Matt Thornton has never been able to throw any offspeed pitch of worth, the two-seamer may have been chosen as the last best hope to get him a second pitch.

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