Friday wheel of fun

DMZ · March 3, 2006 at 1:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Probably the most disturbing story is in the PI. “Healthy Foppert undeterred by solidity of M’s rotation

Foppert — and every other aspiring starter in camp, including veterans Dave Burba and Kevin Appier — has to face the reality the Mariners rotation is as good as locked.

Jamie Moyer, Joel Pineiro and Jarrod Washburn are going to be in the rotation no matter what because of their salaries. Felix Hernandez is in no matter what because of his talent. With Gil Meche’s combination of salary and talent, his immediate future is secure, too.

A couple of things:
First, sunk costs. If the M’s can get more out of a rotation spot by releasing a guy making $100m and playing Foppert, then so be it. I know in reality the business side tends to tie hands, but really now.
Second, Meche’s combination of salary and talent has = diddly/squat over the last few years, so if Foppert can beat him out, so be it.


“Foppert’s one of the guys who’s really impressed me,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “I would still have to say he’s a long shot to make the rotation. I think we’re pretty set.

“Seeing what he has, though, it wouldn’t be a shocker if he made the team. A surprise, yes. But not a shocker.”

You’re set. Really. Open of March, and you’re pretty set. Even though two of your pitchers have been inconsistent-to-crappy since before you even got here. Wow. Okay.

Or, to put this another way: that those two stink-bombs have been spreading the delicious scent of sulfur throughout American League parks for years while being well-paid to do so doesn’t mean we should be particularly eager to take another big whiff to see if the bouquet has changed any.

Also: Beltre is off to play in the WBC in the PI, and
Jeff Clement is in the Times.


28 Responses to “Friday wheel of fun”

  1. pensive on March 3rd, 2006 2:52 am

    Japan leading well Wa Wong just hit homer now 2-2. Was hoping that Gyroball pitcher would be pitching. Ichiro looks the same.

  2. Mat on March 3rd, 2006 3:21 am

    “Was hoping that Gyroball pitcher would be pitching.”

    China’s easily the worst team in that group, and since Matsuzaka’s one of Japan’s best starters, they weren’t all that likely to use him in that game. has Matsuzaka listed in one place as the likely starter against Chinese Taipei, but I guess I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he winds up pitching against Korea instead.

  3. CCW on March 3rd, 2006 4:32 am

    Agreed, it’s a stupid attitude… but what are they really going to learn in spring training anyway? One of the supposed “locks” to make the rotation is going to break down or suck in the first few months of the season. When that happens, if Foppert is pitching well in Tacoma, he’ll be the first one called up. That’s a fine strategy for a team that’s playing for 2007 and beyond, which, I’m afraid, this team should be doing.

  4. David M. on March 3rd, 2006 4:48 am

    Meh. I’m not all that interested in bumping Meche at this point. It’s a long season. Let Foppert toss it in AAA for a few months. If memory serves, he didn’t really get deep into any games last year (or the year before, given that he was out). The ideal situation is that both he and Meche perform well, and Gil can be flipped for mediocre prospects in mid-summer.

  5. FrankL on March 3rd, 2006 6:10 am

    There have been multiple studies regarding why investors hang onto loser stocks. It’s a psychological thing: investors hope for a rebound, are afraid to acknowledge a mistake made in the first place, don’t accept the notion of costs sunk.

    Perhaps Bavasi has sold Hargrove that Meche and Piniero are not dot coms, but blue-chips bought high and now ready for a huge rebound. But perhaps they are waiting for Enron to rebound in their personal portfolios, too.

  6. Safeco Hobo on March 3rd, 2006 6:53 am

    Don’t get me wrong I love Meche’s “stuff” more than i probably should, but please tell me why he has a guaranteed spot in the starting line-up and Lopez has to prove himself?

  7. amarshal2 on March 3rd, 2006 6:55 am

    I would agree with you on the sunk costs if you really had somebody ready to step in who you were sure would be better. I can’t imagine any amount of success for Foppert in spring training would really change your mind. His stuff has always been a whole lot better than his results. Plus what are you going to do if you cut Meche and trot Foppert out there only to find out he’s not even remotely ready? I’m with #3, the mind-set shows limited capacity for intelligent or creative thinking but the timing may be reasonable.

  8. davepaisley on March 3rd, 2006 7:17 am

    And why are we treating spring training fluff stories and column-inch filler (before a pitch has been thrown in anger even) as the official strategy of the team?

    Listening to Bavasi on KJR the other day he was pretty candid about the need for Meche and Pineiro to demonstrate something other than suckitude this year – and early. they are anything BUT locks for a full season run no matter what.

    I don’t see the team doing anything drastic based on the very small and dubious quality sample of spring training, but Meche and Pineiro will be on a short leash once the season starts. I just don’t see the FO laying it all out in black and white for the Times to print, though.

    Why you guys (USSM and commenters) get all upset over random bits of PR flotsam and jetsam is beyond me at times.

  9. Tek Jansen on March 3rd, 2006 8:30 am

    Barring an injury, Foppert does not have a realistic chance of breaking into the M’s rotation out of ST. But, if he pitches well and either Piniero or Meche tank, Bavasi and Hargrove will give him a chance sooner rather than later.

  10. Choska on March 3rd, 2006 8:48 am

    I agree with DavePaisley and Tek.

    I think Hargrove is doing the right thing by expressing confidence in those two guys. Everyone knows Piniero is on a short leash, and that Meche’s is even shorter. Management might as well do everything it can to keep their confidence up.

    Having a manager actively discuss a team’s plans in the frame of “so and so is likely to fail therefore our plan b is” would be incredibly stupid and damaging.

  11. robbbbbb on March 3rd, 2006 8:50 am

    Re: Clement. It’s nice to hear the kid say all the right things. He has a great attitude:

    “It’s a lot nicer hearing that than the opposite, but it was batting practice,” he said. “That’s what you are supposed to do in batting practice. It was nice to hear, but it is what it is. I have to keep working hard here every day.”

    I’m looking forward to seeing him in The Show. Hopefully, he earns a spot on the team sooner, rather than later.

  12. DMZ on March 3rd, 2006 9:19 am

    I’m not arguing Foppert deserves anything handed to him, or even that Foppert’s the solution to the rotation woes. My point is that there are two guys in the rotation who have sucked over two years, and Hargrove’s out saying that Foppert’s pretty much got no chance. He’s expressing confidence in two guys who’ve done little to reward the team for its faith.

    So Foppert, the most likely of several challengers right now, doesn’t even get the carrot, while Pineiro and Meche get to go lounge around knowing their spots are safe. This is, as someone else noted, exactly the opposite approach they’re taking with Lopez, who unlike Meche is good: Hargrove’s talking about Vina, who was out of baseball and sucked before that.

    It’s dumb. If the team’s willing to entertain handing second to anyone but Lopez (which would be dumb) they should be equally willing to hand a rotation spot to someone who can do better than those two.

  13. DavidE on March 3rd, 2006 9:59 am

    Does anyone think that if Price was still the pitching coach the situation with Piniero and Meche would be different? Price was obviously at the end of his rope and pretty frustrated by the staffs performance when he left. Do you think the M’s are hoping that the different message from Chaves will have an affect on these two guys and that’s why they are giving them this last chance?

  14. Brian Rust on March 3rd, 2006 10:23 am

    Some suggested reading:
    Leonard Koppet, The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Baseball. In which an entire chapter is devoted to the symbiotic relationship between baseball clubs and newspapers: the club needs coverage to sell tickets, the paper needs content to sell papers. And players and coaches are not afraid to use the medium as a public forum to communicate with each other when it suits their purpose. This explains as well as anything why we see such fluff pieces on a daily basis.
    David Halberstam, October 1964. In which the speedy upstart integrated Cardinals of Gibson and Brock challenge the aging veteran white Yankees of Mantle and Ford in a season that marked a changing era in the game. And illustrating the responses of players to a variety of motivational factors including the efforts of their teams, managers and coaches. As Hargrove said in his introductory interview last year, it’s all about finding the right buttons to press for each player. The book, BTW, is a great read and features many characters who go on to all kinds of notoriety: Flood, Bouton, Maris, rookie Stottlemyre, Berra in managerial debut, future NL president White, Uecker, O’Neill.

  15. msb on March 3rd, 2006 11:54 am

    #8,Why you guys (USSM and commenters) get all upset over random bits of PR flotsam and jetsam is beyond me at times.

    but Daaaaaave, if we didn’t, what else would there be to talk about?????

    speaking of which, Joh isn’t happy with his first game, and there is Felix love at and in the TNT. We also learn there that Eddie is as helpful as Buhner was when teaching English as a second language.

  16. eponymous coward on March 3rd, 2006 12:41 pm

    It’s dumb. If the team’s willing to entertain handing second to anyone but Lopez (which would be dumb) they should be equally willing to hand a rotation spot to someone who can do better than those two.

    I’ll take “established veteran disease” for $500, Alex.

    The sad part is Meche and Everett (the low-hanging fruit on the roster in terms of Veterans Who’ve Established They Are Bad) could easily be replaced for considerably less- and the difference could go well past replacing Washburn with Millwood, or Moyer with Loiaza, or…well, you get the idea.

    Piñiero you have SOME justification for wanting to slot as a starter (in that his 6-ish million made him the roster equivalent of a boat anchor on the trade market unless he has a hot month or three, and some peripherals make him a better rebound candidate than Meche)…but the problem I see is more on the level of the initial decision to not write off Meche this winter and let some other organization spend time “fixing” him.

  17. msb on March 3rd, 2006 12:43 pm

    the wind is blowing out to left in Peoria.

  18. amarshal2 on March 3rd, 2006 1:43 pm

    This is incredibly OT but I can’t believe Nate Silver just linked that lively discussion we all had on the merits of Papelbon and Lester vs Jeremy Reed a couple months ago. Unbelievable. I still stand firmly on the other side and not because I’m a “fan boy” as BP likes to call us lately. I just think its incredibly inconsistent that they point to Lester’s fly ball tendencies and easier competition as a reason to rank him lower and then rank both Thomas Diamond and Jered Weaver ahead of him. If you don’t like Lester, fine, but when you are BP you had better do a better job of backing up your point of view with some quantitative analysis than just citing that burb by Dave. I never imagined that would be his response.

    Now before I anger anybody I will say I’ve come around on this board a lot since then. There is some very good discussion about topics other than the merits of red sox pitching prospects. But you better believe seeing that link was like twisting the knife in my gut.

    It’s premium:

  19. Dave on March 3rd, 2006 1:53 pm

    Perhaps you might want to consider that Nate’s a smart guy, I’m not an idiot, and maybe, just maybe, we’re on to something?

  20. amarshal2 on March 3rd, 2006 1:58 pm

    I think Nate is a smart guy, I don’t think you are an idiot and never accused you of such things. Doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with him/you every time just because you are smart. There are plenty of smart people who agree with me.

  21. Grizz on March 3rd, 2006 2:40 pm

    If you don’t like Lester, fine, but when you are BP you had better do a better job of backing up your point of view with some quantitative analysis than just citing that burb by Dave.

    For those without BP premium access, the article does employ a quantative analysis. In the article, Nate Silver ranks pitching prospects based on a combination of BP’s WARP and Upside metrics. (A BP article from February 8, which might be free, fully explains the methodology.) Under this analysis, Lester ranked 25th and Papelbon 45th. Silver preemptively answers the “why so low?” question by quoting Dave.

    The real funny part here is this is the same analysis that identified Red Sox prospect Dustin Pedroia as the second best middle infield prospect in baseball.

  22. leetinsleyfanclub on March 3rd, 2006 3:08 pm

    There’s absolutely no way that Pineiro and Meche don’t sense the urgency that they have to show something early in the regular season or they are done in Seattle. If Hargrove or Bavasi came out and said their spots are up for grabs right now then maybe they approach their spring training outings differently, trying to win a spot, and not at all the way they should – which would be to work on things that could make them better later on when the season starts. On the flip side, there’s also no way that Foppert doesn’t sense the opportunity he has should one of those guys falter. Thus, there is no need for the M’s to dangle a carrot in front of him in the press.

  23. AMarshal2 on March 3rd, 2006 3:40 pm

    #21, I’m well aware of their reasoning. I like the prospect system they are trying to develop. Still, I think there are some glaring inconsistencies.

    Weaver- gb%: 30.5% (HiA/AA) pecota: unraked. upside: 26.4 scouting: #23 pitching prospect, translated K/9: 7.2 (AA)
    Diamond- gb%: 48% (hi-a), 36% (AA) pecota: #47 upside: 34.3 scouting: #31 pitching prospect, translated K/9: 6.7 (AA)
    Lester- gb%: 48% (AA) pecota: #25 upside: 46.9 scouting: BA #5 pitching prospect, translated K/9: 7.1 (AA)

    Other factors they mention of importance are L/R splits. I don’t have the #’s handy but Lester is almost perfectly even against both where as Weaver’s splits are terrible against righties (I have no data for Diamond).

    Other explanations they have given in chats, etc: “Lester’s home park isn’t condusive to fly balls” and Diamond’s is? “Lester’s home park in AA is a very favorable pitchers park.” It is actually a slight hitters park by all metrics I have seen.

    Both Weaver and Diamond are ranked ahead of Lester. I think that is a pretty major inconsistency. Also, I’m not exactly passionate about proving the Dustin Pedroia ranking incorrect, but I don’t agree either. They have a good thing going, but it could use some adjustments.

  24. adamt on March 3rd, 2006 4:01 pm

    Pokey Reese is MIA…

    “JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Florida Marlins second baseman Pokey Reese has had no contact with the team since Wednesday, missing a workout and a game, and club officials said they’re concerned about him.

    General manager Larry Beinfest said Reese gave no indication that he was taking time off, and the team has no idea where he might be.”

  25. msb on March 3rd, 2006 5:43 pm

    man, that’s wierd– it’s apparently been two days “We tried to track him down starting yesterday,” Beinfest said Friday. “He was playing well. He looked healthy. We were happy with him, and he appeared to be happy. … We want to make sure he’s OK.” Reese missed a workout Thursday. The team had him in the lineup for Friday’s game against Baltimore, but he again failed to show. Beinfest said the team tried to check on Reese at the apartment where he has been staying, but there was no answer at the door. Reese’s agent told the team he hadn’t heard from his client, Beinfest said.”

  26. colm on March 3rd, 2006 6:43 pm

    When the management puts players on the team solely because of how much they’re commited to paying them, you know it’s not the players who are the problem.

    By the same salary-logic King Felix ought to be the 7th man in the bullpen (and Chan Ho Park would be the sixth best pitcher in baseball).

  27. msb on March 3rd, 2006 10:45 pm

    yeah, because the Mariners are the only team in the world that might possibly play a guy because he is being paid….

  28. Mat on March 4th, 2006 10:26 am

    Re: Reese MIA

    Doesn’t it seem like there are a larger than normal number of people leaving spring training for weird reasons this year? Off the top of my head, I can think of Grienke, Gagne, and now Reese. Vlad had to leave camp for tragic reasons, and all of that’s before we talk about all of the WBC players leaving.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.