Is it Friday? Oh thank goodness

DMZ · March 24, 2006 at 12:14 am · Filed Under Mariners 

(having a bad week)

PI: King Felix had a nice outing. Ichiro’s been emotional lately. In the TNT, Betancourt liked watching Cuba play in the WBC.

Times: Moyer’s the Opening Day starter. Close those jaws now, or something might nest in there.

Also, Dave’s got a Mariners Preview up over at the Hardball Times. It includes this fun little segment:

It isn’t rare at all to see a team “come from nowhere” to make a strong push for the playoffs. It’s actually so common, you have to expect it. Teams who underperformed the previous year, have significant young talent, and got career years from a key player or two entering their prime often blow the common wisdom out of the water and remind everyone that improvement does not have to come in small, incremental steps.

There isn’t a team in baseball better poised to make that leap this year than the Mariners. They have young players with solid track records or established stars at every position on the diamond besides left field and a pitching staff that will be anchored by the best young arm to enter the major leagues in a couple of decades.

Hooray for Friday optimism.


33 Responses to “Is it Friday? Oh thank goodness”

  1. BrianV on March 24th, 2006 5:36 am

    Moyer starting on opening day doesn’t really bother me much. Frankly, who else would you rather have going out there? Felix? Sure, but if they want to limit his load for a while while putting him at the back of the rotation, that’s fine with me.

    Of the other options you might as well throw old man Mariner out there. I can see wanting to showcase Washburn, but it really makes no difference one way or the other and I like giving another top of the cap to Moyer.

  2. Steve Nelson on March 24th, 2006 5:51 am
  3. Rain Delay on March 24th, 2006 6:26 am

    #2- Dear god no. Being a Braves and Mariners fan, I don’t want to see this trade happen. Yes, I do want the Braves to get rid of “Big Red”, but not to the Mariners.

    My lucked they’d swap Meche for Thomson. Wich would be like trading crap for crap.

    Kinda like the Thorton trade.

  4. terry on March 24th, 2006 7:14 am

    #3: Dont worry, the Reds will grab him first….at least his GO/FO is on the best side of 1 for GABP…..

  5. Zero Gravitas on March 24th, 2006 7:34 am

    Speaking of optimism, you had to enjoy last night’s televised game. Felix made many professional hitters look silly, Soriano closed and had good velocity, Ichiro got 3 hits, Reed had 2 hits, Betancourt looked good at short…

    Plus FSN actually miked up Crazy Carl for a dugout “interview” with Dave Valle, which quickly turned into a surreal exercise in semiliterate ass-kissery. Good fun on the tube for M’s fans, finally. It’s been a long winter!

  6. Rain Delay on March 24th, 2006 7:41 am

    #5 – Felix made guys look foolish. Like when he served up 2 changes and a hook to nail Tony Clark looking. The King was dialed in last night for sure.

  7. DMZ on March 24th, 2006 8:01 am

    I muted the Valle/Everett love-in. I couldn’t handle it. It was bad enough when Valle started with “What do you bring to this team?” (which solicited a predictable answer) but then got worse from there.

  8. robbbbbb on March 24th, 2006 8:27 am

    Looking at Jon Thomson’s line over the last few seasons leads me to a couple conclusions:

    (1) He’s a better pitcher than Gil Meche.
    (2) He’s an injury risk.

    I’d take Meche for Thomson in a straight-up deal any day of the week. I don’t have the familiarity with Thomson that I do with Meche, but the line says to me that he’s a not-bad pitcher that would look good at the Safe.

    And if the Braves would rather have some spare bullpen parts, I’d do that deal in a heartbeat. The M’s have a lot of spare bullpen parts.

    The big question? Injury risk. Thomson missed a lot of time last season. The question is why, and what’s the chance of a repeat?

  9. Brian Rust on March 24th, 2006 8:28 am

    It was an “interview,” not a “love-in.” I think Carl would want to be pretty clear about that.

    And he did acknowledge that his “leadership in the clubhouse” is secondary to what he does on the field. At least he’s got that right.

  10. terry on March 24th, 2006 8:38 am

    If Everett’s leadership in the clubhouse is most important, why not make him equipment manager and free a roster spot?

  11. Tek Jansen on March 24th, 2006 9:48 am

    An odd thing in the TNT article — it said that Thomson’s groundball tendencies would play especially well in spacious Safeco. Does Safeco’s spaciousness have a deadening effect on sharp groundballs?

  12. John D. on March 24th, 2006 9:51 am

    BETANCOURT – First, a recollection:
    BTW, I saw a sandlot game in ’46, where a runner was called safe on a close play at first. (The SS had gone deep into the hole to glove it.) The fans near 1B booed the call. Then the runner (who was about 20 feet past first) turned to the left. “He made the turn,” the fans shouted. “Put the ball on him.” The 1st baseman did, and the ump, recognizing his chance for redemption, vigorously thrust his fist into the air, signaling “You’re out.”
    I thought I would never see that again. Well, sixty years later I saw it again.
    Has BETANCOURT been under a rock?

  13. phildopip on March 24th, 2006 9:56 am

    #12 – there was an ump at a sandlot game??? Now that’s organized neighborhood ball.

  14. msb on March 24th, 2006 10:08 am

    In his Cactus League piece Crasnick at ESPN has notes about Jeremy Reed and JuBetcha…

  15. Rain Delay on March 24th, 2006 10:13 am

    Boise *shiver*

    That word takes me back to my year stint in afternoon drive at KISS FM.

    robbb- Thomson when down with a finger injury last year that kept him doing the yoyo between the DL and the Roation.

  16. msb on March 24th, 2006 10:13 am

    dammitdammitdammit. here.

    I love this time of year. Did you know that Seattle could still have some interest in Craig Wilson?

  17. Dash on March 24th, 2006 10:17 am

    Reed fractured his right hand last night. Burba and Vina have both let go. More details in the PI blog. I’m not even going to try to link to it.

  18. msb on March 24th, 2006 10:20 am

    Here is Hickey on Reed

    a more cheerful link, Lookout Landing points us to a Sickels prospect piece on Young Jamie Moyer

  19. Evan on March 24th, 2006 10:45 am

    Everything you ever wanted to know about scaphoid fractres.

  20. Evan on March 24th, 2006 10:45 am

    Or fractures, as the case may be.

  21. eponymous coward on March 24th, 2006 11:15 am

    Aw, crap. So this means Lawton’s the new CF, right, with maybe some time from Borchard?

  22. MedicineHat on March 24th, 2006 11:26 am

    Lawton starts the year on a 10-game suspension.

  23. leetinsleyfanclub on March 24th, 2006 11:27 am

    Oh god I can hear it now.

    “Batting second, and playing CF, #16, Willie Bloomquist”

  24. Tek Jansen on March 24th, 2006 11:28 am

    If Ichiro moves to center and the corners are manned by some mixture of Lawton-Ibanez-Borchard-Everett, how much do the Mariners lose offensively and defensively? I hope that this is the solution to the problem posed by Reed’s injury. The other silver lining in this dark cloud, as mentioned above, is that Petagine most likely makes the opening day 25 man roster.

  25. bob montgomery on March 24th, 2006 11:52 am

    How does this affect Doyle and/or other minor league OFers? Remind me, is he healthy?

    So much for optimism.

  26. Phoenician Todd on March 24th, 2006 12:03 pm

    Doyle is out until around the All-star break.

  27. Evan on March 24th, 2006 1:09 pm

    Though he’s currently able to hit. It’s the running he can’t do.

    The team might actually improve if we let him DH and pulled him as soon as he got on base (he’d only ever hit singles and HRs).

  28. Smegmalicious on March 24th, 2006 1:13 pm

    I can’t fucking believe it. WFB is going to be the starting CF for the Mariners on opening day.

    I have tickets to that game and a high powered rifle. I think in the interests of sanity and my continued existance I have to sell or burn my tickets because I simply CANNOT TAKE IT!!!

    I know he’s only out for like two months, but still, this is insane. WFB in center…I simply cannot get my head around it.

  29. MedicineHat on March 24th, 2006 1:45 pm

    # 28: Nothing like a complete over reaction….lol

  30. eponymous coward on March 24th, 2006 2:21 pm

    I’m a bit less optimistic than Dave, but I concede the argument. Note that a 16 game improvement in record (which would be a fairly decent leap forward in a tough division) would put the M’s at 85 wins- and while it’s at the upper range of what I’m expecting, I wouldn’t be shocked at seeing them go past it a skosh to the high 80’s if EVERYTHING broke right.

    That being said:

    There isn’t a team in baseball better poised to make that leap this year than the Mariners. They have young players with solid track records or established stars at every position on the diamond besides left field and a pitching staff that will be anchored by the best young arm to enter the major leagues in a couple of decades.

    Uh, Carl Everett has a solid track record, but it’s largely one of sucking this millennium. DH counts for me as “on the diamond” (even if it only counts for hitting).

    Here’s the catch: let’s look at these same clubs Dave listed a year AFTER they made their Great Leaps Forward (excluding 2005):

    2004: Texas (-10 next year), LA (-4), St. Louis (-5), San Diego (-5)
    2003: Kansas City (-25), Florida (-8), Chicago Cubs (+1)
    2002: Anaheim (-22), Atlanta (0), Boston (+2)
    2001: Seattle (-23), Chicago Cubs (-21), Houston (-9), Philadelphia (-6), Minnesota (+9), Oakland (+1)
    2000: Chicago (-12), St. Louis (-2), Seattle (+25), SF (+5)

    Holy Regression to the Mean, Batman!

    I would argue there are two phenomena that go into Big Leaps Forward; one that’s sustainable, one that’s not:

    – young talent being injected into a team
    – a hot roll at the craps table we call MLB

    if you had to put a gun to my head and say which of these is most likely to move the Mariners from being around .500/a little over to the edges of pennant contention at 90 wins, I’d say the second- and what is likely to happen if we DO end up with a 90 win team is the front office is going to make an attribution error as to the quality of the team and being back the wrong kinds of players (we’ve already seen the beginnings of this with the Ibañez signing).

    Right now, I see things as better than 2003-2004…just still not to the point of a sustainable base for excellence yet (where you have a core of excellent players to plug in around). Felix is a good way towards that, and if Betancourt, Beltre and Lopez can perform at the high end of their projections for the next few years, and we add in players like Clement. to Ichiro/Sexson/Johjima, and figure out a way to add some pitching..well, we’re getting a lot closer. I suspect the road’s going to be bumpier than that, though, especially with a front office that overvalues “proven veterans” as much as this one does. The odds of getting the short of of the Branch Rickey stick (“a year too late”) are too high.

  31. Steve T on March 24th, 2006 6:05 pm

    My pick for surprise breakout is the Pirates, not us. I think they’re a year ahead of us in the “significant young talent” sweepstakes. We have Felix and … well, we have Felix.

  32. beckya57 on March 24th, 2006 10:20 pm

    Oh, come on. I’ve said it before, and nothing’s happened to change my view: this team will never improve until the fans quit coming to see a third-rate product. Steinbrenner knows Yankee fans will stop coming if the team starts losing. The M’s, however, have the most forgiving fans in the majors, and have been paying for their enabling of ownership’s greed and cluelessness for the past several years. I’ve been to only one game since 2003, and plan to continue staying away until management actually gets serious about building a winning team. Some serious wooing of top free-agent pitchers would go a long way towards convincing me; pitchers should be dying for the chance to throw half of their games at Safeco. And don’t talk to me about Jarod Washburn, I said “top” pitchers. As for Felix, I fully expect him to get the Bobby Madritsch treatment and be ruined by age 21; management will overuse him to get fans to come out.

  33. John D. on March 25th, 2006 5:42 pm

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT – [When I offered this (and “my light to the glowing firmament of discussion”), I got a server error, and noticed that my light had been extinguished.
    [I’m not about to re-type (two fingers) my light. So here it is. Provide your own light.]

    “With only two days off in April and two more off in May, Hargrove said the chance to fiddle with the order of his starters is limited, and he plans to pitch all five and not skip any when off days do present themselves.”

    WOW! (I’m thinking about FELIX’s workload.)

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