Game 32, Indians at Mariners

Dave · May 6, 2006 at 5:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Cliff Lee, extreme flyball pitcher, against Joel Pineiro, extreme groundball pitcher in the making?

As we’ve talked about, Joel’s stuff is gone, likely never to return. But this year, he’s getting a lot of groundballs, and you can actually be a reasonably effective pitcher even without missing bats if you’re throwing strikes and getting balls hit on the ground.

Should be an interesting contrast of styles. So that’s something to watch for.

And really, I don’t have much else. This team isn’t that much fun to watch right now.


114 Responses to “Game 32, Indians at Mariners”

  1. DMZ on May 6th, 2006 10:36 pm

    I saw 3 Indians fans on the bus in. But that’s a whole other story.

  2. patsfan on May 6th, 2006 11:00 pm

    94 – I was at a White Sox-M’s last year, Buehrle vs. Franklin. Gametime: 1 hr, 39 min. I spent slightly more time driving each way to the game than I did actually watching the game, it was unbelievable.

  3. PFK on May 7th, 2006 1:00 am

    OK, I’m not the student of the game all you guys are, but please explain to me why Joel’s stuff is gone, and his improving performances are not a case of someone both getting over an arm injury and learning to be a better pitcher. If we were certain he would go back down hill, then I understand why we’d want to trade him, but it seems to me that its very hard to project where his career path is going, so why do we want to trade him? Is he a free agent at the end of the year, or does he have another arbitration year? If we were to trade him, who would replace him in the rotation? And if we think we’ve got someone better waiting in the wings needing a chance to shine, why wouldn’t that person be better used replacing Meche rather than a traded Pinero. Finally, if we were to trade Pinero for a prospect, what position would you be looking to fill down the road?. Presumably we are pretty well set in the infield and at catcher for a few years, and unless the prospect is better than Choo, Jones, or Doyle for the outfield, what would we reasonably hope to get? I suppose if we could get a stud young pitcher prospect who could hopefully take a role in the rotation at low cost that would make sense, but those guys are hard to come by (and often don’t quite achieve that expected potential). I’m not sure the record of our scouting teams gives one hope for optimism: witness giving Yorvit away for someone we quickly dropped, ditto Thornton. Regarding Pinero, right now I’m feeling the bird in hand is worth two in the bush….

  4. joser on May 7th, 2006 2:08 am

    I don’t know that I would trade him now, or even in July, but it would be something to think about in the offseason. However, if the M’s are out of it in July and a contender comes calling… never say never.

    The people who know more about pitching than I do can answer your first question in detail, but to my eye he’s not the pitcher he used to be. His velocity isn’t there, and he’s not relying on blowing pitches by guys. He’s not the the Joel we might remember from a few years ago. Now, that may be a good thing: he seems to have learned (or is learning — the process doesn’t really end) to pitch with the arm he now has; some of his problems the last couple of years could be ascribed to him thinking he was still a different kind of pitcher, and trying to get guys out with a pitch he no longer had. He’s almost certainly not as good as his last two outings suggest — not many pitchers go 18 2/3 innngs (dating back three outings to April 26th) without giving up a walk — but his groundball tendency may be for real. I took his last outing with a grain of salt, because the Twins were in a bad place and it wasn’t clear how much of his performance was lucky timing with a team that — for the moment at least — had less offense than the Mariners. But Cleveland is as scary an offensive team as you’ll find in the AL, and he did it to them too. So it’s impressive, and even if it’s not completely sustainable it wouldn’t appear to be a fluke outing either. Maybe he really is the groundball guy many thought the M’s should trade for last offseason. Just don’t expect him to be quite this good for the rest of the season. It has been [url=]noted[/url] that when groundball pitchers don’t have their stuff working they tend to serve up the long ball (just ask Sizemore). And everybody has some games where their stuff isn’t working.

    As for Yorvit and Thornton — those “trades” were purely cosmetic. The M’s got a figleaf back to cover the fact that they were giving the player away because they couldn’t get much of anything for them. And in Yorvit’s case, they were accomodating him because he wanted to find a position where he had at least a shot at being a starter. I don’t think you can infer anything about M’s scouting or FO from either of those trades (other trades, well, that’s another story).

  5. VandalJeff on May 7th, 2006 8:14 am

    96 – The Mets seem to have lost Zambrano. I wonder what Pineiro might be worth to them.

  6. JMHawkins on May 7th, 2006 8:55 am

    Pineiro is another Moyer, but with a significantly better G/F rate

    Moyer 44 IP, 11 BB, 26 K, 6 HR, 56/64 GB/FB
    Pineiro 46 IP, 11 BB, 23 K, 7 HR, 77/41 GB/FB

    It seems like Pineiro lost his old stuff and found some new stuff. If he can keep this up, he’s better than a #4 guy.

  7. msb on May 7th, 2006 9:01 am

    Have the broadcasters given Raul a ridiculous nickname?

    you do know that it isn’t generally the broadcasters who assign stupid nicknames, don’t you? On the M’s, the only media-assigned name is “Every Day Eddie”, coming from a Minn. newspaperman.

    oh, and “King Felix” 🙂

  8. eponymous coward on May 7th, 2006 9:57 am

    I was seeing Piñeiro hit 91-92 on some of his fastballs…but he was throwing an 84-88 sinker a LOT more. And to be blunt, I’m not going to argue with that if it makes him a groundball pitcher less prone to walks.

  9. joealb on May 7th, 2006 10:13 am

    All hail the Junkballer! May he win 10 games by the break and be traded by July 31st. Lets not forget Joel is in the last year of his contract. Trade while value is high.

  10. dw on May 7th, 2006 10:20 am

    but please explain to me why Joel’s stuff is gone

    At some point in the last couple of years he hurt his arm and lost his velocity. Or, rather, he lost the ability to use his velocity effectively.

    If we were certain he would go back down hill, then I understand why we’d want to trade him, but it seems to me that its very hard to project where his career path is going, so why do we want to trade him?

    This is his walk year. And remember economics? Buy low, sell high, but sell while there’s still value. It is hard to project whether he’s showing repeatable skills or not, but why don’t we leave it up to the market to figure that out and get some nice parting gifts in the process? Right now, his value is increasing with each start. If the M’s really aren’t going anywhere this year, why don’t we get some value out of a peaking pitcher?

    It has been noted that when groundball pitchers don’t have their stuff working they tend to serve up the long ball (just ask Sizemore). And everybody has some games where their stuff isn’t working.

    So? Pineiro gave up one long ball yesterday. One. And this year, he’s only had one really bad game where it wasn’t working. I’m not sure at all what you’re getting at with this.

    He’s showing some repeatable skills. Yes, the walkless streak will come to an end, and we know he’s no Bob Tewksbury with walks. But he’s clearly learning to work with a paucity of skills — and learning to use them effectively. He’s not ever going to be Pedro, but he has value in the back of the rotation for a team that needs to bolster their pitching during their playoff run — if he continues to show his willingness to be patient and not make himself into what he’s not anymore.

    I wouldn’t mind if Joel ’06 hung around here in ’07, but I think of the shiny trinkets that the Cards or the Reds or the Tigers might be waving in front of our faces come July and I think that I’d rather have those than a Washburn-type contract for a guy with only real pitching success in his walk year.

  11. Matthew Carruth on May 7th, 2006 11:13 am

    Yes, yes, Joel’s lost 3-5 mph so he’s never going to be a power pitcher again. His old stuff is gone, but, small sample yes I know, he seems to have new stuff. And his new stuff seems to put him on a 5K, 2BB, 1HR track, which is adequate.

    And the small sample with his new stuff means that you CANNOT claim with any authority that the walks will come back while the Ks will not. Yes, he’s not going to be Carlos Silva circa last year, but there’s no indications yet he couldn’t hold walks under 2 per 9IP.

    Oh, and it’s not Joel’s walk year. Last year of his contract, but he’s still under Ms control through 2007.

  12. eponymous coward on May 7th, 2006 12:25 pm

    That arguably makes Joel more valuable, as it means a team acquiring him can either:

    – let him walk at the end of the year (and offer arbitration to get a draft pick)
    – sign him through arbitration for a one year deal at fairly low risk, if somewhat high dollar value (sort of like what the Indians did with Kevin Millwood in ’05- I would guess Piñeiro would fetch 6-8 million if he has a decent year this year)
    – extend him (like the White Sox did with Freddy)

    That being said…the M’s don’t have to trade him just quite yet, and there’s a decent case to be made for keeping him around, since it’s not like the farm system is flush with pitching, and I think it unlikely you’d fetch someone who’s ready to plug into a rotation in 2007 straight away back…so you’d end of looking for Piñeiro’s replacement on the FA market anyway(helllooo, Jarrod Washburn redux!) unless you decided to tank 2007. If Piñeiro’s effective this year with decent peripherals, there needs to be a really compelling reason to trade him (lik ZOMG!!!111 returns on the trade).

  13. The Ancient Mariner on May 7th, 2006 2:04 pm

    Re #93: dw, Guardado’s part of the team, too; you don’t get to take out his losses and rejigger things. And yes, the attendance is continuing to be better than ec guessed — but Dave didn’t say, “The fans will still turn out,” he said, “They aren’t that bad.” Well, they were, pretty much. I repeat, honors to ec.

  14. eponymous coward on May 7th, 2006 4:32 pm

    Oh, and on the attendance front:

    Last year’s weekend series with the Indians (late April): 109,660
    This year’s weekend series (early May): 97, 332

    Granted, that’s only a 12% dropoff…but still, over an entire year that takes the M’s attenddance down to 2.4 million or so, which is close to where I think the floor for the M’s is (that’s where Baltimore and Texas, comparable AL doormats in good stadiums and decently sized markets live). Comparing this year to last year in total attendance right now is tricky because there was already a Boston series and a Yankees series in 2005 (read: huge draw)…but the counter to that is those series will show up in August when the team might be all but mathematically eliminated, and demand for the tickets might be slack.

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