Gee, you think

Dave · May 18, 2006 at 6:55 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Now, I’m really not trying to criticize Jeff Pentland here. I’m sure he knows far more about hitting than I ever will. But, well, just read this comment about Beltre’s problems:

“I was looking at the tapes of the last four or five games, and it seemed to me he needed to cover more of the outside of the plate,” Pentland said. “I talked to him about it, and he said he’d move closer to the plate.”

The fact that the M’s hitting coach just noticed that Beltre’s not covering the outside of the plate well is just jaw dropping. We’ve been complaining about/making fun of Beltre’s inability to hit the outside pitch for the better part of 13 months now. And we’re just fans.


48 Responses to “Gee, you think”

  1. sonicez on May 18th, 2006 7:58 am

    Is it ok to start calling him Adrian “Brady Anderson” Beltre yet?

  2. dw on May 18th, 2006 8:08 am


  3. daveblev on May 18th, 2006 8:21 am

    Brady Anderson..haha, good one, talk about fluke. What made Adrian Beltre so good during the WBC? Maybe when Edgar was injured and unable to play 3B, there was some kinda hex placed on any M’s thirbasemen from that point..pre-Edgar days, Jim Presley had some pop at the hot corner…Mike Blowers had a few good years but was sent away…Russ Davis was not the answer, David Bell should have been resigned, Carlos Guillen kinda worked, kinda the same for Mark McLemore, Jeff Cirillo was a nightmare but had execellent glovework like Beltre, Justin Leone lit up the minors but didn’t do much of anything in his call-ups, Greg Dobbs..nope. Oh, let’s not forget Pat Borders played a 1-2 innings there under BoMel. WFB doesn’t belong on an AL roster (better off used as a pinch hitter for a pitcher in the NL). So yeah I think Beltre has fallen to the M’s 3B curse. I’d say move him to DH, but that would leave WFB at thirdbase…I see no hope for Mr. Adrian Beltre.

  4. msb on May 18th, 2006 8:21 am

    maybe what Jeff means is that he noticed that in the last 5 or so games Adrian has been stepping back somehow even farther than over the last 13 months…. maybe….

  5. Adam on May 18th, 2006 8:25 am

    Brady Anderson was atleast a very good player outside of his 96 year.

  6. Choska on May 18th, 2006 8:33 am

    Your last sentence, “And we’re just fans,” sums up the source of my discontent with the Ms. WE notice things with the players that you hope the coaches are noticing. WE track the performance of the players and offer informed opinions about signings and free agents. “WE”, frankly, are just amateurs, but WE get it right more often that the so-called professionals.

    The relationship between USS Mariner to the Mariners Front Office is nearly exactly equal to the relationship between the liberal bloggers at DailyKos and the Democrats in Washington. The fans are getting it right; the professionals are getting it wrong. (I suspect the situation is the same with the conservative blogs and the Republican party.)

    Nevertheless, I dropped $40 bucks a ticket to take my two kids to see the Ms on Saturday night. Shows how smart I am. I’m super interested to see the Padres call-up, Clay Hensley. The Mariners are offering the pitching stylings of Gil Meche, which is why I’m glad they also offer beer. The Mariner’s are also offering the Mariner Moose and ice cream, and that rocks the world of my 4-year-old and 2-year-old.

    (PS: Fantasy Baseball alert. Anthony Reyes was called up by the Cardinals for a start against the Royals on Saturday. Run, don’t walk, to your local waiver wire for a free W.)

  7. mycroft on May 18th, 2006 9:02 am

    I think we should resist the temptation to take this comment at face value. Sure, it makes us feel smart, but how realistic do you think it really is that Pentland just noticed this? I just don’t buy it.

    Please forgive me for going on a bit of a rant, but as much as I enjoy this forum, one criticism that I have is that there seems to be a willingness to believe conjectures that require that Hargrove, Bavasi, et al are too stupid to pound dirt. Somehow, they spent their lives around baseball, rose to the tops of their profession, and yet can’t be trusted to hold a box score right side up. I’m not saying that we should agree with everything they do. After all, booing the ump and ragging the manager are our time-honored rights as fans. Still, how stupid are we really willing to believe these folks are?

    So, what’s the alternative to believing Pentland’s comments? I wonder if he’s actually been pushing this on Beltre for a while, but Adrian has been resisting. Bringing it up now, could be an indication that Beltre’s finally willing to try it. Given that Hargove and Beltre apparently had a private meeting recently and given that they pinch-hit for Beltre last night, maybe it also allows a little face-saving a la “Adrian’s not broken. He just needs to tweak his stance. We’ll work on it for a few days and see what happens.”

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. And despite my rant, thanks to everyone for keeping such an interesting site vital.

  8. chrisisasavage on May 18th, 2006 9:06 am

    What positions can the Mariner Moose play? Can he pitch? I’m sure there’s somebody on the team he’d be an improvment over.

  9. overmanb on May 18th, 2006 9:08 am

    What frustrates me about this is it does nothing to address his pull-happy tendencies. Ever consider using the whole field? That’ll raise your average and give you better pitches to hit, being that you’d no longer be pitched ‘away, away, away.’ Just my 2 cents… 🙂

  10. DMZ on May 18th, 2006 9:10 am

    one criticism that I have is that there seems to be a willingness to believe conjectures that require that Hargrove, Bavasi, et al are too stupid to pound dirt.

    One criticism I have is that there seems to be a willingness to take criticism, even balanced criticism, of players or front-office figures as bashing or as personal attacks.

    We have, time and again, tried to say that as with all jobs and people, there are things Bavasi, Hargrove, and others do well, and things they’re not as good at. That Hargrove’s running the team out of innnings and games doesn’t mean we think he’s dumb as a brick. It does mean he’s making a bad decision.

  11. bergamot on May 18th, 2006 9:18 am

    8: The Moose would make an excellent batter. His large eyes pick up the spin of the pitch, and his antlers cover the plate better than Beltre’s bat. His enthusiasm would make him a perfect candidate for Igniter, should anything happen to WFB. Don’t know about his fielding, though, and he’s never shown any real foot speed. The Moose may be a one-tool player.

  12. Gomez on May 18th, 2006 9:21 am

    Yes, certain decisions are dumb as bricks. Well, actually, with Hargrove, many of his personnel and game decisions are dumb as bricks.

    I think it speaks volumes that since Pentland, who is supposed to specialize in making sluggers great, has arrived, Sexson and Beltre have sucked more than they ever have in their careers.

    FWIW, Richie’s struggles all seem to be mental. His swing looks fine. He’s just sitting on too many borderline pitches and getting behind in the count, then taking swings at bad pitches out of necessity, beating himself before the pitcher does.

  13. Aaron on May 18th, 2006 9:33 am

    SI’s chart of Beltre’s ‘power.’

    So sad.

    He’s got a very narrow zone with any sort of power at all, and even that resembles Tony freakin’ Womak.

  14. leetinsleyfanclub on May 18th, 2006 9:35 am


    I totally agree with you that Hargrove, Bavasi, etc. aren’t as stupid as people think. How could they be and be where they are? What they are, however, are they are extremely cautious and dull in the public eye because that’s what Howard Lincoln wants. They are completely vanilla about what they say, how they say it, and when they say it. I understand that they can’t just open up and rant or be real specific about everything because they have to protect the players. But, unfortunately for them, perception is reality and most fans think Hargrove is a dunderhead due to his comatose appearance, boring press conferences, and general avoidance of showing any passion or emotion. Thus, when he does make mistakes (and he makes plenty) they come across worse because the general perception is that he’s an inside-the-box thinking old codger who is just going through the motions without really caring. The beauty of Lou Piniella was his passion. You knew he cared because he didn’t tolerate losing. He wore his frustration of his sleeve for all to see. Melvin, Hargrove, and Bavasi are the opposite. They may want to win, but they are far more concerned with being polished in front of the media than they are in showing any emotion. They don’t want to do or say the wrong thing for fear of embarrassing the organization. We already know that Lou and Lincoln had confrontations over Lou’s “political incorrectness”. Lincoln hand-picked these guys to be yes-men and represent the team well in the public eye. Yes, they are smart guys, but more importantly, they are good soldiers. As a result, they have no connection with the fans or media and are constantly second-guessed because of it. Of course, that’s not the only reason they are second guessed. Getting their teeth kicked in every night doesn’t help matters any.

  15. plivengood on May 18th, 2006 9:37 am

    mycroft, I don’t buy this comment at face value, either, but if you read what Dave wrote, I don’t think he really does either (“I’m really not trying to criticize Jeff Pentland here. I’m sure he knows far more about hitting than I ever will. But . . .”). It’s just a really dumb thing to say publicly, because there aren’t many ways to look at it at “face value” and not conclude he’s not really doing his job and/or is thick as a brick. It requires speculation (reasonable speculation, mind you) that perhaps saying this publicly is part of a longer process designed to move a resistant Beltre to change his approach, or perhaps something else, in order to avoid that conclusion.

    And to Choska, following your USSM/Mariner FO = DailyKos/Democrats in Washington analogy — I like the analogy, but just as there is far more going on in Washington than even the average amateur politico knows, there is probably a lot more going on behind the scenes in the Mariner FO that we don’t know. I think one of the lessons of the two “Feeds” with Bavasi is that he is far more tuned in to the stuff we talk about here than we thought, and that decisions we don’t like are often made for unseen, and reasonable, reasons that aren’t readily apparent. Maybe I’m just agreeing with mycroft’s “maybe these guys aren’t dumb as posts” rant to some extent (and maybe his rant was more of a reaction to your comment than Dave’s post), but let’s step away from the ledge a bit, folks.

  16. Evan on May 18th, 2006 9:46 am

    FWIW, Richie’s struggles all seem to be mental. His swing looks fine. He’s just sitting on too many borderline pitches and getting behind in the count, then taking swings at bad pitches out of necessity, beating himself before the pitcher does.

    The umpiring has been dreadful this season. Richie has always been victimised by the low strike because umps forget how tall he is, but now they’re calling strikes that he couldn’t possibly hit if he tried.

    I blame most of Richie’s struggles on some lousy umpiring which has lead him to be entirely unsure what’s a ball and what’s a strike.

  17. Brian Rust on May 18th, 2006 9:54 am

    I think mycroft (#7) is spot on: We should resist the temptation to take Pentland’s comment at face value. Furthermore, we should resist the temptation to read into it any more than is actually there.

    Dave makes a huge inferential leap from the quotation, likely offered (as mycroft observed) with carefully-measured sensitivityto the player, to his declaration as “fact” that the coach “just noticed” a weakness many have observed for a long time.

    And I highly doubt the coaches are “cautious and dull in public” just because top management wants yes-men. I believe they’re classy enough gentlemen to avoid trashing in the press players who are honestly trying hard to succeed.

  18. Dan W on May 18th, 2006 9:58 am

    Hey – even I said “Beltre should crowd the plate more” on a game thread a week or two ago, and I know far less about hitting than even Dave, let alone Pentland, or Hargrove, or Beltre, or.. oh forget it.

    AB needs to go all Bonds on us and force pitchers to back him off. Pitchers don’t even have to work very hard to get him out. Who’s in charge anyway?

  19. jtopps on May 18th, 2006 10:03 am

    I’m done with the Moose. Its time to sell high, folks! We can bring up Rhubarb and maybe the Moose can get some starting pitching in return…

    Maybe Mussina?

  20. Mat on May 18th, 2006 10:23 am

    Hey, and if he moves closer to the plate, he might increase his HBP rate and inch that OBP up a little more. I like this plan more and more the longer I think about it.

  21. Dave in Palo Alto on May 18th, 2006 10:23 am

    I’m afraid that the end result of Beltre standing closer to the dish will be even more lunging at low outside pitches.

  22. msb on May 18th, 2006 10:31 am

    he might get more HBP….

  23. John in NV on May 18th, 2006 10:37 am

    1) Seemed like he was resisting the urge to swing at low and away then for whatever reason fell back into same bad swings — hence perhaps Pentland comments? Some of those pitches are so low and away that he can’t even take them the other way.

    2) I agree that they are “dumb decisions, not necessarily dumb people” but the whole argument that these guys could not hold these positions without some great abilities and that fans are giving them too much of the blame reminds me of Watergate, too.

  24. Seth on May 18th, 2006 10:39 am

    Beltre’s trying to pull everything, which is why he can’t cover the outside. If he moves inside, which he’s done before, teams will tie him up inside.

    But neither of these things address the key problem–he swings at too many bad pitches that his bat isn’t fast enough reach. He ain’t Vlad. And pitchers have stopped throwing him strikes. Has he ever seen that Ted Williams strike zone chart? If I were Pentland, I’d tattoo that on my ass and moon Beltre at frequent intervals.

  25. msb on May 18th, 2006 10:54 am

    I don’t know how I missed this before, but over at, Willie has an article about the need for speed … “we make a point of trying to be aggressive and take the extra base when we can. It creates gaps and opens up holes for the hitters. It just adds a whole new dimension to our game.”

  26. msb on May 18th, 2006 10:55 am

    dangit. WFB.

  27. Gomez on May 18th, 2006 11:01 am

    Richie has a great golf swing with power, and I agree that his grandfather clock strike zone makes him prone to strikeouts. But at this point he’s sitting on everything early in the count, and even on many pitches at two strikes. The umps are calling low strikes that might not be in the zone, and that’s gonna happen, but it’s not like these strikes are getting called at the ankles. Because he has a longer frame, it’s gonna seem like those low strikes are out of reach. But I remember him golfing many of those low strikes (some of them at the shins) into the gaps and into the seats last year. He’s not even swinging at any of them this year.

    Richie’s gonna get screwed on strike calls, but it’s not fair to lay all the blame for his struggles on umpiring. He’s not swinging at low strikes, but he’s not swinging at high strikes either. If you’re not gonna get the calls on borderline pitches, swing at them! Don’t leave your fate in the umpire’s hands any more than you have to.

  28. dkulich44 on May 18th, 2006 11:09 am

    I brought this up a little while ago, but it seems like Beltre is really scared of anything near him at the plate. Is there any way to find out if he got hit by a pitch anytime between ’04 and now? Watch him bail on curves on the inner half of the plate, strikes or balls and you can clearly see he doesn’t want anything to do with balls close to him.

  29. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 11:11 am

    Would this be a bad time to mention that Justin Leone is leading the PCL in home runs, batting 309/401/568 (he signed a minor league contract with San Diego after the M’s let him go)?

  30. Jack Howland on May 18th, 2006 11:19 am

    Perhaps Willie’s next article can focus on how his MLB best streak of 19 stolen bases fell. Perhaps he wasn’t “paying attention”.

    He could also enlighten us on how he decides when and when not to hit ahead in the count 3-0.

  31. CSG on May 18th, 2006 11:46 am

    re: #29

    Leone’s also in at least his third year at AAA, where he’s already proven himself, at least somewhat, and this weakens the validity of his stats there.

  32. DMZ on May 18th, 2006 11:54 am

    What? No it doesn’t. Stats are stats. Repeating doesn’t discount his statistics, certainly not as much as you imply.

  33. Mike Snow on May 18th, 2006 12:09 pm

    Fundamentally, the reason you “discount” statistics when somebody repeats a level is because they’re supposed to be young and inexperienced the first time, therefore some improvement is expected from additional growth and experience. This primarily applies to the early, steep phase of the development curve. Leone is 28 and has spent time in the majors. His curve has flattened out.

    It’s not because repeating a level indicates that the player is somehow worse than he used to be. If the competition at the level is of the same quality as before, the statistics are just as meaningful. After all, we don’t conclude that “repeating” in the majors means you should get less credit for your performance. Don’t discount the statistics, just translate them to what they would be at the major league level.

  34. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 12:09 pm

    I’d guess the fact that Hargrove gave Willie a talking to after he swung 3-0 means Willie missed a sign.

  35. Jack Howland on May 18th, 2006 12:18 pm

    34 – I heard Hendu say that last night. Exactly what sign would he have missed? The “WFB swing 3-0” sign doesn’t exist? He may have wandered back into the dugout claiming to have missed a sign, but I have little doubt that he did it on his own.

  36. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 12:27 pm

    He missed the take sign. Or if there’s a swing sign he misread it. It makes no sense that he would have decided on his own to swing — he may not be a very good hitter but can he be that stupidly arrogant? Is there anything that would cause you to believe he is? Swearing at the batting cage or wanting to be a starter doesn’t equal stupid.

  37. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 12:32 pm

    OK, having now read the WFB link posted in 26 I take it back. His article includes this insight about Ichiro:

    It’s nice to have him on our team for sure.


    I really like Richie Sexson, too, but I don’t think I really want him trying to swipe third when the game is on the line

  38. little joey on May 18th, 2006 12:32 pm

    28- I can’t help but cringe when I think about what Leone could have done in place of Cirillo, then Beltre. He was capable of no worse than league average performace at the minimum. His defense is solid, he hits the ball hard, and he has an idea of what he’s doing at the plate, which no Mariner third baseman has had, since… Edgar?

    Happily, I live in Portland and have seen him a couple times. He really stands out on a Beavers team with enormous sluggers that can’t field or hit their weight- guys like Jack Cust, John Knott, McNaulty, and even Walter Young. That’s a pretty lousy pounds/defensive value ratio.

  39. patl on May 18th, 2006 12:44 pm

    #38, don’t forget, he has a really pretty swing. Isn’t that his prime skill?

  40. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 1:04 pm

    I think you’re confusing him with Greg Dobbs. Leone can actually hit.

  41. LB on May 18th, 2006 4:19 pm

    #14: The beauty of Lou Piniella was his passion. You knew he cared because he didn’t tolerate losing.

    Yeah, and Lou’s passion for winning and intolerance for losing sure did great things for the Devil Rays.

  42. BelaXadux on May 18th, 2006 5:25 pm

    I doubt that Pentland only just saw Adrian wasn’t covering the outside half; in fact, I suspect he’s been on Beltre about that since early in ST. Beltre has gone back to flailing in the last two weeks, and doubtless the media are all over Pentland about it (and Sexson’s struggles, too). Pentland may feel a need to ‘give them something,’ both as an explanation and to keep the orientation on “We’re working on it” rather than on “Beltre: the Bust, Pt. II.” Then again, the fact that he’s talking about it in the press may be a method of putting a little more pressure on AB at this point to, you know, GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Or something.

    Pentland has generally impressed me. But I don’t think in the end he’ll save Beltre.

  43. Calderon on May 18th, 2006 6:20 pm

    It’s short sighted and insulting to look at Lou Piniella’s three years in Tampa, but ignore his 11 out of 19 winning seasons,or his 1519 career wins. I realize that most of you were in grade school when Sweet Lou was the M’s skipper. Hargrove’s incompetence is proof of the importance of a manager.

  44. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 6:28 pm

    Since the nadir (April 16) as John in LA would tell us, Beltre is batting 255 with 2 HR and 5 2B and 11 RBI in 102 AB. He has 8 BB and 20 K, and is slugging 363. All of which is about comparable to last year’s mediocre performance.

  45. Ralph Malph on May 18th, 2006 6:33 pm

    Sure, Lou did a fine job here but I’m sick of hearing people say “if only Lou was here”. Hargrove sucks and the sooner he’s fired the better, but Lou is history.

    And the reason Lou was a good manager isn’t because he showed emotion and throws bases. A manager’s job isn’t to show emotion. Give me a manager who makes good decisions — writes good lineups, makes good in-game moves, uses his roster right, knows how to be a teacher to young players, and quietly demands execution from his players and I’ll be happy. I don’t care if he’s a statue in the dugout.

    Baseball isn’t a game of emotion. It’s a game of execution.

  46. eponymous coward on May 18th, 2006 6:56 pm

    I think the point is that managers aren’t fairy dust. There’d be a posse to fire Lou if he’d stayed, because Lou wouldn’t have turned Spiezio/WFB/etc. into talent.

    I submit as evidence Tampa Bay, and an innumerable number of crappy teams managed by HOF managers.

  47. mstaples on May 18th, 2006 10:08 pm

    Re: Post 42:

    What has Pentland done to impress you? I mean that as an actual question and not a slam. (Jose Lopez comes to mind as a possible example.)

  48. MickeyZ on May 19th, 2006 7:45 am

    I agree with 47. I don’t know how you can be impressed with Pentland given the overall crappy hitting the Mariners are doing. At his current rate, Bentacourt could reach 600 abs and not walk 5 times. Lopez isn’t walking much himself, Reed hasn’t developed, Sexson and Beltre are struggling in invisible quicksand. What has Pentland done to make himself look effective?

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