Week 7

DMZ · May 21, 2006 at 5:12 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

LLL in Oakland, WWW back home.

I went to both Saturday and Sunday games, and I was impressed by the crowds and the fact that they stuck around for almost the whole game. I’ve seen a lot of games these last few years where the fan erosion starts as early as the 6th, and the flood out the gates is at the top of the 8th.

The games against the Padres, who came into Seattle on a tear, probably bought Hargrove two weeks. Friday I’d have said it was a coin flip on whether he’d be here Monday, and if the Padres beat the team down it’d be certain. Of course, if those two weeks go badly, that’ll come down in a hurry

Random thoughts on this week
– Seeing Mike Cameron play center here for another team makes me sad. Even today, he ranges so far, so easily, that it’s sometimes suprising: I’d find him him camped out under a ball I’m used to thinking would be a double.
– Speaking of which, I get annoyed at the constant booing of Alex and weird love for Tino Martinez, but it’s really classy to see Cameron get a nice round of applause his first at-bat every day. His inability to hit well at Safeco Field over his career meant he had to fight for the respect he deserved, and it’s good to see he’s remembered well.
– Felix, whoever’s calling the pitches from the dugout… dude. The scouting report’s getting around. You can’t throw fastballs all the time, they’re onto it
– Gil Meche in the last week: 2-0, 13 IP, 11 H, 2 HR, 4 BB, 12K… but 7 runs allowed.
– I was a ways off, but I saw Sexson swing at some terrible-looking pitches
– So Reed had a wrist injury (which are notorious for sapping power, which Reed hasn’t shown much of to date), gets a lot of rest, and bam! He’s hitting well. He hit .280 with good power over the last week. I’d love to see him continue to hit
– Beltre’s driving me batty
– I wish sometimes that I could pay certain pundits to declare Ichiro “done” (and their many previous declarations of his done-ness finally redeemed), because everytime I read one of those, he goes on one of these tears. Over the last week he’s hitting .423 (with a walk and no power, but still).
– Lopez had an insane week: 13-25, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs (and 1 walk, 2 K). After seeing him struggle in his call-ups from 2004-2005, it’s been great to see him succeed, and even better, the fluff pieces show he’s turned his reputation in the organization almost entirely around (which also demonstrates that success has many parents)
– Everett continues to hit well. It’s not the “really kicking ass” that Bavasi said would be the only way he’d get his option to vest — and that looks more and more likely, unfortunately.
– The only explanation for those bizarre personal tidbits they throw up on the video screen is that the team got together and agreed to all give the weirdest answers possible.
“Hey, Ichiro, what are you going to put for your favorite movie?”
“Dunston Checks In.”
“Dude, that’s too obvious.”
“Miss Congeniality.”
“Oh, that is perfect. Kenji?”
“My first job was as a masseuse.”
“Good, good, that’ll help you with the women, too. What about you, Carl?”
“I thought about this for a while, and I decided I could really honk some people off and be funny.”
“Okay, what’s the joke?”
“I’m putting my favorite subject in school was math and science.”
(general applause)
– Johjima’s the 12th-best catcher in the majors using VORP, in large part because we haven’t seen the power we thought might turn him into an All-Star, and he’s 6-26 at throwing out baserunners, which will gradually lead to teams running on him more, and we’ll see if that holds up.


31 Responses to “Week 7”

  1. Deanna on May 21st, 2006 5:23 pm

    Yeah, I was sort of wondering about those favorites too.

    On the other hand, as I watched Chan Ho Park in his “bad” inning, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mike Cameron was getting a weird sense of deja vu, running back to the Safeco centerfield wall repeatedly to watch home run balls go flying over.

    And dammit, last year tons of little kids left their Little League posters behind so I could snag one, but this year I couldn’t find one anywhere.

  2. terry on May 21st, 2006 5:24 pm

    Hey theyre only 3 games out of first and a full 2.5 games ahead of LAA going into a stretch where they’ll being playing 20 games of *whose the biggest loser*….

    It’s possible that this team could be .500 on independence day and less than 5 games out of a playoff spot….. not bad for a team that frankly has sucked it up badly in so many ways… AND, persish the thought, has several money players who simply have to get hot….

  3. eponymous coward on May 21st, 2006 5:36 pm

    Everett continues to hit well. It’s not the “really kicking ass” that Bavasi said would be the only way he’d get his option to vest — and that looks more and more likely, unfortunately

    Yup. And with Ibañez and Ichiro, plus Reed, Jones and Doyle, there’s going to be a serious roster jam at some point. We’ve already seen part of it by waiving Lawton.

  4. ConorGlassey on May 21st, 2006 6:01 pm

    Yeah, I thought it was a little weird that Kenji’s first job was “A woman who gives massages professionally.” Is there something we don’t know?!?

  5. Mr. Egaas on May 21st, 2006 6:22 pm

    Interesting things coming up.

    We get the Major League Debut of Hayden Penn on Tuesday.

    Later on in the week we face a guy named Boof Bosner of the Twins, who made his debut today. We get Francisco Liriano too.


  6. Mat on May 21st, 2006 7:15 pm

    Later on in the week we face a guy named Boof Bosner of the Twins…

    Bonser. He legally changed his first name to Boof, which is kind of funny.

  7. DanO on May 21st, 2006 8:54 pm

    I still grind my teeth whenever I hear about Boof Bonser, Franscisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan. Can you believe the Giants gave *all three* of those guys up for a year of A.J. Pierzynski? Worst trade ever.

  8. The Ancient Mariner on May 21st, 2006 9:27 pm

    The funny thing is, Liriano was the throw-in in that deal . . .

  9. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 10:16 pm

    The Mariners have a pitching plan for Felix. It was appropriate for _last_ season, not this one. It isn’t working. Seven weeks into the season, the Ms haven’t adapted. This isn’t Chaves, or at least not primarily. But it’s so ‘Seattle Mariners’ as to induce vomiting, as in inflexible, unoriginal, and generally thick-headed as yer average stump.

    Johjima has an awful lot to handle; I’m not down on him. He’s in an entirely new level of baseball. He’s a catcher, a physically very demanding position. He has an entirely new staff of pitchers, in an entirely new league. The league is _much_ bigger than the old six team league he played in, so much more for a catcher to need to learn. He has an entirely new set of opposing pitchers to learn, in a tougher league, and far more of them. There’s the travel, not just an hour or two, but four timezone trips. We’re seeing the weight of that burden. It’s unfortunate that the Ms don’t have an experience catcher alongside him to give him some help with that; instead: Rene Rivera, rawest of rookies. Joe-Jim knows how to hit, it’s just that that’s the lowest priority for him at present, I suspect, and we see the results. Good ABs, but he’s working more to put the ball in play off unfamiliar pitchers. I don’t gripe over that, the talent’s there.

    Mike Cameron: free agent this offseason. I’m just saying.

    Brian Sabean never had much use for his farm system. His mandate from his owner was “Win now, and put butts in seats while you do it, we’ve got DEBT!” Ergo, Sabean brought in ‘well-thought of veterans’ to keep things going. He brought them in by eating draft choices and trading prospects. It is in exactly those circumstances that GMs tend to undervalue the guys they’ve got, and make horrendously mismatched trades; you’ll see this with almost all of ‘the worst trades in history’ of which the one for AJ ranks in the bottom five for sure. It’s the situation as much as the GM. “Win now” makes everyone stupid. It’s better to have a long-term plan, and the leeway from ownership to stick to it. Riley has that. Shapiro has that. Down in Atlanta, they had that. Beane has that. Sabean didn’t. I’m not saying that to stick up for Brian, I don’t care for him all that much as a GM, but that’s just how I see this one.

  10. dw on May 21st, 2006 10:17 pm

    So was Jeremy Bonderman in the Jeff Weaver deal.

  11. The Ancient Mariner on May 21st, 2006 10:23 pm

    No, Bonderman wasn’t a throw-in — for the Tigers, he was the key piece.

  12. dw on May 21st, 2006 10:23 pm

    Mike Cameron: free agent this offseason. I’m just saying.

    I love Cammy, but we’re paying league minimum for a guy who’s 90% Cammy’s glove, 95% of Cammy’s bat, and 24 years old. I’d rather stay with Reed until arbitration comes than spend ten times his salary on an aging Cammy.

  13. dw on May 21st, 2006 10:27 pm

    “August 22, 2002: [Bonderman] sent by the Oakland Athletics to the Detroit Tigers to complete an earlier deal made on July 5, 2002. The Oakland Athletics sent a player to be named later, Carlos Pena, and Franklyn German to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Ted Lilly, John-Ford Griffin, and Jason Arnold (minors) to the Oakland Athletics. The Detroit Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent cash to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Jeremy Bonderman (August 22, 2002) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade.”

  14. dw on May 21st, 2006 10:32 pm

    Actually, wait. Bonderman couldn’t be traded until August 22 because you have to be under contract a full year before you can be dealt. Never mind.

  15. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 10:39 pm

    Beltre and Sexson: those two words describe most of why the team is where it is. Add Guardado—or don’t: _subtract_ all three, and the W-L flips over the other way. I’m not going into a rant on that now, we’ll have plenty of time, and more certain perspective in mid-June. But it says a very great deal that the principle reasons this team is still floundering for the third year in a row are the major, veteran free agent signs over that time which were intended to provide an armature of superior talent to build around.

    . . . Not.

  16. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 10:45 pm

    Beane’s trade of Bonderman was rational. Jeremy Bee-Bee was a high-schooler, and raw enough it was clear that it would take 4-5 years to turn him into a useful guy. Beane evidently didn’t feel he could wait that long for his draft pick to pay off, or carry the injury risk either, and I’m not at all sure that he was wrong.

  17. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 10:52 pm

    Jeremy Reed is _not_ 90% of Cameron’s glove and bat. More like 85% of the one and 70% of the other, maybe. At present. We’ll talk about this in the offseason, I don’t doubt, but it is a stone certainty that Mike Cameron will substantially outproduce Reed at anytime. Mike isn’t young for his position, and that’s a concern. He’s hitting as well know as he ever has, and in exactly the same pattern; remember, Petco is cavernous. Cameron’s played his whole career in wretched parks for a RH pull hitter. I’m not trying to make a big ballyhoo for swapping out the two per se.

    But that’s just it: Cameron was, is, and will be the better player on both sides of the plate, and it really isn’t close. Adam Jones is coming, and when he’s here Reed will be a footnote in organizational history. Adam Jones _should_ be better with the bat than Mike, but it’s hard to be better in CF, and even so we’ll have to see several years of a very young Jones establishing himself as a hitter. And Jones won’t likely be here until late in ’07, or ’08. So.

  18. joser on May 21st, 2006 11:08 pm

    Worst trade ever.

    Really? For SF maybe. Remember, you’re addressing people who still remember Heathcliff Slocumb.

  19. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 11:33 pm

    On Ichiro: there was and is nothing wrong with him, whatsoever. Every year, he coasts and tinkers on things at the plate for the first 2-4 weeks. He has said this, in print. The only year he didn’t do this was his first year here when he was out to prove something to The World At Large. He was making less contact then usual this year to start, but the approach was the same—but the team was sinking in an ugly way, and he had to turn it on sooner than usual. From mid-April when he chose to go back to his usual game, he’s hit exactly like he always does during the bulk of the season.

    Now, if at some point Ichi is hitting in June or July like he does in most April’s, then we can go throuogh the what-gives’. But seriously. I mean, come on now. Ichiro does this _every_ year.

  20. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 11:39 pm

    Dave Niehaus has become a serious embarassment to the team, not to say to himself. I don’t see this as a big issue, but it’s, well, _embarassing_. Sad. He can’t keep the pitch count. He can’t see the field. He can’t see the ball in play. He’s unable to put names to faces on a minute by minute basis. That list could be extended, but that’s enough. His airtime is becoming a tasteless joke on the franchise, though it’s not like the ‘Haus isn’t trying: he still obviously loves what he’s doing.

    What terrifies me, as a lifelong radio listener, is that the org is all but certainly going to promote Rizzs to the lead announcer slot when someone does the merciful thing and cuts the power to Niehaus’ microphone. Rizzs isn’t the worst guy in the game, but that’s because there are so many truly TERRIBLE announcers he can’t fight his way through the thicket to even reach the commode. . . . I can’t listen to Rizzs on a game-by-game basis; just can’t. If they had the wit to use the [hopefully] impending departure of Niehaus to really reshape the announcing crew, and do something radical like hire Curto and pair him with Steve Stone, we could bask for hous in the result. But this being the Ms, and their hangers-on, I don’t see that.

  21. Evan on May 21st, 2006 11:48 pm

    Dave did lose track of how many outs there were in the second, today (he thought Richie’s K ended the inning), but in an inning that long I think we can forgive him.

    And I’d still rather have him than Hawk Harrelson.

  22. Mat on May 21st, 2006 11:50 pm

    It’s tough to say that the Pierzynski trade was the worst ever even without looking at the history books. At the time, A.J. was a 27-year old catcher coming off of a 7.5 win season. He really got off on the wrong foot with the Giants, but he wound up having something like a 3.5 win season for the Giants. He was still arb eligible, and fairly cheap, but the Giants let him go, which took away some of the value in getting him in the first place.

    Things broke just right for the Twins, though, and Nathan improved to being a 7.5 win/year relief pitcher, and Liriano overcame his injury issues to gain top prospect status. Bonser’s upside is being the next Kyle Lohse, so he doesn’t really change the value of the trade much.

    I think you could make a decent argument that, at the time, it was a pretty fair trade.

  23. Matthew Carruth on May 21st, 2006 11:52 pm

    “The games against the Padres, who came into Seattle on a tear, probably bought Hargrove two weeks.”

    Crap like this pisses me off. Either he’s the guy you want managing the team or he’s not. Someone for god’s sake make a decision. 3 games should have no bearing on it.


    Is Cameron going to become the new Griffey for Seattle fans? I wait with baited breath.

    A-Rod is a total tool and deserves to be booed everywhere he goes for being such a tool.

    I wonder if we could wrangle something interesting back with a Meche/Everett trade package.

  24. BelaXadux on May 21st, 2006 11:59 pm

    I’m with you on that, Mat, in that the Twins were taking on a great deal of _risk_ in the trade, at the time. Liriano was really, really young and coming off injury. Bonser is, too me, exactly what you paint him as here; pretty good stuff, but probably struggling to make the back end of the rotation. And Nathan had been ugly bad in SF, too. Add to that the fact that the Giants really needed an established starting catcher, and the circumstances at the time don’t seem quite that bad.

    OTOH Piersynski had a well-known, and completely earned rep as corrosive troublemaker. And the Twins were _going_ to move him, what with Mauer in line to start. In that sense, throwing in Liriano was the move one could really fault Sabean for: if he’d held out, there’s pretty good reason he could have swung the deal without putting Pedo el EL into it. But Brian just didn’t put any value at all on the guys he traded away, as far as I can tell. In the Foppert deal with the Ms, it looks like Sabean was right; in the deal with the Twins, he wasn’t.

    So the difference is outcome is dealing with Riley rather than Bavasi? (That’s too cruel, and I think not really accurate, but my fingers just had to type that.)

  25. BelaXadux on May 22nd, 2006 12:06 am

    Although having Randy Wynn basically beat the double-knits off Jeremy Reed this year and last doesn’t add any savor to the transaction in question.

  26. BelaXadux on May 22nd, 2006 1:13 am

    Re: A-Rod, I like him sitting exactly where he’s sitting. Furious George has gone and done it again, exactly what he did in the ’80s. In the ’70s and the mid-90s, he inherited a team built by competent baseball men, founded on a core of players out of the Yankees own farm system who played good D and executed at the plate. George the Stones snatched final authority away from his baseball men and started collecting famous bubblegum cards of aging greats, just to show, yah know, that he could buy anybody so What Does That Say Bout Me, Heyy? In both instances, first the defense broke down, ’cause George doesn’t care about that. Then the starting pitching got old, and creaky, and leaky. Then the farm system gave out almost all together under the pressure of ravaging trades, so that the oxygen supply of roster-filling talent was cut off. Then the aging sluggers started to get stuck to the trainers’ table, and when they got off they left their numbers glued inside there. Meanwhile, the budget was committed for years, and thoroughly shot.

    Here’s a prediction, and I’m usually cautious about the same: the Yankees are going to go off the cliff in the second half this year. Alex is stuck there for years, playing his quality game, putting up his quality numbers, playing the wrong position, out of the playoffs, bellying up to the camera after every third game to explain where he’s going to carry the team.

    . . . You go, Alex, “Lead, lead!” Since the money matters most, I hope that by the time this contract runs out he’s _begging_ to get another sniff of the post-season on any team that will take him. I don’t fault him for taking Hicks’ stacks o’ bills, but you can’t love him for it either, and his “Well trade me boys if that’s the best you can do” to Texas is even less reason to love his committment to his context.

  27. DanO on May 22nd, 2006 8:03 am

    OK, so maybe the Pierzynski wasn’t the worst trade in the history of the universe. In fact, when it happened, a lot of the folks in alt.sports.baseball.sf-giants (roughtly equivalent to USSM) were in favor of the trade. Nathan had bombed spectacularly in the playoffs the year before–IIRC, he looked so frazzled just making a pickoff throw that Alou pulled him in the middle of an at bat. The Giants didn’t think he had the guts to be a closer. Nonetheless, it’s amazing how badly that trade turned out for the Giants in the end.

    In fairness to Sabean, the horror of that trade was almost equally balanced by the glory of his Jason Schmidt theft, in which he got Schmidt for stars-to-be Armando Rios (best known for his association with BALCO) and Ryan Vogelsong (best known for his freakishly huge nostrils).

  28. dw on May 22nd, 2006 8:46 am

    But that’s just it: Cameron was, is, and will be the better player on both sides of the plate, and it really isn’t close.

    Cameron’s career batting left: .000/.000/.000
    Reed’s career batting right: .000/.000/.000

    Adam Jones _should_ be better with the bat than Mike, but it’s hard to be better in CF, and even so we’ll have to see several years of a very young Jones establishing himself as a hitter. And Jones won’t likely be here until late in ‘07, or ‘08. So.

    Well, Jones could be here in September, and he’ll compete for a job at Spring Training. It’s not that improbable that he’ll be on the opening day roster. Yeah, he probably won’t be, but he’s progressing well in Tacoma.

    And Jones will be another league minimum guy, just like Reed. Cameron is going to demand a $4-5M/year deal, and 34 at that. He’s an injury risk, and he hasn’t hit all that well in years. The guy that hit 30 HRs for the Mets is gone. PECOTA says he’ll hit 12 next year, 11 the year after that. It also says that Reed will hit 10 next year, 11 in 2008. And PECOTA also says that Reed should get better, even if he’s running in the 10th percentile right now; it has Cameron descending to retirement over the rest of the decade.

    Basically, you want to pay $4.5M for a guy who will hit like Jeremy Reed with a smidge more power, a few more walks, and an aging All-World glove. Let me simplify this: You’re paying $4.5M for Cammy’s glove. I’d rather spend it on pitching and wait a year while Reed, Jones, Doyle, and Choo finish fighting each other for roster spots. If there’s a still a need at the end of 2007, there will be plenty of options out there.

  29. terry on May 22nd, 2006 10:17 am

    #28: Pitching? Bull hooey…. we’ve got 12 pitchers on the active roster already….who needs more pitchers?

  30. msb on May 22nd, 2006 1:38 pm

    #9– and it is nice that the FO feeling is that this year (at least) any offense out of Joh is a bonus

  31. BelaXadux on May 23rd, 2006 12:41 am

    Why you’re calling MIke an injury risk I can’t imagine. He had a wrist injury in NY, since healed. He had a collision, highly unusual, since healed. Both of Mike’s years in NY were fine: he walked at his career rate, and actually slugged quite well. His batting average wasn’t much, but it never is, and Shea Stad was a bad place for him, just like here, just like Petco. Cameron’s hitting just as effectively down in San Diego now. Actually, Mike’s declined _less_ than I would have expected, although as I mentioned and you allude, he’s more and more a risk due to age every year going forward.

    The team has plenty of money; what it doesn’t have is plenty of production. If they team hired Cameron back, they’d squeal poverty, but I’m not going to make a phoney argument for them; he’s affordable. Continued ineptitude is what is _not_ affordable.

    I expect Adam Jones to get a September call-up this year, but I don’t see him as ready to contend for a spot next spring. He’s K-ing a ton, and not walking at all. Major league pitchers are going to exploit that, hugely; Jones has to refine his game at the plate. He’s till raw in CF. But more to the point, when was the last time that the Mariners gave a starting job to a rookie out of ST? This organization just doesn’t do that. Jones will get a long look in the Spring, then get sent back to Tacoma with a “Work hard and prove it to us, son” conversation. By the middle of ’07, if Jones is going well he’ll get called up and be given some real PT. If he does well with _that_, he’ll definitely be in the mix going into camp ’08. That’s how this org does it, and that timetable matches up fairly well with what Jones has to do to make it in the Bigs. This means that ’07 in CF is pretty much up for grabs. If Reed really hits solidly this year, he’s the guy, no question, ’cause he’s inexpensive and under team control. If Reed doesn’t hit well, the org will get another guy, bet on it. Rather than have the equivalent of Carl Everett brought in for one-and-a-vesting to put an ACE bandage around the position, I’d rather have a player or real ability signed. Jones could break in in LF, then slide over to CF at the right time, no problem.

    I’m just saying.

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