Brutal

Dave · July 16, 2006 at 2:06 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

In the past two days, the Mariner bullpen pitched 11 innings, almost all of which were extremly high leverage situations where failure would equal an immediate loss. The distribution of those innings, thanks to the amazing Mike Hargrove:

Julio Mateo, 2 2/3 IP
Emiliano Fruto, 2 2/3 IP
Mark Lowe, 2 1/3 IP
George Sherrill, 1 1/3 IP
Rafael Soriano, 1 IP
Jake Woods, 1 IP

J.J. Putz, 0 IP

The Mariners can talk about his leadership, his experience, his motivational skills, whatever they want. However, this series was bullpen mismanagement of catastrophic levels.

Seriously, just an absolutely awful piece of managing by Mike Hargrove. Major League franchises don’t penalize their managers for poor in game strategy, but when a guy lacks basic understanding of fundamental principles, he simply can’t be allowed to continue to perform them.

Mike Hargrove is the in-game strategist equivalent of General Custer. I, for one, can’t wait for the last stand.

Comments

151 Responses to “Brutal”

  1. terry on July 16th, 2006 2:14 pm

    I will bit one million dollars for the right to be the first guy to sign the fire Hargrove petition….

  2. scraps on July 16th, 2006 2:15 pm

    What sucks is that the team continues to play pretty well despite him, but they haven’t got a real shot till he gets fired. They have to suck for a good while for Hargrove to get fired, evidently. Once they’ve done that, there’s no guarantee they will go back to playing well, this year or next; or even if they do, no guarantee that the circumstances will line up as well, with the rest of the division so beatable. This is an opportunity being royally squandered. Opportunities simply don’t come along every year for mediocre teams. This could have been a special season despite a lack of overwhelming talent. Instead, we have to wait for Hargrove to get fired, which will be accompanied by Bavasi being fired at the end of the year, and starting over with who knows who and who knows what organizational philiosophy, and god knows how long till the next opportunity comes along.

    It’s frustrating, and sad.

  3. terry on July 16th, 2006 2:15 pm

    bit=bid

  4. tgf on July 16th, 2006 2:16 pm

    I wonder how many games the Mariners will end up losing the division by, and how many games Hargrove will have end up costing them this season.

  5. IdahoInvader on July 16th, 2006 2:19 pm

    Great article

    Although I don’t think even Custer was THAT inept

  6. msb on July 16th, 2006 2:33 pm

    Drayer just said that JJ was up 3-5 times yesterday (depending on who you talk to) and twice today, both times without getting in

  7. Bilbo on July 16th, 2006 2:33 pm

    Well, I can understand not using JJ because he is our closer and the M’s never had the lead in the last two games.

    /sarcasm and Hargrove logic

  8. phil333 on July 16th, 2006 2:38 pm

    Yeah this was pretty bad.

  9. carcinogen on July 16th, 2006 2:38 pm

    #2 is right. I’m sure the Mariner’s are obeying the “you don’t switch horses in the middle….” or some such nonsense. It would take an extreme stretch of creativity and proactivity for the M’s to fire Hargrove.

  10. nfreakct on July 16th, 2006 2:39 pm

    What kind of logic drives baseball where teams won’t fire managers for bad (frankly brain-dead) in-game management? That’s insane, there’s no area where managers have a more visible effect than in-game management and bullpen management seems to the specific area where managers can do the most damange (literally in this case).

    Honestly, at this point Dave what would it take for the M’s to fire Hargrove?

  11. darrylzero on July 16th, 2006 2:58 pm

    I think it’s safe to guarantee that if we’d seen Putz yesterday and today we would definitely have won one of those games.

  12. darrylzero on July 16th, 2006 3:01 pm

    We have it on pretty good authority that Rohn is going to get a chance after Hargrove, right? Or at least that it’s the most likely at this point? Who else would folks like to see the M’s go after?

  13. pablothegreat on July 16th, 2006 3:10 pm

    Most of the ire in this thread and the game thread was directed at Hargrove’s misuse of Putz. My rage over the last two games made me blind to the fact that Hargrove barely used Soriano. That’s terrible. I remember being upset over a poorly managed Minnesota series awhile ago but that just doesn’t compare to the mismanagement of the pitching staff and the bench in this series. Terrible. The Mariners are just four games out of first place. It is safe to say that if the Mariners had an average manager they would be in first place. That might be the most frustrating part of this whole mess.

  14. mark s. on July 16th, 2006 3:11 pm

    is there any hope in the thought, “every lose gets us closer to seeing Hargrove fired”?

  15. Oly Rainiers Fan on July 16th, 2006 3:13 pm

    Look, I know we all want him gone.

    The line here the past couple years though has sort of been that managers don’t make that much of a difference. Of course, THIS manager is so frustrating he can push anybody over the edge. But really, there’s always second-guessing of every manager (and GM), most especially after a loss. I’m just wondering how many losses folks are willing to lay at the feet of Hargrove (not on an emotional level, but on an actual ‘compared to a different manager’ level). I mean, if player Y pitches lights out instead of giving up a homerun, or player X gets a hit instead of striking out, maybe he looks like a genius instead of a piss-poor manager.

    Management is one of those things that is really hard to quantify. One of the presentations I went to at the SABR convention tried to do it based on 5 different metrics, and in that presentation our dear Lou Piniella came up as #19 on the worst managers of all time as far as team offensive performance. Hargrove didn’t make any of the top 20 or bottom 20 in any of the lists. (Joe Torre, by comparison, made the top 30 in all 5 categories while Tony LaRussa came out #5 all time overall best).

  16. darrylzero on July 16th, 2006 3:19 pm

    I think we can say we 100% would have won at least one of these two games, in my opinion near 100% would have won 7/2 against the Rockies. I see at least two other probable wins, and a number of others we would have had a good shot at. So, it’s not scientific, but I’m saying between 3-6 games, and that’s giving Hargrove the benefit of the doubt about not giving up on Guardado-as-closer earlier than he did.

    I think the odds are very good that we could be leading the division if managed well.

  17. darrylzero on July 16th, 2006 3:19 pm

    OK, maybe it’s not 100%, but I just can’t see us losing both of these last two games with better bullpen management.

  18. pinball1973 on July 16th, 2006 3:29 pm

    The ultimate pisser is that the team is just good enough to do something like sweep the Yankees and pull this Human Run Destroyer’s nuts out of the firing AGAIN.

    Bob Melvin would have us in first place by three games with this team: that’s how bad Hargove is. Of course, Ichiro, Ibanez, and Moyer using a ouiji board might have us FOUR games in front.

  19. loki on July 16th, 2006 3:36 pm

    Is there any concern perhaps that Putz has been over-used? It’d be nice if we could put him in the game any time it’s close or tied or a high-leverage situation, but obviously you can’t always do that. Maybe they want to conserve him a bit after using him for 40+ innings of work in the first half? Maybe Hargrove thinks he won’t perform as well in non-save situations? (There’s probably some evidence to back that up, but I’m not really interested in making that argument for him.)

    That being said, I was pretty bummed that we brought in Mateo today instead of Putz in the 11th. Mateo got surprisingly good results yesterday in an extended session but it was unlikely to work out so well this time. Putz was the obvious choice after being left unused yesterday. If we get out of the 11th and still don’t manage to grab a lead in the 12th, you can continue to use Putz in another high-leverage non-save situation and then bring Mateo or whoever is left in for the 13th. Maybe not ideal, but you figure you’ll at least _get_ to the 13th that way.

    Arg. Losing sucks — especially in back-to-back extra-innings games. It was nice to be in both games, but it does lead to questioning every move that was made to figure out if we should have/could have won. In this case, there’s no guarantee we’d have won by using Putz in either game, but there’s a high likelihood we’d have made it another inning or two with him in there.

    I guess I don’t really have a point to make, I just wanted to speculate/rant.

  20. eponymous coward on July 16th, 2006 3:41 pm

    Mike Hargrove, graduate of the Bob Brenly School of Major League Managers. (I think Bob Melvin teaches there.)

  21. loki on July 16th, 2006 3:41 pm

    Oh, and while I’m at it — what’s up with Oakland? They swept the Yankees in NY and now they take 3 of 4 from the Red Sox in Boston? But they get shut out twice _in_ Colorado and then get swept by the Diamondbacks in 3?

    Sometimes, I hate baseball.

    Sincerely — a frustrated Seattle/Boston fan.

  22. Karen on July 16th, 2006 3:44 pm

    The M’s front office is probably STILL parsing out what Ichiro! meant by his tree/roots analogy. In other words, nothing happenin’ in the foreseeable future… Ichiro needs to have a tantrum.

    #12 We have it on pretty good authority that Rohn is going to get a chance after Hargrove, right? Or at least that it’s the most likely at this point?

    Is that true? Or is it possible the reason nothing has been done about Hargrove yet is because the M’s FO have NO idea who they might tag as interim manager for this year?

  23. darrylzero on July 16th, 2006 3:46 pm

    I just remember hearing folks here reporting that Bavasi really liked Rohn and was likely to give him a chance after Hargrove. But I could be overstating the issue.

  24. JAS on July 16th, 2006 3:55 pm

    How many degrees of separation are there between the “voices” and perpetrators on this blog and M’s management? I have fleeting fantasies of a cohesive analysis making its way through myriad layers of baseball beauracracy till finally it reaches a sage mind otherwise incapable of independently deriving said wisdom….

  25. rcc on July 16th, 2006 4:23 pm

    Major props once again to the boys running this fine site. Your recent posts are “on fire”….keep up the fine work. My contribution is take note that the M’s have slipped into fourth place, as the surging Angels from someplace in Southern California have moved into third. So long as Everett remains the DH, and Hargrove remains Manager this is where the M’s will stay.

    I think it highly unlikely that the M’s with its current leadership can pass three clubs…in fact I believe they will be looking up at the rest of the division for the remainder of this year….only then will Hargrove be put out to pasture.

  26. NBarnes on July 16th, 2006 4:38 pm

    What I would really like to see come out of the Hargrove Experience is some idea how you can predict and perhaps even deflect awful managers before they OMGWTF your season. Was Hargrove like this in Cleveland? How could we tell?

    Do the records exist such that a person could extract the Leverage Index distribution between Cleveland’s bullpen pitchers in some way? I’m thinking of checking the observable quality of the bullpen versus how they were deployed in-game via Leverage Index.

  27. Eleven11 on July 16th, 2006 4:57 pm

    Exactly the right posting. My wife is not talking to me because instead of driving I was pounding the wheel screaming to get “Gas Can” Mateo out and Putz in…shut it down now!!! It will blow me away if Grover gets the axe and C Rex gets DFA’d. I think they like both of them and see nothing wrong. Young team developing and all that s__t!

  28. Hooligan on July 16th, 2006 5:17 pm

    The most frustrating part of this predicament is that none of us have any recourse. It is obvious that Bavasi either:

    a) Doesn’t notice how unforgivable Hargrove’s decisions are
    b) Is too gutless to do anything about it, or
    c) He doesn’t have the authority to fire Hargrove (unless the team tanks)

    No matter which of the three it is, I’m sick of this. I’m sick of the dreary game threads, I’m sick of all the complaining we do (but can’t stop), and I’m tired of seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. If the team performs well, he stays (why?), and if the team struggles, we can kiss our pathetic hopes for a playoff run goodbye.

    Most of all, though, I’m sick of knowing that there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Being a Mariner fan with Hargrove at the helm is like being trapped in the back seat of a taxi with a drunk at the wheel. Yeah, it’s my fault for jumping on board, but I didn’t imagine it would be like this.

  29. colm on July 16th, 2006 5:32 pm

    Where could I look to find the Mariners’ record in 1 run games?
    That seems to me a possible indicator of managerial nous – an area in which our rock-dumb ‘leader’ is sorely lacking.

  30. eponymous coward on July 16th, 2006 5:33 pm

    I suspect Bavasi doesn’t have a long leash as GM, nor is he going to sandbag his manager- that’s not his style.

    The scenario where Hargrove goes is that Bavasi’s replacement as GM brings in his own guy,

  31. Eleven11 on July 16th, 2006 5:43 pm

    That’s what I have also thought although I am not convinced that a fourth place finish will finish Bavasi. I suspect things are fine at M’s HQ, no reason to panic, attendence is within tolerance, young players etc. On another topic, I also dread this trading deadline. Bavasi has not covered himself in glory with trades, the state of the team and minors is fragile yet, a bad deal may be worse than no deal, frankly. It is sad to write that because I also think that now, not a week from now is the time to close team holes and stabilize this thing.

  32. gag harbor on July 16th, 2006 6:01 pm

    I’ve been curious if the M’s front office logs onto USSM and if they pay any attention to Dave’s or other authors’ or bloggers’ comments. I’d like to assume they already know everthing they need to know but certain actions or inactions suggest otherwise. Here’s to hoping the problem is realized and fire Hargrove! It’s kinda scary that Grady Little was their “other favorite” choice at the time Hargrove was hired. How can they be willing to spend millions on players and then let them be managed by a bad manager?

  33. Mike G. on July 16th, 2006 7:08 pm

    29

    Seattle in 1-run games: 8-14

    Courtesy of MLB.com

  34. crazysob on July 16th, 2006 7:21 pm

    Those good years Hargrove had in Cleveland helped him last this long in MLB.

  35. Tek Jansen on July 16th, 2006 7:23 pm

    Does anyone have any word on whether or not Hargrove addressed Putz’s non-usage over the previous two days?

    Why do I have the feeling that Putz will end up pitching in blowouts in NY in which the M’s are on the losing end to keep fresh?

  36. Mike G. on July 16th, 2006 7:27 pm

    Again courtesy of MLB.com:

    “Mateo was in the game because closer J.J. Putz warmed up three times during Saturday’s loss and was deemed unavailable by Hargrove on Sunday.”

  37. pablothegreat on July 16th, 2006 7:32 pm

    It’s Hargrove’s fault that he warmed up three times without entering the game. Also, there seems to me to be a serious problem for Hargrove. He got him up to warm up a third time to put him in the game. If he was so tired after warming up a third time yesterday that he couldn’t pitch today, how could Hargrove have put him in yesterday?

  38. Tek Jansen on July 16th, 2006 7:32 pm

    That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. I don’t mean you, Mike G., but the M’s, specifically Hargrove’s, rationale. Grover burns out his best reliever without using him in the game. That is the equivalent of having a thoroughbred racehorse sprint from stable to starting gate and then being too tired to run a mile and 1/4. The trainer and jockey would be fired.

  39. Josh on July 16th, 2006 7:40 pm

    Great post, Dave. I also enjoyed (or at least concurred) with your points in today’s game thread.

    Honestly, to those who think that this team is playing well in spite of Hargrove, I beg to differ. Sure, they played well during most of their interleague stretch, but since coming home to finish that up it’s gone to the tune of:

    1-2 vs. Colorado
    0-3 vs. L.A. Angels
    1-2 vs. Detroit
    1-2 at Toronto

    I don’t consider 3-9 to be good under any circumstances, even when fighting against odds thanks your manager. I say that, because honestly, many of the players are not playing particularily well right now, thus 3-9 instead of a better record.

    However, Hargrove does have a hand in it as well. Just as easily as better player performances could have won a few extra games, improved management from him would have saved a few that his mismanagement helped us to lose. We could have, and should have, swept this series, and better management would likely have made that a reality. I’d say we’d all agree that at least one other game during this stretch might have been saved with better management, so in that case, we would have been 6-6 in spite of very mediocre player performances from many of late. Not too bad, all things considered.

    So, what’s the difference? Well, you can light a fire under players, make them take extra hitting lessons from Pentland, have them shag a few more flies, give them additional throwing sessions, or even force them to devour chicken liver (blech!) until they return to form. Likely, none of that will really help much until they actually work out of their “funk” – or even bad luck if that be the case.

    On the other hand, although good management can at times backfire, it’s something that will benefit you the majority of the time, and has instant effects. There’s the added bonus that it’s something anyone with an IQ greater than a withering rhododendron’s can accomplish. While good management won’t help if your players are giving up games, if both teams are playing on remotely the same level in any given game, the management will often make the difference, because it can take advantage of the opportunities available, or snuff them out. It can win those games, or it can throw them away.

    Right now, if it were indifferent, that would already be an improvement.

  40. Josh on July 16th, 2006 7:45 pm

    It’s Hargrove’s fault that he warmed up three times without entering the game. Also, there seems to me to be a serious problem for Hargrove. He got him up to warm up a third time to put him in the game. If he was so tired after warming up a third time yesterday that he couldn’t pitch today, how could Hargrove have put him in yesterday?

    Good question. I suppose Grover would remind us that he didn’t put him in. Maybe he would even use the excuse that the third warm up wore Putz out and that caused him to decide not to put him in yesterday. It really wouldn’t surprise me if he said that.

  41. Jeff Nye on July 16th, 2006 7:48 pm

    I am, unfortunately, starting to think that Hargrove’s safe for the rest of the season, barring a MASSIVE collapse.

    There’s always next year!

  42. Josh on July 16th, 2006 7:53 pm

    A little off topic here but [deleted, off topic]

  43. tgf on July 16th, 2006 7:59 pm

    Is there any way we can warm up C-Rex three times before the start of the next game? Because, you know, Grover wouldn’t play him then.

  44. Josh on July 16th, 2006 8:04 pm

    There’s always next year!

    Spring 2007:

    ‘In a strange turn of events, Carl Everett suddenly opted to retire, despite having his option vest for this year. To counter the loss, Seattle renegotiated its relationship with Mike Hargrove to sign him as a DH/Manager, with the additional duty of manning the Moose during blowouts at Safeco (approximately semiweekly).

    According to Bavasi, Hargrove will add much-needed left-handed pop to the everyday lineup.

    The Moose did not return phone calls.’

  45. Josh on July 16th, 2006 8:09 pm

    Is there any way we can warm up C-Rex three times before the start of the next game? Because, you know, Grover wouldn’t play him then.

    Is Everett physically capable of warming up three times, or even once?

  46. dnc on July 16th, 2006 8:09 pm

    43 – Grover would still play Everett, then glowingly tell of how C Rex “is a gamer” and “only a proven veteran like Carl could have gutted that out”.

  47. Mike G. on July 16th, 2006 8:11 pm

    “Is Everett physically capable of warming up three times, or even once?”

    I can’t even imagine him bothering to stretch.

  48. bnem on July 16th, 2006 8:23 pm

    I used to get frustrated with Melvin pulling a starter out automatically at 100 pitches, even if he seemed to be pitching effectively. He was too “by the book.” Hargrove seems to think he needs to run his starters into the ground, and then bring his relievers into unnecessarily difficult situations. I thought Lou, for all the crap he took about being hard on pitchers, had a great feel for when to take them out, and who to bring in.

    As frustrated as I get with Grover, I think we’ve got a .500, or slightly below squad this year. When fans have been yo-yoing on whether the team is good or bad since opening day, eventually you have to admit we’re mediocre and be done with it. I’m far more interested in player development as a barometer of future potential than I am in making the playoffs. The guy that matters the most, is Beltre. Like it or not, this is the Beltre era. If he’s not playing all-star caliber baseball, we have little hope of contending. He’s clearly not doing that this year.

    What’s really depressing is we’ve got no one coming up in the organization to replace Raul. His production is destined to drop off in the next year or two. Right now, I see roughly equal chances of sliding back offensively in the coming years as I do progressing.

    Sorry for the long post, just had to get that off my chest

  49. Dave on July 16th, 2006 8:27 pm

    I thought Lou, for all the crap he took about being hard on pitchers, had a great feel for when to take them out, and who to bring in.

    Do we need to list the young pitchers that Piniella ran off while he was here? He was terrible with pitchers. Terrible.

    When fans have been yo-yoing on whether the team is good or bad since opening day, eventually you have to admit we’re mediocre and be done with it.

    Fan perception is now how we evaluate the club?

    What’s really depressing is we’ve got no one coming up in the organization to replace Raul.

    BN, meet Chris Snelling. Snelling, BN. Oh, and over there, hanging out in the also ran category are Shin-Soo Choo, Wladimir Balentien, and Mike Wilson. You might be interested in getting to know them.

  50. DMZ on July 16th, 2006 8:44 pm

    We should note, though, that Piniella really was two different people when it came to pitcher management. There was raw Piniella, who was abjectly horrible at it in every important way, and then there was post-Price Piniella, when he essentially handed Price everything about the pitching staff, from when to take them out to almost everything about bullpen management. At that point Piniella took almost a senior advisor role to his own staff, where he and Price would work out the pitching rotation for a couple months out, discussing the days off, but generally, if it was a pitcher, he would take Price’s decisions and not think twice about it.

    Piniella, by himself, without a decent pitching coach he’d trust in that capacity, is awful.

  51. msb on July 16th, 2006 9:03 pm

    and I have vivid memories of pulling my hair out, and begging for him to pull someone from the mound :)

  52. Josh on July 16th, 2006 9:04 pm

    Since I’ve gone off on Everett enough for today, time to find another target.

    Why is Hargrove still trotting Willie out there? Sure, he’s not an everyday guy, but he has roughly 42% as many plate appearances as Everett, which is a considerable amount, and far too many simply to throw away because he’s a nice guy who works hard.

    After going 0-5 this afternoon, his average finally hit the .250 mark (31×124). Now he’s posting .250/.314/.290. That’s after he started off ‘relatively’ well, at .333/.365/.354 after May 12. Since then he’s regressed to his mean by going 23×98 and putting up stats to the tune of .234/.285/.285.

    Should we expect more?

    His career line is .259/.309/.333, but even that is slightly inflated due to his piping hot cup of coffee in 2002 when the league didn’t really have him pinned down yet. What you can really expect is somoething along these lines:

    .250/.317/.321 – 2003
    .245/.283/.330 – 2004
    .257/.289/.333 – 2005
    .250/.314/.290 – 2006

    Basically, .250/.300/.320 – and he’s essentially there right now, just a walk or two above and and a double or two behind. Even his supposed ‘know-how’ on the basepaths has taken a dip – 3 CS is his new career high. That takes away any usefulness as a starter, and even most usefulness as a pinch-runner (an improvement over some runners at the cost of their bat/glove later in the game).

    Adam Jones could hit .230/.280/.300, play ‘raw’ defense, and still be less harmful.

    People like this in your lineup cost you games.

    Managers who put people like this in your lineup cost you games.

    We need winners, not workers.

  53. bnem on July 16th, 2006 9:09 pm

    Thanks for the patronizing post. Always good to have a legit conversation about a shared passion.

    Actually, I would like a list of *good* young pitchers he “ran off,” if you’re offering.

    Fan perception tends to be a direct result of the how the team is playing that minute/day/week. Fan perception has been bouncing back and forth because the team has been bouncing back and forth. I say this team is a .500, or slightly worse squad because they are until their record proves otherwise. My main point here was that fans need to step back and realize that this team may be neither good or bad. I think it’s taken a step forward this year, but a step forward from 90+ losses is not likely a division title.

    And are you really trying to tell me that I should find comfort in Snelling, Choo, Balentien and Wilson? I admit that I’m only getting to know Wilson, but Snelling hasn’t played a full minor league season in years, let alone proving his worth in the majors. I’m a huge fan of his, and would like nothing better than to see him come up and be the .330 15HR 35 double .900 OPS guy I think he can be. He’s just not a guy a team should be counting on at this point. Choo is interesting, but is harder to project. Just like a lot of folks here, I would have liked to see him given an extended shot in RF, with Ichiro in CF. I think we’re stronger that way than with Adam Jones there now. Balentien? You talking about the guy with 30 more K’s than anyone on his team?

    I think you are selling Raul short if you think any of those guys are ready to replace what he brings to the team in the next couple of years.

    I think our best shot at replacing Raul’s production at the plate is by a player at another position, like a Jeff Clement. Assuming Clement is a catcher, and not a DH, that means you’d have to find someone in LF that could at least match Joh’s numbers to avoid an overall offensive decline. I think Snelling or Choo could do that or more.

  54. Josh on July 16th, 2006 9:19 pm

    I think our best shot at replacing Raul’s production at the plate is by a player at another position, like a Jeff Clement. Assuming Clement is a catcher, and not a DH, that means you’d have to find someone in LF that could at least match Joh’s numbers to avoid an overall offensive decline. I think Snelling or Choo could do that or more.

    What if, say, down the line Johjima were to DH and Clement were to catch? According to the comparison you made, that would have Clement covering for Ibanez, so a new left fielder would simply need to cover for the ‘loss’ of Everett. Snelling could run laps around him if he were to stay healthy, and Choo right now (and certainly still in 1-2 years) > Everett.

    That makes covering for Ibanez fairly easy. Should Johjima collapse it would be a different story, but I don’t think we can assume that. At any rate, if Choo covered for Everett, Snelling could take care of the loss of Joh. That’s still not counting any of the others mentioned.

  55. Typical Idiot Fan on July 16th, 2006 9:28 pm

    The only thing I want to say is that I hope Hargrove has realized what he actually has in Mark Lowe and uses him more often in important situations. That kid has some good stuff.

    I’m also relatively okay with how Fruto has performed, even though he lost the game in the 14th yesterday. He bounced back nicely today.

    If Hargrove doesn’t feel like he has options other then Putz and Soriano, and even then he’ll only use one as a save situation and the other too damn much, then I sure hope Lowe (at least) has fought his way into regular work. I’d take Fruto or Lowe any day of the week over any situation Mateo is brought in for.

  56. JMB on July 16th, 2006 9:33 pm

    What if, say, down the line Johjima were to DH and Clement were to catch?

    What leads you to believe he’ll hit enough to DH in a few years, given that he doesn’t right now and is only going to decline as he ages?

  57. bnem on July 16th, 2006 9:39 pm

    Yep, that works. I haven’t seen enough of Clement to know if he will develop to be stronger behind the plate than Joh (who has been worse defensively than I had expected). I should be clear that I’m not saying it’s hopeless, or even close. I just think it’s easy to see what Raul’s doing this year and count on those numbers being there once we really are ready to contend. I’m not so sure he will maintain this level of production that long, and it’s hard to replace a core player without losing momentum.

  58. RealistOne on July 16th, 2006 9:43 pm

    I’m not sure if firing Hargrove is the answer. Realistically we have a mediocre team that should play just under .500 ball and that’s what we’re doing.

    If we still suck when:
    * Felix figures it out and becomes the Ace
    * If/when Sexson and Beltre ever carry their weight
    * We find better role players than Everett and Bloomquist

    …then you can fire Hargrove. Do we really think Dan Rohn would do any better with this motley crew of young kids and veterans who can’t do the job?

    Our only hope is for Sexson and Beltre to turn it around or this team stays where it’s at. Could you imagine the White Sox doing what they are with Thome and Konerko turning in Sexson/Beltre-like seasons. What a shame – because we are getting enough from the kids, Raul and Ichiro to win the AL West.

    Is there any team in the NL that would be willing to trade for Beltre considering how he hits against NL pitchers?

    Hopefully they can keep playing well and get some clutch hitting and turn this around soon.

  59. Tap House Dan on July 16th, 2006 9:49 pm

    As for as OF’s go over the next couple of years. Good discussion regarding Doyle, Choo, Wilson etc….but aren’t we forgetting about Morse? Doesn’t he still project as a guy that may hit for power in the big leagues? If he’s able to develop defensively as a corner outfielder over the offseason, I see him in that mix as well.

  60. bnem on July 16th, 2006 10:00 pm

    I like Morse’s makeup. I like that he wants to learn from the veterans, and appears to apply what he learns effectively. I also like that he seems to play his best in the bigs. I don’t, however, like him as a starting OF. His defense is just not good enough. If Beltre finds his way off the team, Morse may have a shot at 3B. Otherwise, I’m not sure we have a place for him in the starting lineup. He has at least some limited potential as a DH, but unless he gets enough playing time to prove himself as a hitter in the bigs, that likely won’t happen.

    I think the factor that is harder to predict is trades and free agency. My guess is that nobody values Choo, Wilson, Snelling as much as the M’s, and therefore, we’d be unlikely to turn them into anything valuable.

  61. Tantamount on July 16th, 2006 10:03 pm

    I agree, he’s terrible. But what about the fact that USSM fully endorsed him becoming manager in the first place? Has he changed that much from his stint in Cleveland?

  62. Josh on July 16th, 2006 10:08 pm

    What leads you to believe he’ll hit enough to DH in a few years, given that he doesn’t right now and is only going to decline as he ages?

    Admittedly, he may not perform as highly, or could even collapse. That was stated already. Honestly, though, the consideration was covering for the loss of Ibanez, not how much Johjima will decline. If you feel he will decline and be a loss in offense, then you have to imagine players such as Jones and Lopez should continue to see great improvements.

    For the sake of argument though, let’s compare Joh to DHs. According to all players listed as DH on MLB.com, this is the overall line for 2006 (disclaimer: not the same as all PA by DHs):

    .261/.352/.483

    Joh’s is:

    .289/.338/.454

    So he hits a little more often, he doesn’t walk as much and doesn’t drive the ball out with as much regularity. You have to take into consideration that he is playing catcher, too. I don’t think it can be argued that his stats would be the same or lower were he DHing.

    Also, we don’t really know exactly where he stands. Is he the .270 hitter that he was around mid-June? Is he the .300+ hitter that he has been since then, with probably around .350 obp and .500 slg? Maybe, and somewhat likely, he’s right around where he is overall for the season. I honestly think it will take a couple full seasons before we know exactly what to expect of him as a hitter. True, at that point we may see a continued decline. Like I stated earlier, it’s possible, but do we know? I don’t think we know enough about him to know for a fact how he will age, but we can certainly guess.

    That’s why all of this is so theoretical, and so much fun. :)

  63. Tap House Dan on July 16th, 2006 10:21 pm

    I love the long-term catcher debate, because what it does is point out at least one position where we have one of those it’s-a-good-problem-to-have scenarios that we haven’t had in years….and another sign that maybe our minor league system is bouncing back. It’s a valid question: who’s going to be our catcher in 2008? Surely Clement will be ready by then, and it will be hard to keep his LH power bat out of the lineup. Would you trade Johjima? Would ownership ever allow us to trade away a Japanese player? Will Clement be good enough defensively to play every day in ’08?

    Most likely, if Joh is still productive in two years, I can see Clement and Joh sharing DH and catching duties. The real dilemma might be, what do you do if you throw Ibanez into that equation? We all seem to agree that our lineup would be best served if Ibanez were the fulltime DH and we acquired another player for LF, or if Doyle took hold of LF full time. If that were the case, Clement or Johjima would be impacted.

    Wonder if Clement could make the transition to 1st???

  64. Josh on July 16th, 2006 10:21 pm

    Is there any team in the NL that would be willing to trade for Beltre considering how he hits against NL pitchers?

    .215/.278/.369/ – 1998
    .275/.352/.428/ – 1999
    .290/.360/.475/ – 2000
    .265/.310/.411/ – 2001
    .257/.303/.426/ – 2002
    .240/.290/.424/ – 2003
    .334/.388/.629/ – 2004

    Sans one season, I don’t see a player who hit NL pitching particularly well – at least not a deal better than he hits AL pitching to this day.

    I see a player who might hit around .260/.320/.425.

    We have a 3B this year who hits .260/.326/.407.

    Last year was .255/.303/.413.

    He should be somewhat improved without half his game at ‘The Safe’ but I’ll go out on a limb to say it would not be a spectacular difference.

    JMO :)

  65. msb on July 16th, 2006 10:21 pm

    #61–I agree, he’s terrible. But what about the fact that USSM fully endorsed him becoming manager in the first place?

    they did? “Considering that the organization resigned themselves to hiring a manager with previous experience (which pretty much limits you to retreads who have been fired recently), this is probably about as good as we could have hoped for” is hardly a glowing recommendation…

  66. jtopps on July 16th, 2006 10:36 pm

    Here’s the thing that I hope concerning Hargrove. I have heard Bavasi say repeatedly that he expects more out of the offense. When things were rolling in June, he mentioned how this was the offense they were hoping for all along. At what point does Bavasi start to say, “the players are underperforming and have been for a while, maybe the problem lies elsewhere?”

    I hope it is very very soon.

  67. Josh on July 16th, 2006 10:43 pm

    I’m not sure I’d want to throw Ibanez into the situation in 2008, or beyond…

    Sure, his production this year has been exceeding expectations, but, relative to 2005, his K/PA is up 5% and his unintentional BB/PA is down 31%. IMO that does not bode well, especially adding in the power surge this year (already 3 away from career high in homeruns).

    His career pre and post-all star stats show that a little dip in SLG will likely come now anyway, although AVG and OBP are usually steady.

    .282/.344/.479 (pre)
    .283/.341/.457 (post)

    I guess, as far as I’m concerned, I’d first like to see how well he holds up for the rest of this year. Then I’d like to see if he can even put up 2005ish numbers in 2007. Personally, I don’t even feel confident in that, although it’s a possibility. My gut feeling is somewhere around .270/.330/.440 from him next year – if he holds up. I hate seeing him in every game so far this year, after being in all 162 last year. At 34, one game off every month could be beneficial, no?

    At any rate, that’s a long way off. We should enjoy the show he’s giving us now, even while considering the future.

  68. Tap House Dan on July 16th, 2006 11:24 pm

    Speaking of outfielders….

    Anyone read Ken Rosenthal’s piece on foxsports.com about the M’s attempts to obtain Alfonso Soriano? I heard him mention this before the national game on FOX yesterday and it didn’t make sense. After reading his piece…..it makes even less sense.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5791158

    The piece is entitled “M’s may have what it takes to land Soriano” so I opened it up thinking it would have specifics of guys we would/could/or are considering trading to get Soriano for a shot at the division. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s just a rambling piece with lots of fluff but no substance. He mentions that Meche is wanted by a number of teams, but he would have no value to the Nationals because they’re looking to get a long-term return for Soriano, not looking to trade rent-a-players. He goes on to say that the Nationals are in dire need of CF help and would have an interest in Adam Jones, but that the M’s would prefer to deal Reed.

    So basecally, Rosenthal doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But it’s an interesting idea. If the cost wasn’t too high, would Soriano make sense to us as a rental to try and get to the postseason?

  69. Josh on July 16th, 2006 11:35 pm

    You’re right, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    To quote him: ‘The Nationals, in dire need of a center fielder, almost certainly would have interest in the Mariners’ Adam Jones, whom the team promoted Friday from Class AAA. The M’s just as surely would prefer to trade Jeremy Reed, who currently is on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb.’

    If they’re in such dire need of CF help, why on earth would it even make sense to bring up a name that they’d have to wait 50 days to use?

    I guess I can see Soriano being more useful than Everett. There’s no way even Bavasi would give up Jones for him, though. He’s not worth anyone who they’d have to give up to get him, unless the Nationals are really going to become desperate.

  70. Tap House Dan on July 16th, 2006 11:39 pm

    My thoughts on this piece are that, the M’s probably DO have interest in Soriano, and would gladly add him to their lineup for the last 2 months of the season, but ONLY if the price to “rent” him drops at the deadline to the point that we don’t have to dip into that core of minor leaguers that Bavasi insists we won’t trade. In other words, if we can get him cheap. The Nats are going to move him, they have no shot at signing him long term, so his price could drop significanlty. My guess though, is that the Angels or Yankees will get to him first.

  71. Josh on July 16th, 2006 11:44 pm

    Any thoughts on what the Angels or Yankees would give for him?

  72. John D. on July 17th, 2006 1:16 am

    Hardly a loss goes by without “how come”? or “why didn’t they”?

  73. Josh on July 17th, 2006 1:34 am

    Hardly a loss goes by without “how come”? or “why didn’t they”?

    Whenever Hargrove employs just about any of his common practices, I just imagine Gandalf exclaiming ‘Fool of a Took!’

  74. DMZ on July 17th, 2006 1:46 am

    Catching up on some comments…

    “I like Morse’s makeup. I like that he wants to learn from the veterans, and appears to apply what he learns effectively. I also like that he seems to play his best in the bigs.”

    You realize that makeup, presumably, is now steroid-free, right? Does that make a difference? Also — how can appear to play his best when he’s sucked?

    “I agree, he’s terrible. But what about the fact that USSM fully endorsed him becoming manager in the first place? ”

    Wow, that’s a fact? I can see how you’d be confused by statements like
    “Considering that the organization resigned themselves to hiring a manager with previous experience (which pretty much limits you to retreads who have been fired recently), this is probably about as good as we could have hoped for.”

    Wait… no, I don’t. Or even, on the Little v Hargrove choice,

    “If I had to choose between Little and Hargrove, I’d probably go with Grover.”

    Or hey, there was that long post where I talked about his managerial history, which included notes on his ill use of pinch-hitters, proclivity for carrying too many pitchers, and ended with

    “Having written this, I’m a lot more positive about the hire than I was when I started. But as Dave said, managers do their jobs differently with different teams, and we’re not really going to know how Hargrove does here until he’s doing it.”

    Yeah, all in all, maybe you’re thinking of some other site.

    On Beltre v NL hitters: that 2000 line of .290/.360/.475 is an above-average line for a 3B, and he was young, too.

    On trading Jones/Reed: you can’t trade guys on the DL, and since Reed’s likely going to be on the DL past the trading deadline, well, you can draw your own conclusions about the validity of that particular rumor.

  75. Avery on July 17th, 2006 6:50 am

    Can’t you trade players on the DL as the PTBNL? Trade player A for a PTBNL. After the season name Reed as the PTBNL.

  76. cincinnatus1 on July 17th, 2006 7:38 am

    I’m not normally a big defender of Hargrove’s use of the pitching staff. However, you annoyed me by ranting like a child and giving no credible reasons to support your criticism. I suppose we are to infer that it’s just horrible not to use Putz and to under-utilize Soriano. As for Putz, I probably would have used him Sunday in lieu of Fruto. Hargrove chose to hold him in reserve for a possible save but the breaks fell the wrong way. It happens. As for Soriano, you might want to look at pitch counts rather than innings pitched. In his one inning on Saturday, he threw 30 pitches, quite a few for a short reliever. It’s a long season and the M’s will need Soriano strong in August and September. I can see why he got “only one” inning in two days.

  77. DMZ on July 17th, 2006 7:40 am

    I believe that’s only done for minor-league players on the DL. I can’t think of an example where an active player’s been traded off the DL as a PTBNL, but I’m wary of making blanket claims because it’s really early and I haven’t researched that.

  78. scraps on July 17th, 2006 7:48 am

    I don’t understand why people just post Beltre’s numbers completely out of context; since everyone knows that’s not the whole story, it’s . . . well, I know people will get mad if I call it dishonest, but it’s certainly incomplete.

    First, there was the appendectomy and the complications and the long recovery that were blamed for his 2001-2003. Go ahead and discount that explanation if you want, but at least make a passing mention of it.

    More important, though, is his age. Beltre’s destractors have always said he only had one good season. But that’s not true; he was very young, and his early seasons, especially his breakout 2000, were good for his age. Everyone understood this before his sickness. It’s hard for me to believe it’s been forgotten, so again I assume that people don’t acknowledge it because it undercuts the argument against Beltre.

    There is good and sufficient reason now to doubt Beltre’s future without distorting his past.

  79. bnem on July 17th, 2006 8:27 am

    #74 I’m by no means a Morse fanatic, but my comment was that he’s played his best in the majors. I think .718 OPS last year and the 1.011 OPS in limited action this year are far from sucking. To prove the point further, look at his .736 OPS and his .250 avg in AAA this year. If you have evidence to prove he has not hit better in the majors, please share.

    His defense, however, has sucked no matter where he played.

  80. jimbob on July 17th, 2006 8:31 am

    I’m sure this has been mentioned a number of times but has Hargrove noticed the WFB has been stuck on SEVEN RBI’s for a very long time?

  81. DMZ on July 17th, 2006 8:35 am

    Uh huh. .718 isn’t particularly good. And hitting .736 in AAA is not good. There’s not any evidence that the post-steroid Morse is a quality hitter.

  82. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2006 8:43 am

    76-

    The M’s 3 best relievers (Putrz, Soriano and Sherrill) got LESS work than Julio Mateo got in those two games.

    Mateo’s pretty bad (ERA close to 5).

    I think you’d be justifiably upset if Ichiro got pinch hit for in the 5rd inning by Willie Bloomquist during a game- and this is the bullpen equivalent of that. Hargrove chose to use his least effective pitchers- I guess he believes it’s more important to have someone available to win the game tomorrow than the game today. Of course, since it’s the future, you don’t know that the starting pitcher might get run out of the gamer by the 3rd inning… but it’s also the same sort of logic that discards a useful Petagine so we can have a backup catcher for 24 hours, because, OMG, what if Rivera goes DOWN?!?!?!?!

  83. Joe on July 17th, 2006 9:04 am

    However, you annoyed me by ranting like a child and giving no credible reasons to support your criticism. I suppose we are to infer that it’s just horrible not to use Putz and to under-utilize Soriano.

    He laid out the facts enabling us to draw our conclusions. You know, the way adults do. Though apparently you’d like to have it spelled out for you in bold, crayon colors. You know, the way one does for a child.

  84. msb on July 17th, 2006 9:04 am

    #68– FWIW, Jayson Stark sez that Rosenthal prob. got the story from Bowden (with whom he’s tight), and very likely it was mentioned to Rosenthal in an attempt to pique the Angels’ interest, as they are the best match for Bowden….

  85. gwangung on July 17th, 2006 9:07 am

    I’m not normally a big defender of Hargrove’s use of the pitching staff. However, you annoyed me by ranting like a child and giving no credible reasons to support your criticism. I suppose we are to infer that it’s just horrible not to use Putz and to under-utilize Soriano.

    Given that they’re your two best relievers, it takes a mentality of a child NOT to understand that.

  86. joser on July 17th, 2006 9:07 am

    Heh.
    See Mateo. Mateo is a pitcher. Mateo is a bad pitcher. Bad, bad Mateo.
    See Putz. Putz is a good pitcher. Good, good Putz.
    See Mateo work. See Putz sit. Why does Mateo work? Why does Putz sit?
    See Hargrove. Hargrove is the Manager. Bad, bad Hargrove.

  87. Adam S on July 17th, 2006 9:13 am

    Morse, I think both bnem and DMZ are right here.

    Small sample size caveat, but it’s true that Morse has hit better in the majors (743 OPS) than the minors (career 711 OPS entering this year and more like 680 if you throw out a “fluky” 2004). This is especially true if you consider you’d expect players to hit less upon promotion to face more difficult pitching.

    And as DMZ said, even his improved hitting isn’t very good unless you look at very small (25 PA) sample sizes. 743 OPS for an outfielder is a bench player at best. And while Morse is young a could develop, “playing his best in the majors” is almost a sure sign that he’ll regress to his true level. I.e., 2000 minor league at bats seem to be a better measure of ability than 250 major league ones.

  88. msb on July 17th, 2006 9:24 am
  89. eric on July 17th, 2006 9:35 am

    No one has mentioned the most inept move yet. When he pulled Felix with 2 runners on base he brings in Woods? Sherrill had thrown all of 1/3 inning Saturday night. You simply do not bring Woods in with runners on base.

    Or another way to look at it is in 11 innings his bets 3 relievers threw 2 1/3 total.

  90. Nick on July 17th, 2006 9:54 am

    I’m kinda late to this party, but I’m pretty sure that had Hargrove used Putz for a couple of innings on Saturday (say the 10th and the 11th), there would be quite a few posters here bitching about how stupid Hargrove was for “wasting” his best reliever and leaving it for Fruto to close the game had the M’s managed to manufacture a run at some point.

    I’m no fan of Hargrove’s bullpen management, but I think this is a case where he can’t win for losing.

  91. PositivePaul on July 17th, 2006 9:55 am

    Awwww, c’mon folks! We all know the real reason behind things. Hargrove’s just trying to rest his best pitchers. He’s ridin’ ‘em pretty hard lately, and wanted to give ‘em some down time.

    What? What’s that you say? All Star Break? Yeah — those pitchers got 4+ days off, sure. Then, uh, uh, uh, well, uh, they needed to be eased back into the swing of things.

    Andy Hargrove jumped and dragged offstage by Corco, eponymous coward, and other USSM commentors…

    If Bavasi has neither the authority nor the cojones to DFA Everett or fire Hargrove, then what’s holding him back from DFA’ing Mateo, who Hargrove seems to LOVE throwing into a game to allow others’ runners to score. The fact that Mateo’s ERA is over 5 AND he’s allowed darn near HALF of his inherited runners to score is absolutely killing the M’s. If Hargrove has to stay for whatever freakin’ reason, then the M’s next move has to be the DFA of Mateo…

  92. David J. Corcoran I on July 17th, 2006 9:56 am

    90: Sure, we might be whining, but not this much, because it would be a bit more justifiable. But for Putz not to get into either extra inning game is completely inexcusable.

  93. David J. Corcoran I on July 17th, 2006 9:57 am

    I bet Mateo is still only on the roster because he has 5 wins out of the bullpen.

  94. Benno on July 17th, 2006 10:00 am

    90 – I don’t think you are right in this case. Using Putz in a situation where a game can be won, is the right move, even if it burns him out for the next game. Tie game, in the 12th inning, its a situation where a game can be won. I would have preferred to have Fruto available after Putz in that situation, to simple eat up innings if necessary.

  95. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2006 10:01 am

    I’m kinda late to this party, but I’m pretty sure that had Hargrove used Putz for a couple of innings on Saturday (say the 10th and the 11th), there would be quite a few posters here bitching about how stupid Hargrove was for “wasting” his best reliever and leaving it for Fruto to close the game had the M’s managed to manufacture a run at some point.

    Uh, no. You use your best relievers during critical times. On the road, if someone gives up a run in the 10th or 11th inning, game’s over. If someone gives up a run AFTER you score a run in that same situation, game’s not over. It’s easier to defend a lead as part of winning a game than to keep the other team from scoring, since you might still even win the game if you give back the lead.

  96. gwangung on July 17th, 2006 10:03 am

    As the crew has said, the use of his bullpen is of the same cloth as the rest of his in-game management: putrid.

    (For me, it dates back to calling up Snelling last year, a hot hitter when you needed offense–and sitting him on the bench for five to ten games. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies….).

  97. Nick on July 17th, 2006 10:03 am

    94 – By that logic, wouldn’t you have Putz pitch the FIRST inning of the game?

  98. tgf on July 17th, 2006 10:04 am

    I’m pretty sure that had Hargrove used Putz for a couple of innings on Saturday (say the 10th and the 11th), there would be quite a few posters here bitching about how stupid Hargrove was for “wasting” his best reliever and leaving it for Fruto to close the game had the M’s managed to manufacture a run at some point.

    I’m pretty sure anyone who has read about leverage as it relates to pitching situations and optimal bullpen usage would not be bitching. Too bad Hargrove has apparently not looked into these issues.

  99. Brian Rust on July 17th, 2006 10:05 am

    I agree that Putz’s failure to enter either game is inexcusable. For that, I blame THE HITTERS. Or, should I say, the “hitters.”

  100. tgf on July 17th, 2006 10:05 am

    94 – By that logic, wouldn’t you have Putz pitch the FIRST inning of the game?

    No — Putz should be used in high leverage situations.

  101. Nick on July 17th, 2006 10:08 am

    95 – so basically, your arguing that Hargrove is to be blamed for not making adequate use of the crystal ball that tells him when the opposing team will score in an extra-inning game.

  102. MT on July 17th, 2006 10:19 am

    >90
    No, the TOR manager knew how to use his pen. Ryan after the team was coming apart. Ryan for the 8th, 9th in game 2 (even in a non-save situation!!! who’da thunk?), and 1 inning for the save yesterday. Although he blew it yesterday, those were awesome moves by the TOR manager that apparently Hargrove can’t comprehend.

  103. Xteve X on July 17th, 2006 10:24 am

    101 – Oh puh-leeze. There is no excuse for using Mateo in yesterday’s situation. A cursory glance at Mateo’s record and walk vs. K rate would have told Grover all he needed to know. In a game situation where giving up one run can cost your team the game, do you pick A) the guy who walks 4 batters for every 1 he strikes out, or B) the pitcher who’s given up like one UIBB in the last month?

  104. Benno on July 17th, 2006 10:27 am

    Nick – The object here is to win the game at hand. I did not (and would not) make any argument that Putz should be used to start out a game. But to not use Putz in an extra inning game doesn’t make sense. Add to the fact that Toronto had burned through their bullpen, and it makes it worse. Once you get to extra innings, it makes sense to use your best pitchers, especially if you are the visiting team. If Putz loses the game, so be it. If Fruto loses the game with Putz available, what does that say about managing the game. Should we have held Putz back because the crystal ball told us we would ahve a save situation on Sunday?

  105. argh on July 17th, 2006 10:27 am

    The view into the crystal ball improves markedly when the opposing team has a runner in scoring position.

  106. JAS on July 17th, 2006 10:28 am

    So Positive Paul’s aolution to the Hargrove spilling of pollution is to dilute the available pollutants. Removing any chance of failure by surroundng the “inconsequential” manager with pristine gems is certainly a valid option for the Bavasi. Get to it.

  107. David J. Corcoran I on July 17th, 2006 10:29 am

    101: What the hell? You bring in Putz, those runs don’t come in to score in all likelihood. You bring in Mateo, and the runs probably do with a man on and nobody out. It’s not a “Crystal Ball” it’s common sense.

  108. Jack Howland on July 17th, 2006 10:35 am

    48 – used to get frustrated with Melvin pulling a starter out automatically at 100 pitches, even if he seemed to be pitching effectively. He was too “by the book.”

    Perhaps you are not remembering Bobby Madritsch string of games between 8/11/04 and 9/29/04 where his pitch counts were 117, 119, 118, 126, 122, 119, and 133. Incidently the 133 pitch outing was his last effective start ever.

    Pineiro averaged 109 pitches per start in 2004 and went over 110 pitches in a game 8 times that season before ending his season in July due to injury.

    Price’s forward thinking philosophies on pitch counts were thrown out the window by Melvin in 2004.

  109. Max Power on July 17th, 2006 10:40 am

    not to say that hargrove’s bullpen use has been wizardry, but it also seems odd to lay blame for the last couple of losses at his feet. maybe it’s a case of the blind squirrel eventually finding a nut, but the line over the 2 games was decent:

    11 IP
    2 ER
    10 K
    7 BB
    11 H

    Whip sucks so they probably got super lucky, but they did post an ERA of under 2. bigger problem was that they just didn’t score any runs.

  110. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2006 10:41 am

    so basically, your arguing that Hargrove is to be blamed for not making adequate use of the crystal ball that tells him when the opposing team will score in an extra-inning game.

    No, I’m saying Hargrove is saving Putz for a less critical situation (the save after the M’s hypothetically score and take the lead) than keeping the opposing team scoreless during late/extra innings- and thus, since the team never had the lead in the late innings, we got 0 IP out of our best bullpen pitcher.

    It’s “by the book” managing (“you’re a closer, so I can only use you in a save situation, unless I don’t have a choice”)- unimaginative, but since “closers save games” is regularly recited to people, it’s gotten the time-honored standing of “baseball wisdom”. It also has arguably cost us games, because, for instance, Hargrove’s done this in extra inning games AT HOME- where it’s impossible to get a save.

  111. msb on July 17th, 2006 10:46 am

    sigh. Now it’s bring Soriano here no matter what the cost on KJR.

  112. msb on July 17th, 2006 10:50 am

    oh, and Mahler thinks it will take the Ms going down 7 or so games for the ‘Fire Hargrove’ calls to start….

  113. bnem on July 17th, 2006 10:53 am

    #87 you got it right. I don’t believe I ever said Morse was a quality hitter. I just was pointing out that he had hit better in the majors than the minors to date.

  114. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2006 11:07 am

    113-

    But Morse doesn’t really hit enough to be a 3B, either (basically, if he develops REALLY well, he’ll turn into David Bell), and 3B is a HARDER position to play than OF- there are lots of people who get moved into the OF after failing at 3rd, but almost nobody who does the reverse.

  115. revbill on July 17th, 2006 11:12 am

    Don’t worry, msb: according to common KJR host “wisdom,” the Mariners don’t have good enough minor league players to get Soriano.

    I wonder sometimes what the average fan thinks of Hargrove, or if they think about him at all. The only criticism I’ve heard is that he’s not “firey” enough, like Piniella was.

  116. gwangung on July 17th, 2006 11:15 am

    I wonder sometimes what the average fan thinks of Hargrove, or if they think about him at all. The only criticism I’ve heard is that he’s not “firey” enough, like Piniella was.

    Well, that was a common criticism of both Price and Grover on the blogosphere, so I think it’s out there….

    It’s a position I dislike a lot; temperment is a lousy thing to criticize a manager/boss for. I think you’re on much firmer ground when you can point at lousy player use and tactics.

  117. msb on July 17th, 2006 11:22 am

    #115– well, and this was just after someone called to complain about Hargrove, and when asked for specifics gave the bullpen usage over the weekend… it was after talking to him that Mahler opined that they may someday soon get the fire him calls. sigh. I know it is stupid to get bugged by this, but the problem I have is that the average radio listener tunes in and just hears ‘the Ms are talking trade for Soriano, and of course he’d re-sign here, so lets trade Adam Jones and several other guys that I hear Jason Churchill mention to get him, because he’d be exciting, and is such an offensive power….’ argh.

  118. G-Man on July 17th, 2006 11:34 am

    It was quite a contract to see the relatively bold moves of Toronto manager John Gibbons contrasted with the conservative Hargrove. Not only was the aforementioned use of his closer different, but Gibbons also burned his backup catcher in both extra-inning games and (gasp) lost his DH in the bottom of the what ended up being the last inning yesterday.

  119. David J. Corcoran I on July 17th, 2006 11:49 am

    I’m not a big fan of intentionally losing the DH, and that may have been an unnecessary move, but still, the situation called for it and Gibbons should get props for that.

  120. John in L.A. on July 17th, 2006 11:50 am

    Just what we need… another right-handed power bat! He’ll be perfect for SafeCo!

    That aside, the bullpen usage (and Perez/Everett usage) has been utterly inexcusable.

    I know that it is a law of the internet that no matter how well reasoned, well proven and completely inarguable something is, there will ALWAYS be someone who feels compelled to log on and say the opposite, invariably with a weak argument that chooses not to address that proof already given…

    I know this, so I’m not surprised to see it… but it still makes me shake my head. Because there is really no justifying it. But, alas, someone will always try…

  121. Nick on July 17th, 2006 12:21 pm

    Look, with the game tied on the road I’d put Putz in to pitch the ninth inning and I leave him in to pitch the tenth if he’s rested. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and the fact that Hargrove’s strategy “worked” on Saturday for 4+ extra innings shows that, just maybe, he’s not a total idiot. After all, his bullpen management — with no margin for error — gave the M’s five extra chances to punch a run across, and three extra chances on Sunday.

    Had the offense figured out how to scratch out a run in extra innings either Saturday or Sunday, Hargrove would have had exactly the situation anybody would want: the lead and his closer in the game.

    The fact is my strategy (Putz pitches the ninth and tenth Saturday) and Hargrove’s strategy produced exactly the same result, as would have any of the other bullpen strategies proposed here (except the crystal ball strategy, which would have put Putz into the game in the 14th inning on Saturday, of course).

  122. mln on July 17th, 2006 12:37 pm

    Bring back Bob “Box o’ Rocks” Melvin! He is a baseball genius compared to Hargrove.

  123. nfreakct on July 17th, 2006 12:40 pm

    #122, that doesn’t make any sense because if we assume the pitchers would pitch the same regardless of the inning they pitched (questionable) and that Putz would pitch 2 scoreless innings (probable), than having Putz pitch in the 9th and 10th allows you to move everyone back two innings. With your logic then the Mariners now have two more innings to score that one run to win the game.

    Thus “your” strategy (the one where Putz pitches) is better than Hargrove’s. Which is exactly the point, any scenario where Putz pitches is better than one where Putz didn’t. And Hargrove’s strategy of saving Putz for a potential save situation ended up never occurring in either game.

  124. Benno on July 17th, 2006 12:45 pm

    Nick – The end result is that you basically agree with us. Hargrove’s utiization of the bullpen didn’t make much sense as it left the best bullpen pitcher on the bench in consecutive extra inning games. If Putz loses either Saturday or Sunday’s game, then our best was beat. If Fruto loses Saturday’s game after Putz pitched, then again, they went through our best. If Mateo loses Sunday’s game after Putz piches, same deal. But the fact remains, out best relief pitcher didn’t get into either game, and that is mystefying to most of us.

  125. Nick on July 17th, 2006 12:56 pm

    124 – I don’t think you can assume the same outcomes would occur if you push the rest of the bullpen “rotation” back two innings because they’re not pitching in a vacuum, those pesky Toronto hitters have a say in the “equation.”

  126. John in L.A. on July 17th, 2006 12:58 pm

    C’mon, Nick. If you grant that there is any difference in quality and probable outcome between Putz and Mateo, then you lose the point.

  127. tgf on July 17th, 2006 1:00 pm

    (except the crystal ball strategy, which would have put Putz into the game in the 14th inning on Saturday, of course).

    That’s a nifty little straw man you’ve got there!

  128. Nick on July 17th, 2006 1:02 pm

    125 – I agree with the way most people here would have used the bullpen to get Putz in the game(s). What I don’t agree with is the evaluation that Hargrove’s bullpen strategy failed; it didn’t fail, rather, it gave his team 24 additional outs over two games.

    Hargrove has made plenty of dumb moves, but the results show that the way he used the bullpen this weekend was not stupid — it worked.

  129. JAS on July 17th, 2006 1:08 pm

    The only way you lose the DH is if the DH ever takes the field. You can pinch hit for the DH all you want without losing it (so long as no pinch hitter takes the field.)

    And eponymous coward: Morse isn’t moving from the OF to third – he came up through the minors as a SS. Like Tui, Morse’s frame is a better fit for the hot corner (range delimited).

    And….The American Sports Medicine Institute has concluded that overusing a pitcher is the #1 cause of arm injuries. Ostensibly, this is Hargrove’s excuse for not using Putz. The fly in that ointment is that, by Hargrove’s own logic, he should have brought Putz in the first time he warmed up. The booger in that ointment is that warming up in the bullpen is not equal to pitching off the mound in a game. The ketchup in the ointment is that Hargrove failed to apply his own rule to inferior pitchers more susceptible to failure due to increased opportunity for failure….

  130. Benno on July 17th, 2006 1:09 pm

    Nick, just because a strategy works, doens’t mean its a smart strategy. Mariano Rivera has blown saves in the past, but that doesn’t make using him a stupid strategy. Eddie Guardado saved games early in the season, but that doesn’t mean it was smart to keep putting him out there. Give the posters here a little credit, we are passionate, critical, and smart (some of the time).

  131. JAS on July 17th, 2006 1:09 pm

    And Nick: 2 losses in 2 overtime games = failure. Buy a clue?

  132. Eleven11 on July 17th, 2006 1:15 pm

    Nick: I understand your point, it’s the hardest thing to decide when to expend your assests. The place I do disagree with you is in the last game. Mateo is not a strike out, DP guy. He is essentially a long reliever and pitches to contact hoping to keep the batter in the park. He has also been unable to get important outs the past several months. The best was needed with bases loaded and no outs. It would have been remarkable for a pitcher like Mateo not to give up at least a sac fly, much less a hit.

  133. JAS on July 17th, 2006 1:16 pm

    Also,

    For those (Nick & company) that prefer to blame the offense for the poor showing – you have a point. AND – Hargrove was equally culpable for the poor offense by applying the worst matchups to the most critical situation. As bad as Hargrove managed the BP, he was just as bad matching our hitters to their bullpen…

  134. darrylzero on July 17th, 2006 1:25 pm

    Let’s not forget the brilliance of somehow managing to make your best reliever unavailable, during a loss, without even using him. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry reading that.

    If we’d used Putz both days, I think we would have won at least one game. There’s no way to be sure, but I can’t believe we would have lost both. True, the biggest part of the blame lies with the hitters not being able to hit the dregs of Toronto’s bullpen, but that doesn’t excuse idiotic management by Hargrove. In fact, the marginal nature of this club is exactly what makes the horrible decision-making so unbearable. A really good baseball team can survive bad management. The Mariners can not. With good management, I feel fairly confident this team would have won at least 47 games by now, possibly more.

    Hargrove is a terrible manager. He all but proved that in the first two weeks of 2005 with his hillariously disastrous use of Thornton, which absolutely lost games that wouldn’t have otherwise been lost. He’s done little to contradict that initial impression. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he’s hurting, not helping, this ballclub.

    Look at the Red Sox bullpen management in the 2004 playoffs. It’s just one example, and I’m well aware there must be examples pointing the other way as well. But for me, that was the most optimal bullpen management I’ve seen, and I don’t think they could have won that series against the Yankees if the bullpen management hadn’t been so good. It took a lot else, obviously, but Hargrove has to be on a shortening list of managers who hasn’t been won over.

  135. David J. Corcoran I on July 17th, 2006 1:26 pm

    129: Gibbons ran Mottola for his catcher, Zaun, and the backup catcher, Molina was DHing, so it was assumed that if you get out of the 11th inning, the DH goes away because Molina has to catch.

  136. Eleven11 on July 17th, 2006 1:32 pm

    It seems that every Manager has his Bobby Ayala. Last year it was Thornton and now Mateo. Regardless of anything, they get run out time after time after time. Oh, who knows if we would have gotten a hit in the 12th, there was, however, no way we were going to get there with Mateo, the bases loaded and no outs. Results are not a given in baseball, the best you can ever do is give yourself a chance. That was the “crime” Sunday, we didn’t give ourselves a chance.

  137. JAS on July 17th, 2006 1:49 pm

    I wasn’t arguing your post David, I just have seen more than a few posts implying that Everett wasn’t pinch-hit for out of fear of losing the DH. This fact simply emphasizes Hargrove’s incompetence in not allowing Perez to assume DH duties late in games…

    Also, does it appear obvious to anyone else that Hargrove is pandering to Everett? Ever since the “shouting match” in Hargrove’s office, Everett has not only maximized his at-bats – no matter the situation – he has even gotten a start in the OF.

  138. eponymous coward on July 17th, 2006 2:04 pm

    And eponymous coward: Morse isn’t moving from the OF to third – he came up through the minors as a SS. Like Tui, Morse’s frame is a better fit for the hot corner (range delimited).

    I know, but he flunked as a SS, and got shifted to the OF, not to everyday 3B. He’s probably a corner OF/1B, and doesn’t hit well enough to justify that, and doesn’t field well enough to be a 3B.

  139. Max Power on July 17th, 2006 2:08 pm

    Also, does it appear obvious to anyone else that Hargrove is pandering to Everett? Ever since the “shouting match” in Hargrove’s office, Everett has not only maximized his at-bats – no matter the situation – he has even gotten a start in the OF.

    who knows, maybe the shouting match was about the clock ticking on him being released and now he’s getting a slew of ABs to see if he can still perform.

  140. dirk on July 17th, 2006 2:12 pm

    It does seem that Carl has had an AB or two where he is not explicitly trying to hit a home run with every swing.

  141. Benno on July 17th, 2006 2:14 pm

    Maybe the authors can get into a screaming match with Hargrove, so he can begin to pander to them? At the very least, it would be great to read about.

  142. Max Power on July 17th, 2006 2:20 pm

    …to see if he can still perform.

    by ‘still perform’ i didn’t mean that he had performed at any time this year, just that ~3 years ago he was still a decent player. i gathered from bavasi’s comments that the front-office saw the signing as a bit of a flier, so perhaps the shouting match was a re-iteration of the flier theme.

  143. sodomojojojo on July 17th, 2006 2:30 pm

    as i’m scrolling thru this post, i answer the poll of the day and apparently derek has completely fooled everyone on this site. see “results” of the poll question

  144. Thingray on July 17th, 2006 2:39 pm

    Nicely done! 176% “no”!

  145. Thingray on July 17th, 2006 2:42 pm

    I’m late to this party, but after reading the posts I would like to say that the moment they had Morse start playing LF, 3rd and 1st in Tacoma, was the day his dreams of being an everday MLB player ended.

    Even if Beltre or Sexson weren’t on the team, you wouldn’t see Morse as the starter at either position.

  146. dirk on July 17th, 2006 3:18 pm

    Lopez w/ the day off, Scrappy batting and playing 2nd.

  147. Max Power on July 17th, 2006 3:24 pm

    Lopez w/ the day off, Scrappy batting and playing 2nd.

    There’s really no reason for him to start two days in a row.

  148. IdahoInvader on July 17th, 2006 6:58 pm

    Yeah, like that down the middle pitch to Ichie being called a ball really makes up for that…NOT

    Its the M’s: We’ll find a way to NOT move the runners at all after being first and third and NO OUTS

    I’d rather have Grover himself bat right now than wee Willie…ugh

  149. IdahoInvader on July 17th, 2006 7:02 pm

    Full count…

    Watch Willie swing at one up around his eyes

  150. darrylzero on July 18th, 2006 12:13 pm

    In case you guys didn’t know yet, a shout-out over at Salon.com today.

  151. Joe on July 18th, 2006 9:05 pm

    Nah, what’s done is done. The edifices are there, so everybody (public and private) need to maximize the income from them. I wish the deals hadn’t been done, and I’m quite happy to wave goodbye to any team that wants another handout (at the rate the Sonics are going — the last rebuild of KeyArena was just a decade ago — they’re going to want money for new luxury boxes every other year and KeyArena will be in a permanent state of expansion, like some kind of kudzu or cancer engulfing Seattle Center).

    But I would be quite happy if Seattle became the first post-pro sports city in the US. Seattle has finally managed to get itself off that terrible “most livable city” list; this would seal the deal. Just imagine the improvement in traffic!

    Heck, we’re not that far away from photorealistic renderings in video games: have all the players show up for spring training, motion capture them, and then just render the games on the internet over the season while they all sit back and collect their checks. It’ll be just as entertaining for the fans and just think: no blown calls!

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