Lots of minor points to make today, so let’s go to the notes format.
1. ESPN has fired Harold Reynolds, almost certainly for something not pertaining to his performance on the job. I’d be stunned if the M’s don’t do some checking on this and, if they’re satisfied that it wasn’t a huge deal, offered him a job. It’s very easy to imagine him broadcasting Mariner games later this year and in the future. Honestly, anything that isn’t Dave Henderson is a huge upgrade.
2. Tangotiger, one of the smartest baseball minds out there, has done a quick-and-dirty analysis on playoff odds if a team’s current winning% didn’t match their actual true talent level. BP’s playoff odds report and coolstandings.com both use past data to project the team’s odds of making the playoffs, but run into problems if a team’s past performance isn’t a perfect estimate of how they’ll play going forward. With the M’s almost certain to replace the giant sucking hole of Carl Everett before the end of the month and replace him with a real hitter, it’s very easy to say that the M’s will be a better team than their winning percentage to date would project. Here’s a summary of Tango’s point:
As IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve shown, to have an even shot at a team that is leading the division, and you are in the bottom, and you are down by 3 wins, you simply need a team to be a true +.050 wins better than the leading team.
With the uncertainty level existing in all forecasts, you can make such a plausible assertion (every now and then).
3. Rafael Soriano’s shoulder is still bothering him, and he won’t be available tonight. The disabled list is a real possibility. The next arm up from the farm is almost certainly going to be LHP Eric O’Flaherty, who is pitching extremely well for Double-A San Antonio. He doesn’t have the same stuff that Mark Lowe does, but he throws 90-93 from the left side with a solid breaking ball and has shown both extreme groundball dominance and the ability to miss bats. If and when O’Flaherty comes up, he could easily stick for the rest of the year. It’s not improbable to think that this team’s bullpen in September will go something like Putz-Soriano-Sherrill-Lowe-O’Flaherty-Woods-Mateo, with Julio finally being relegated to the mopup duty he deserves.
4. That Lopez-Beltre scuffle I mentioned in the game thread has been uploaded online so you
can see for yourself and decide whether this was playfighting or an actual disagreement of sorts. Thanks to Jeff Sullivan for getting this up. If you’re not reading his Lookout Landing blog, you’re missing out, big time.
5. Despite any rumors you may hear, Gil Meche isn’t close to being traded. If the M’s deal him (which gets less likely with every win), it won’t be til this weekend, when they’ve had a full opportunity to evaluate their chances of making a run this year. And the talent they’re asking for in return, anyways, is likely to preclude a deal. At this point, I think Meche ends the season as a Mariner.
6. Somewhat related, as of today, the M’s are buyers, not sellers. That could change over the next week, but don’t be surprised if the M’s go trolling for another Eduardo Perez type move in the next few days. David Dellucci would make all kinds of sense right now.