Mike Hargrove is Delusional

Dave · March 27, 2007 at 9:21 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The Brandon Morrow issue continues to be the only noteworthy thing around. Today, John McGrath weighs in with some quotes from Bavasi and Hargrove.

“Originally, we were sending him down to the minors (to) start him,” general manager Bill Bavasi said. “If he makes the club in relief, it alters how you develop him as a starter.

“Now, we may have to look at something in the offseason – sending him to a half-season of winter ball, perhaps, and have him re-establish a third or fourth pitch there. But that would depend on how many innings he gets between spring training and the regular season.”

Good News – Bavasi isn’t yet pigeonholing Morrow as a reliever, talking about coming up with a plan to still attempt to develop him as a starter in other ways. Of course, the M’s paid this same lip service to Rafael Soriano as well, so it’s good news with a caveat.

When Hargrove considers the debate about assigning Morrow a big-league roster spot, he recalls the soul-searching once invested over a flaky Cleveland Indians prospect he wanted on his big-league team in 1994.

“Manny Ramirez,” Hargrove said. “He turned out OK. People called me an idiot then, too.”

Manny Ramirez’s minor league career before being called up to the Indians:

1991 – Burlington (rookie): .326/.426/.679 in 215 at-bats as a 19-year-old
1992 – Kinston (high-A): .278/.379/.502 in 291 at-bats as a 20-year-old
1993 – Akron (double-A): .340/.414/.581 in 344 at-bats as a 21-year-old
1993 – Charlotte (triple-a): .317/.424/.690 in 145 at-bats as a 21-year-old

After his rookie league debut, he was named the #37 prospect in baseball. After dominating high-A ball, he moved up to #13. After destroying Double-A and Triple-A, Baseball America tabbed him as the seventh best prospect in baseball, one spot behind Alex Rodriguez.

By the time Hargrove plucked Ramirez out of the minors, he was well known to every person in the game as an elite talent and had dominated every level of minor league baseball over a three year span.

Yea, that’s the same thing we’re doing with Morrow.

Head versus heart. Caution versus impulse.

It wasn’t supposed to be this complicated.

It’s not. Every other organization in baseball has already farmed out their big armed elite pitching prospect to help get them more development time and allow them to make the show when they’re ready. Only the Mariners are so swayed by 8 innings of exhibition work that they’d overhaul their development plan at the whim of a manager whose usefulness has long since expired.


68 Responses to “Mike Hargrove is Delusional”

  1. msb on March 27th, 2007 12:50 pm

    #48– the links would be via LexisNexis, which in theory could be accessed by most newsrooms; the Plain Dealer itself has a paid archive.

    PAUL HOYNES PLAIN DEALER REPORTER; The Plain Dealer; Mar 31, 1994

    PAUL HOYNES PLAIN DEALER REPORTER; The Plain Dealer; Apr 1, 1994

  2. Jeff Sullivan on March 27th, 2007 12:52 pm

    I’m skeptical that option years are going to be much of an issue for Morrow down the road. Unless he turns into a spectacular bust, he’s not going to be shipping back and forth between AAA and the Majors in 2009.

  3. Dave on March 27th, 2007 12:53 pm

    Or he gets hurt and needs to spend a couple years in the minors working his way back from surgery. Which has been known to happen.

  4. Jeff Sullivan on March 27th, 2007 1:02 pm

    Yeah, well. Um.

    Were I more comfortable with option years as a topic of discussion I could probably offer some kind of response to that.

  5. Dave on March 27th, 2007 1:04 pm

    Well, the option year thing is a minor point in this whole deal. It shouldn’t be a deciding factor, really. On the list of things that should matter, it’s about 13th.

  6. msb on March 27th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Baker on the rotation, in his blog today

  7. Jim Thomsen on March 27th, 2007 1:14 pm

    I think it would be an interesting study to determine just how roster decisions are made in spring training — whether the manager is the tail that wags the front office dog, or vice versa. I read these stories about Hargrove getting the final say, and then I chuckle to think of a manager trying to get his way with, say, Billy Beane.

  8. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on March 27th, 2007 1:23 pm

    Nice work on the post, Jeff. I’ve considered both yours and Dave’s take on this. I am not 100% sure what I think. If Morrow is blowing folks away with his potential, and we are not really talking about him making the difference between a play-off appearance and getting us a World Series trip this year, how can we take this risk for a guy we think should start in a year that everything needs to go right for the M’s make a legitimate run?

    I am looking at it from the return potential here. If the M’s can get closer to a rotation with a polished Felix and a confident Morrow by having him get going in the minors, I think we go that route.

    Why risk a prospect’s future to cover over off-season errors if we are crossing our fingers that the M’s are even competitive this year? Mid-season if Morrow is tearing it up, and we need just a little something to kick-start the team that looks like they can take it all (not holding breath there), I’m all for it. However, I think we should be developing Morrow in a fashion that will help the team compete for years to come, not to paint a pinstripe on a shitty winter.

    Sure, he may help this season if things go right, but how much potential does this team really have with or without him? If we are very unlikely to make a world series run with this group, why play the limited return/high risk game now with a guy that may give us a real rotation someday?

  9. DMZ on March 27th, 2007 1:23 pm

    How could you do such a study? Without being able to survey front offices and get honest answers, I don’t see how you’d be able to get useful data

  10. Paul B on March 27th, 2007 1:45 pm

    Is it just me, or are some of the relievers who were competing for the last bullpen spot who are actually better than some of the people being touted as making the club for certain?

    The reason this is phrased as a question is because I am not very familiar with a couple of them.

  11. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on March 27th, 2007 1:47 pm

    Mateo for instance?

  12. matthew on March 27th, 2007 1:57 pm

    This is one of the best posts you’ve made Dave. I wish someone important would read it and overrule any decision to keep Morrow on the big league staff…

    P.S. There’s a pretty good Red Sox documentary on the IFC right now…

  13. Celadus on March 27th, 2007 2:20 pm

    Somewhere someone suggested that the Mariners send Morrow down to AAA to develop as a starter, then bring him back up, possibly as a set-up guy or middle reliever, in July if the Mariners are in the race.

    That would seem to be an intelligent compromise. As a middle reliever his presence from the beginning of the season wouldn’t put the Mariners in contention if they’re otherwise bad or keep them from being in contention if they’re otherwise bad.

  14. Celadus on March 27th, 2007 2:22 pm

    RE #63: the end of that last sentence should read “if they’re otherwise good.”

  15. msb on March 27th, 2007 2:32 pm

    you know, if Morrow went to AA, his pitching coach would be Brad Holman, who also recommended the Ms get Sean White, and who will be on KOMO tonight, although probably not being asked about any of those things.

  16. msb on March 27th, 2007 4:00 pm

    Rizzs is very excited by the Rainiers vs Fresno Grizzlies game that has broken out.

  17. joser on March 27th, 2007 4:36 pm

    Yeah, it was pretty entertaining listening to a comeback inning where just about every player makes you go “uh, who?” Bloomquist, Morse, Jones, and Rivera… there’s your team of destiny.

  18. msb on March 27th, 2007 5:16 pm

    Jeff Nelson has become the radio voice to call for Everyday Player Willie, on the Learn Baseball Cliches with Jeff & Willie currently on KJR.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.