A brief moment to discuss the ineptness of the Jones call-up

DMZ · August 28, 2007 at 4:41 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

From Hickey’s blog:

In part because of that, manager John McLaren has talked to Jones about the possibility of playing winter baseball.

Jones wasn’t a huge fan of the idea last year – when he also spent huge amounts of time on the Seattle bench down the stretch – but McLaren says the outfielder has been receptive to the idea, although nothing has been finalized.

Jones was ready to help the team in May. However, there’s no place on the team for him, because
a) he’s not a veteran
b) the team’s winning so they refuse to make moves to make themselves better, hence
c) they’re unwilling to find ways to get him playing time, so
d) he doesn’t get playing time, exacerbating his defensive problems because he’s almost never playing
e) even in mop-up games

If Jones had come up and hit .900 with good power, no doubt they’d be finding a way to get him more playing time, because he’d be helping the team. But because he’s barely over .200, they’re finding ways to keep him on the bench, even though his skills are exactly the same as if he’d started hot. He would still help the team, and there are still ways to get him time.

There’s no reason, none at all, to believe that Jones, who proved there was nothing left for him to learn in Tacoma, and proved it to everyone who saw him or could read a statline, suddenly forgot how to field, forgot how to hit.

Every other team with a prospect of Jones’s value called their guys up, most of them much, much earlier, and found ways to get them into the lineup to help them.

That the M’s are still unable to figure out how to get Jones playing time with a roster that provides such clear, obvious opportunities to get Jones playing time — and that their solution to this is not to get smarter, or more flexible, or even more persuasive in making the case to Ibanez/Vidro/whoever that a regular outfield rotation’s a good thing, but to send Jones to winter ball, where he’ll face competition far, far below what he would be stomping in Tacoma — is a pretty stunning indictment of the club’s inability to do a reasonable job looking at the whole roster, and to put the best team on the field every day.

They didn’t call Jones up because they thought he would hurt the team. For that moment, at least, they saw a way to make the team better, and then they chickened out.

Update: Ibanez has only started in three games by my count against lefties, 2 against Danks and one against Santana, and went .250 (3-12) with a walk, a HBP, and a double. Not facing lefties has been a big part of Ibanez’s performance this month. So far this year, Ibanez has been hitting .267/.297/.351 against lefties.


37 Responses to “A brief moment to discuss the ineptness of the Jones call-up”

  1. Xteve X on August 28th, 2007 4:46 pm

    Same old front office.

    They’d rather throw away at bats on the crappiest of crappy veterans rather than try an “unproven” project.

  2. Dan W on August 28th, 2007 4:53 pm

    Derek, if you really wanted to make the FO look dumb, you should have included McLaren’s other quote in your post:

    “What we’d like to see him get is some more playing time.”

  3. Bearman on August 28th, 2007 4:55 pm

    This surprising to you please Bavasi called up Jones to shut the media and fans up.
    Now McLaren having to make excuses as to why he not getting playing time?
    Why Jones has be delegated to 4thOFer/pinch running/late inning D replacement duties instead of starting him in LF and let him hone his glove and his bat with needed ABs ?
    It was purely a bone tossed to fans and the press so they would quit with their demands to callup Jones .
    Bavasi has no use for talented MLB ready prospects he only trusts “proven veterans” and his personnal pets.

  4. bigdad03 on August 28th, 2007 4:56 pm


  5. marc w on August 28th, 2007 4:56 pm

    Well put, Derek.

    The contrast with the other contenders is just so stark.
    Det. has Jair Jurrjens in the rotation and they’re working Cameron Maybin in.
    New York has been using Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.
    Cleveland’s starting Asdrubal Cabrera.
    Boston and Anaheim haven’t really brought too many rookies up mid-season, but both started with enough young players to make MacLaren throw up (Kendrick, Pedroia, Willits, etc.)

  6. adamt on August 28th, 2007 5:00 pm

    Is there really a need for him to play winter ball at this point? I thought winter ball was for players rehabbing or that needed playing time for purposes of improvement.

    This idea scares me, should it?

  7. DMZ on August 28th, 2007 5:02 pm

    Bearman, Bavasi’s given starting jobs to Betancourt and Lopez, why would you say he has no use for prospects he thinks are ready?

  8. unkrusty on August 28th, 2007 5:03 pm

    marc w, lest we forget the Braun/Millwaukee example. The Brewers were winning, Braun replaced a scrappy/crappy veteran, and subsequently has been the best hitter not named Pujols in the National League (maybe you were only talking about A.L. contenders).

  9. FrayLo on August 28th, 2007 5:04 pm

    What is the relationship between a GM and a manager, if any? That is, after Bavasi decides to call up Adam Jones, is there a chance he told McLaren, “Okay, we’re bringing this guy up, now try and play him 2 or 3 times a week.”

    Does it differ between teams (and the relationship between the GM/Manager), or in general, does the GM have no real influence over who the manager plays on the field? I would guess there is not enough documented evidence out there to say either way, but I thought I would pose the question.

  10. Max Power on August 28th, 2007 5:06 pm

    Does it differ between teams (and the relationship between the GM/Manager), or in general, does the GM have no real influence over who the manager plays on the field?

    I feel like I’ve read here before that Bavasi gives a lot of latitude to the managers, relative to other GMs. Generally, he isn’t predisposed to force playing time over the manager’s wishes. Is that accurate?

  11. Dan W on August 28th, 2007 5:10 pm

    In addition to Yuni and Lopez, M. Olivo and to a certain extent R. Rivera were given every chance to succeed as well. Jeremy Reed was given the full time CF job in 05 after a successful September cup of joe the year prior.

    I guess the difference, from management’s perspective, is that “we’re in a pennant race” this time around.

  12. brian_sun on August 28th, 2007 5:17 pm

    I wasn’t in favor of the M’s attempting to re-sign Jose Guillen, not because of his comments about Jones at the time of the callup, but because of not re-signing Jones actually forces Mac to give a full time OF job to Jones. I realize this year is probably lost of AJ. I am more concerned about next year. The best possible outcome I could hope for is Ibanez/Vidro can continue their hot streak, and some GM might decide to trade for one of those 2 guys and AJ gets a starting job next year. That’s probably the best outcome you can hope for.

  13. brian_sun on August 28th, 2007 5:24 pm

    Look at how Detroit handles Maybin and how AZ handles Justin Upton. Those 2 teams are also in contention for the playoff. Upton and Jones were called up on the same day, and Upton has 70 AB now vs. 28 for Jones. I realized Detroit DFA Craig Monroe at the time of the Maybin callup, and pretty much just give Maybin the starting job in LF, and it’s kind of hard for Seattle to eat a huge junk of Vidro’s salary during the AS break and DFA him when his OPS was sub 700, but what Jones is getting now is just ridiculous. But things aren’t going much better from now on till the end of the season, we will just have to ride these veteran guys out.

  14. HamNasty on August 28th, 2007 5:25 pm

    If the Mariners send him to winter ball I would have no problems with him never resigning with the M’s and going to the Angels or A’s on purpose just to haunt the organization. That is a joke Adam Jones should be in winter ball. Ask the Tigers, Brewers, DBacks, Rockies, Astros if Maybin, Braun, Upton, Tulo, or Pence are going to be in winter ball this year. They would probably look at you like a damned idiot!

  15. cgmonk on August 28th, 2007 5:26 pm

    I’ve been reading Dave say that Adam Jones is a different player from last year, a better one. Derek, you’re saying Jones was ready to help the team in May. Did his skills really improve that much from the end of last season to May?

  16. terry on August 28th, 2007 5:32 pm

    I know some think the Guillen signing was a great thing but really given his defense, he hasn’t been the boon to the M’s run differential that he might seem. I have no desire to see Guillen in an Ms uniform next season.

    BTW, the more I learn about baseball, the harder it becomes to remember why I fell in love with the Ms. It makes me really sad. They’ve been obtuse this season on the subject of Jones.

  17. bat guano on August 28th, 2007 5:34 pm

    It strikes me that there must be a disagreement within the club management about whether or not to play Jones. I really doubt that Bavasi thinks it’s better for him to sit on a big league bench than to play in Tacoma, so I have to think the decision not to play him is coming from McLaren and his coaching staff. The more I see of McLaren and the decisions he makes about playing time and match-ups, the less I like him—but if the team keeps winning and the veteran core (ie. Ichiro, Ibanez, Beltre) remains happy, we’re probably stuck with him for a while.

  18. swwashfan on August 28th, 2007 5:38 pm

    I preferred Dave’s August 20 and August 24 posts on this subject. I’m tired of the Jones vs. Ibanez debate. Even though I didn’t want David Wells to come to Seattle I would have preferred some more discussion on the M’s real weakness – starting pitching.

  19. Sports on a Schtick on August 28th, 2007 5:39 pm

    I’m almost hoping AJ gets a chance to escape this inept franchise and succeed someplace he will be appreciated.

  20. DMZ on August 28th, 2007 5:40 pm

    Well, I’m sorry that you’re tired of it, but we write what we write. I’ll be happy to issue you a refund for you subscription costs, and promise not to force you to read posts in the future.

  21. Dayve on August 28th, 2007 5:40 pm

    There is no reason they couldn’t put him in to spell some of the vets during this long stretch without much time off. If they must keep Ibanez in the lineup against a lefty, put him at first. There are options and it’s frustrating that they don’t see them or use them.

  22. cougs129 on August 28th, 2007 5:42 pm

    I am certainly a big fan of Jones and his talent… However, the reason he isn’t getting playing time is because quite frankly there is no where to put him and if you think Ibanez should be DHing with Vidro on the bench you’re the minority as it just doesn’t make sense with Vidro hitting over .400 since the all-star break and Ibanez being one of the hottest hitters in baseball in the month of August… Sure you can say they will regress to the mean sooner rather then later but right now there is no point to run Jones out there on a daily basis… That is for next year not this year in the middle of the pennant race when he would be replace the teams arguably two hottest hitters…

  23. thefin190 on August 28th, 2007 5:44 pm

    Maybe Vidro or Ibanez will go down, down the stretch…just a possibility. AJ looked amazing when he has played this year (besides some outfield flubs, but nothing to cry about). But as long as Ibanez is swinging a “hot bat” and Vidro continues hitting for high average despite having no power, AJ won’t be seeing much playing time. I am hoping next year they dump Vidro, move Ibanez to DH and let Jones play outfield. But i think i am just hoping what everyone else here is.

  24. Eleven11 on August 28th, 2007 5:44 pm

    I read that too. If at bats were needed then leave him in Tacoma. So now the solution is to send your future to a 3rd world country managed by a guy with no vested interest in him or the M’s and….what? Maybe the bright boys in the front office will give him to the same genius who blew out Soriano’s arm.

  25. juustabitoutside on August 28th, 2007 5:48 pm

    So, barring injuries, AJ’s playing time isn’t likely to increase. That mystery aside, is there anything to be gained from his playing winter ball?

    I wouldn’t think so with the bat, since the competition would be diluted, as Derek pointed out. What about his D, though? He’s been an outfielder for only 1 full season. Is there a developmental league in the states? Wouldn’t seeing the ball come off the bat in live game conditions be more helpful than shagging flies?

  26. Oly Rainiers Fan on August 28th, 2007 6:03 pm

    #17 – you wouldn’t think that if you were at the Bavasi Q&A in Tacoma. I think the club is in agreement, insofar as GM and manager, as to how and when AJ will be used for the remainder of this season, and, as to their reasoning/rationale for that/those decisions.

  27. awolfgang on August 28th, 2007 6:13 pm

    Thanks a lot DMZ!!! Just as I was slipping into ignorant bliss about the whole Jones situation, you have bring to light a possibility that I couldn’t have figured would make me more pissed. Seriously, why don’t the M’s just give him his free agency and send him on his way, and then in 15 years we’ll try trade for him when he is a “proven veteran” cause God knows he’ll never play on the M’s because he will never be able to attain veteran status as long as he stays with us. p.s. How in the hell did the double play twins manage to escape this logic? Oh, yeah, when we suck bring up the rookies, when we have a good record regardless of the contributions of certain ballplayers, everyone gets a pass and screw the rooks, smart, very smart. I have to go buy In N Out and beer, see ya.

  28. bat guano on August 28th, 2007 6:24 pm

    Thanks #26, so you’re telling me that the M’s philosophy of developing players is to rush them through the minors and then if by some miracle they actually succeed, you reward them by bringing them up to watch games major league games from the bench?

    It’s even worse than I thought…..

  29. Lefebvre Belebvre on August 28th, 2007 6:29 pm

    How do we get AJ when Ibanez and Vidro are finally contributing and when we know Guillen is such a bigtime “gamer” who never wants?

    Shouldn’t Jones start three times a week to give each of the above mentioned vets a day off? Then a 4th game giving Ichiro a rest once a week. Doesn’t that make sense? There’s still 4 games a week that the vaunted veteran lineup Mac loves would still be intact AND it gives the old guys some rest downt he stretch.

  30. rsrobinson on August 28th, 2007 6:31 pm

    Who thought that Jones was ready to help the team in May? I thought virtually everyone believed last spring that he needed more seasoning in Tacoma. And what does the quote about winter ball have to do with rehashing the same old arguments about Jones playing?

  31. NBarnes on August 28th, 2007 7:14 pm

    Compare to Boston’s treatment of Pedroia. They have maybe the second-best 2nd baseman in the AL ’cause they believed he was ready and gave him time to adjust to MLB pitching. A chance that the Mariners seem reluctant to give Jones.

  32. pgreyy on August 28th, 2007 7:14 pm

    “lest we forget the Braun/Millwaukee example. The Brewers were winning, Braun replaced a scrappy/crappy veteran, and subsequently has been the best hitter not named Pujols in the National League (maybe you were only talking about A.L. contenders).”–unkrusty

    Is it impolite to point out that the Brewers stopped winning?

    I certainly don’t want to be accused of using the “c” word around here.


    PS–When Raul Ibanez was getting splinters on Lou’s bench, the knock on him was that he just couldn’t hit major league pitching. Some people said “If he’d get the chance to play every day, he’d prove that he could.” Raul gets that chance…only it was in Kansas City. We end up dragging him back here where he ends up being a productive veteran with diminishing field skills.

    Hope AJ likes white and royal blue…

  33. argh on August 28th, 2007 7:22 pm

    Another small but not totally insignificant point: every day on the bench as a Mariner is burning up another day of his 5 years to free-agency period. How much do you suppose, in retrospect, each of those playing days will be worth when the Yankees and Red Sox want to pay him $350 for ten years or whatever? That day is coming, almost certainly, barring (God forbid) injury.

  34. msb on August 28th, 2007 7:46 pm

    #32– Raul didn’t hit when he got to Kansas City. He was moved between AAA and the big club until when in AAA he got hitting help from Kevin Seitzer, among others.

  35. F-Rod on August 28th, 2007 8:31 pm

    14 that is just a crazy comment. Why should AJ be furious with a team that drafted him in the first round and called him up to the bigleagues two different years in his early twenties. The dude has made great money and will have a chance to start for 5 years before free agency hits. I really doubt he would hold a grudge for going to some place fun in the Caribbean and playing ball for six weeks.

    The guy has gotten some chances and not made the most of them…They are few chances and the door was only cracked open, but the other players are playing better now.

  36. F-Rod on August 28th, 2007 8:39 pm

    By the way J. Upton’s stats are
    .225 .276 and .408 slg

    and S. Drew stats are
    .231 .304 and .358

    Don’t just write that hey these guys are starting…They are starting and sucking (granted its a small sample and will probably have good careers) Maybe Arizona is winning because they have a top three pitcher in baseball.

  37. Adam S on August 29th, 2007 12:03 am

    To correct a misconception above (and elsewhere), the Mariners called up Jones because McLaren asked for him; Bavasi didn’t call him up and force him on McLaren. He’s an upgrade from Ellison who was a PR and defensive replacement as Jones can swing the bat from the right side. But they don’t see him as someone who should replace, even part-time, Ibanez or Guillen.

    How anyone can think Ibanez belongs in the starting lineup against a LHP is beyond me.

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