Youth, again

DMZ · September 5, 2007 at 10:39 pm · Filed Under Mariners 


So Geoff takes issue with my post on the Braves, illustrating that it’s possible, and good, to work youth into the lineups of contending teams. A couple points to pick on before I move to a whole other point, though:

As was mentioned, the young Braves were all Rookie of the Year contenders, which implies they got most of a full season to work their way in. With Jones, we’re talking about a 3 1/2 week “sink or swim” indoctrination, which is hardly the same discussion. Not even in the same ballpark.

The post wasn’t intended to prove that Jones should play. That’s just a given. It was intended to offer a larger example of how a successful franchise, while competing, can still develop their young players and get them playing time so they can blossom into beautiful flowers.

And I’ll point out that refuting that list of RoY candidates misses the larger point of the post. I used RoY voting because it was handy, but you can go through those teams and see how they continually found time for players mid-season and in smaller roles as they prepared them to start, as well as sometimes handing them starting jobs. Giles is a great example of this.

Anyway, to youth and Jones.

There’s a couple discussions here: one, did the M’s clear a spot for Jones at the start of the season? No, and I don’t think it’s at all fair to expect that the team would go into the year with an outfield spot open for him in case he was. You don’t know, right?

Then: once it became clear in, say, May/June, that Jones was dominating Tacoma, did they make a role for him? No, and here you can throw some garbage at the screen and boo them or whatever. It’s clear that they could have, especially with Ibanez’s slump and horrible defense all year, and could have found a way to put Jones out there a couple times a week.

Now, there’s the final argument, which is: having failed to clear a spot for him to start the year, and having failed to get him regular playing time, should the M’s have played Jones down the stretch in important games?

Dave and I have both argued at some length and frequently at some volume that you do. You put the best team on the field. And I’d argue the Franceour isn’t a particularly good comp for Jones, but anyway —

Baker’s argument against playing Jones down the stretch, and I’ll quote two paragraphs for the point:

So, which of those monthly OPS totals would Jones bring to the table these final few weeks if the M’s throw him in the lineup every day? Don’t know? Neither do I. Neither does the team. If Jones were to put up a .688 these next few weeks, in-place of the .800 by someone else on the team, it would potentially be a disaster.

But as I said, maybe he puts up a .900. It’s a risk. And it doesn’t matter what his minor league predictor stats say. This is too small a sample period for anyone to predict how he’d do every day with any accuracy. At the beginning of the season, or even in July, it’s a different story because there is margin for error, or an off-month for a rookie trying to adapt. In Francoeur’s case, he took the league by storm, then cooled off. But who’s to say what order Jones would perform in. I know this is becoming a tired debate in some respects. But I’m just pointing out the issues I’ve yet to see covered and to explain my feelings on the Braves. I agree that any team loaded with young talent should try to use it or trade it. Just not right now, not this late.

We’ve made this point too before: you don’t know what any player is going to put up in any situation anyway. Rookie having “an off month trying to adapt”? Vets have off months. If you’re looking at two players, one a veteran hitter and the other a far superior talent (not that that’s the comparison we’re making w/Jones v Ibanez, but bear with me) you want the better hitter. All players are different, all situations different, and so on and so forth. You can find months where horrible hitters tore it up, and great hitter stank up the joint.

You want the better hitter. You do. In the same way, you want the best team you can field. That team has Jones in the field.

But let’s say you take this whole argument, and you say “well, we could play Jones and improve the outfield defense a ton and he might hit some, he might not, I totally discard minor league track records and scouts and think that he has to prove himself at the major league level even though he can’t prove himself at the major league level because I’m going to play veterans because I totally discard minor league track records and scouts so I guess he’s screwed and we should trade him for pitching or something but veteran pitching because as I mentioned– BUT instead, I’m going to play Raul for this critical stretch against the Angels and whenever, because he’s hot for August and the team needs him and we can’t afford to try a rookie.”

Ibanez went 9-34 with no power at all from August 27th to today’s game. .265/.324/.265 over that stretch of nine games.

How can that be? Adam Jones is hitting better than that on the season, and he’s pretty regularly mocked as not being major league ready on the basis of his 35 at-bats. Is Ibanez not major league ready?

Shouldn’t veteran consistency have come through? Isn’t that what you count on? How could Raul fail so? If you’re supposed to count on veterans in these kinds of circumstances because you can’t afford a cold streak and veterans go cold like that, what then? What’s left?

Veterans are no different than any other hitter. They hit, and they don’t, and just like you want a good veteran hitter over a bad one, you want a good young hitter over a bad veteran one.

And, just to re-iterate, the case I’m making is not that Ibanez should be out of the lineup entirely. I’ve been arguing, and I think Dave largely agrees with me, that a player as talented and as ready as Jones can help the team, and if someone can help the team, you find a way to make the most of that, and it doesn’t matter if it’s June or September if you want to win.

I’m going to throw out one more analogy I think is particularly apt: Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp got spotty playing time last year for the Dodgers (52 games, 153 AB) and this year, at 22, they gave him some time in April, but he banged his shoulder into a scoreboard trying to make a catch in April, and went down to Las Vegas to hang out for a while. A long while. Matt Kemp’s not the defensive player Adam Jones is, but they’re not that dissimilar hitting prospects: a lot of Ks, nobody knows if they’re ever going to walk a lot, but they’re aggressive in the strike zone and put a charge into the ball when they make contact.

Anyway, when Kemp’s ready (and they really take their time), there’s a problem: the Dodgers are in contention and they’ve got an outfield: in left, veteran leader Luis Gonzalez, hitting .282/.362/.431. In center, Juan Pierre (.291/.325/.349) and in right, Andre Ethier, not quite as young, but played well last year and doing well again (.289/.354/.448).

The Dodgers, in many ways, faced an even worse situation than the Mariners did, with no DH to help shift defensive alignments, and without a June pretext for shifting things.

So what’d they do? We know what the M’s did, faced in June with a similar situation. The Dodgers kept trying to find ways to play Kemp, and even though it meant their outfield rotation’s had some fits and starts, and Kemp’s still sitting on the bench 2-3 times a week, since he came back up and played again June 8th, they’ve managed to get Kemp 215 plate appearances.

Kemp’s hitting .338/.372/.537 with Dodger Stadium as his home park. By VORP, he’s the third-most valuable hitter on that team. He’s a huge reason the Dodgers are in the NL wild card race.

There’s no way to know if Jones would produce like he’s capable of if he’d gotten the same opportunity. They’re different players, in different leagues, facing different situations, and so on. But other teams, faced with the same kind of dilemma, found ways to work similar players who can help into their lineup.

Finding Jones playing time wasn’t going to transform Horacio Ramirez into a good pitcher. Or Jeff Weaver. It wasn’t going to solve Sexson’s hitting issues. On the grand scale of things that deserve some blame for the slip from contention, or if you prefer the failure to seize the opportunity they had, it’s not that big a deal. It’s a game or two.

But I don’t at all agree that game’s not worth trying for, just as I don’t agree that there’s any reason not to field the best team possible, or that veteran hitters are any more reliable over short, arbitrary stretches of the season.


92 Responses to “Youth, again”

  1. Mike Honcho on September 6th, 2007 1:04 pm

    F-You, Mac.

  2. jlc on September 6th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Screwing with Jones’ head and mechanics in the field during limited playing time in a season that, for all practical purposes, is lost seems like a bad idea to me. His career path looks like he’s going to be a starting OF, not like Figgins.

  3. Gomez on September 6th, 2007 1:09 pm

    49. Won’t work as in ‘can’t practically expect a player who hasn’t done it in so long to make that kind of adjustment’. It’s like asking Adrian Beltre to learn how to steal bases and then hoping he’ll be your leadoff guy.

    Chone at least plays regularly as a big leaguer at the infield positions, and AFAIK always has.

  4. Gomez on September 6th, 2007 1:12 pm

    Here’s a better example: you have a fast runner who runs sprints. You train him over several years to run long distance races, 5Ks and such.

    Can you reasonably expect that guy to then competitively run a 100 meter sprint cold turkey?

  5. Bat9th on September 6th, 2007 1:13 pm

    Isn’t there other things to talk about then the daily Adam Jones topic… Seriously, its AJ this AJ that. I think everyone has made their points on this issue like a thousand times over.

  6. VaughnStreet on September 6th, 2007 1:30 pm

    McLaren and many fans vastly overrate this team. The August surge represents the best they can do, and it is not sustainable. A team that endures multiple extended losing streaks during the year, and especially during the stretch, is not anywhere close to being a legitimate contender.

    McLaren can believe all he wants in the vets, but they aren’t going to get it done. The root of the M’s troubles goes back to last winter, when they made a decision last winter that they would bring in some vets and screw the younger, more talented AJ. The priority was saving the jobs of Hargrove and Bavasi. Bavasi, I guess, keeps his job, but he did it with smoke and mirrors.

    Putting a contending team together for 2008 is going to be all that much harder as a result, assuming they continue to regard their aging veterans as the answer. I do not expect a change in philosophy because the team has shown no sign of learning from these mistakes.

    Sexson, Ibanez and Vidro all need to go, but given their contract status I just don’t see it happening. Young, talented players need to be able to come in next spring and have a realistic chance to contend for starting.

  7. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 1:32 pm

    Who’s saying cold turkey? If anyone IS, it’s not me. Jones is what, a couple of seasons away from playing SS? Your example in 55 is simply not valid.

    Some sprinters run 100, 200 and 400m races, or 400, 1500 and 5000m, and do well at each (if not gold medal winning at all), despite the different cadences to those races.

    If he worked on it at winter ball Jones could easily be prepared to move back to the infield and do credibly well.

    It probably isn’t in his best interests, or the team’s but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible or even stupid.

  8. Jeff Nye on September 6th, 2007 1:33 pm

    If Bob Fontaine doesn’t think Adam Jones is suited to be an infielder, that’s good enough for me.

  9. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 1:36 pm

    56 – I’d say that one or two of Sexson Ibanez and Vidro has to go (make it two or three if you throw in Guillen too). I think Ibanez as a DH works well, as he should only DH against righties, but that’s 75-80% of the time, so he’s be OK. But for that to happen, Vidro must go, and Sexson is presumably halfway out the door as we write.

    I think we’ll lose Sexson, but the others will probably remain to clog up the future of the team.

  10. Gomez on September 6th, 2007 1:40 pm

    You make sound as easy as a few weeks of practice. When we talked with Bob Fontaine at the meetup in Everett, he did not concur with that notion.

    There is a LOT of adjustment required, even if you played the position before. You have to not just shorten an outfielder’s throwing motion, but sharpen it, as an outfielder’s throws don’t have to be nearly as quick and accurate as they must be in the infield. And that ignores the physical quickness and reaction time required to field grounders.

    It’s not as easy of an adjustment as you think it is.

    And if my runner example is invalid, name some distance runners who are also winning sprinters. I doubt you can, because I doubt that point is even true. And 400m races don’t count as long distance: those are also run as sprints.

  11. hans on September 6th, 2007 1:40 pm

    Matt Kemp just homered against the Cubs. Luis Gonzalez (respected veteran) followed that up with a pop out to short.

  12. jlc on September 6th, 2007 1:42 pm

    I’ve been saying all year that much as I hate it, I don’t see any way to get rid of Sexson. Now I think that there has to be some kind of blame for this season. Fans have already booed Sexson, so unless he comes in and brings this team to a pennant, I think he’s gone. You do the shift with Raul, and we have a better team with Sexson gone and AJ in left. What a weird way to get him there.

  13. gwangung on September 6th, 2007 2:00 pm

    With respect to Jones flipflopping between the infield and outfield, it might be good to cite some examples where it was doable. We should question established wisdom when there’s a basis for it…but that’s generally best done if there are at least anecdotal examples, and even better if there’s systematic, statistical data.

  14. Red Apple on September 6th, 2007 2:01 pm

    Recently, many posters have been saying that we can’t get rid of Sexson. Don’t forget that Detroit claimed him on waivers about a month ago. It seems more that the M’s won’t get rid of him.

    However, his being mired in a slump and then going on the DL can’t help this situation.

  15. jlc on September 6th, 2007 2:05 pm

    64 – For me, the difference is what the M’s want back for him. I suspect they’re willing to let him go now while paying a bigger chunk of his salary. But that could just be my daydreaming.

  16. dks on September 6th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Um…Willie Bloomquist, Mark McLemore, and hundreds of other utility players say hi. It is obviously quite possible to flip back and forth between the infield and outfield. Now, I haven’t looked up UZR numbers for any utility guys, so maybe it’s not possible to flip back and forth and get ABOVE-AVERAGE defense, but it’s clearly possible to get ACCEPTABLE defense while changing positions on short notice.

  17. kentroyals5 on September 6th, 2007 2:15 pm

    Baker’s blog commentators are so ignorant it hurts. But hey, Baker now advocates playing Adam Jones (but you can’t seem to have a Baker blog lately that makes a good point without making a terrible one. So he also advocates using Vidro at 2nd and Ibanez in LF, while DHing Adam Jones on occasion)

  18. Gomez on September 6th, 2007 2:20 pm

    66. Yes, but they have always regularly played the IF. There is nothing unlearned or lost to time. And neither McLemore, Chone or Willie would be mistaken for someone with a strong arm, so who’s to say they particularly developed their OF arms? The only rule in adjusting to the OF is ‘throw longer’ so adjusting from the IF to the OF isn’t particularly difficult, and if you’re not away from playing IF for too long, little adjustment is required.

    In Adam Jones’ case, you’re talking about a guy who hasn’t played infield at all since the low minors. Not the same thing.

  19. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 2:28 pm

    So how about Casey Blake?

    After a few cups of coffee with the Twins as a 1B/3B, he became the full time 3B in 2003 and 2004 for the Indians with a handful of games at 1B and NONE in the outfield.

    He became the full time RF in 2005 with a handful of games at 1B and 3B.

    Then in 2006 he remained the full time RF with a few games at 1B and NONE anywhere else. Then, out of the blue, he’s the (almost) full time 3B this year, with a few games in RF and 1B.

    So maybe he’s superman, and maybe he’s not, but he’s a pretty good player who has been able to adapt from IF to OF and back. The timeframes are comparable to Jones conversion too. And Jones was converted because of two factors: a) Betancourt clogging up SS for the foreseeable future and b) Ichiro’s possible departure.

  20. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 2:38 pm

    and neither of those things has worked out the way the M’s hoped in the first case and feared in the second.

  21. davepaisley on September 6th, 2007 2:42 pm

    Oh, and BJ UPton of the Rays has split time about equally between 2B and CF this year.

    Again, nobody is saying this is optimal, either the best thing for Jones or the club, but it HAS been done, will be done again, and isn’t quite the absolute impossibility you have asserted.

  22. bergamot on September 6th, 2007 2:43 pm

    Re 50: It’s painful to see the “clap louder so Tinkerbell will live” principle applied to baseball management.

  23. Grizz on September 6th, 2007 3:18 pm

    BJ Upton was a disaster at 2B (and SS), and the only regular worse than him in the AL was his teammate, Ty Wigginton. Guys like Figgins and Blake were good enough fielders to make the majors as infielders and were moved to the outfield due to team needs.

    Jones was never a major league quality shortstop. The organization moved him off shortstop after about 60 games in AA at age 19 largely because he was an error machine and was growing out of the position. He looks about 20 pounds heavier now too.

    Moving Jones from the outfield to the infield would turn his defense from an asset to a liability, significantly diminishing his overall value as a player. Why would you do that?

  24. sdlamm on September 6th, 2007 3:21 pm

    Are we actually having a debate about moving Jones to shortsop? The season really is over…

  25. Karen on September 6th, 2007 3:21 pm

    REgarding yesterday’s debacle of a game, Dave or DMZ: Is there any indication from the Mariners that they might send a tape of the blown calls by the umpires on Ichiro in yesterday’s game, in some form of protest, to the league?

    (from the write up on “Ichiro Suzuki was called out twice on calls that replays showed were blown by umpires. When he tried to steal second in the third inning, he was called out by second base ump Gerry Davis even though SS Derek Jeter missed the tag. In the fifth, Suzuki appeared to beat out a grounder but was called out by first base ump Tony Randazzo. Manager John McLaren unsuccessfully argued the call.”)

    Sure, they might be “judgement” calls, but it certainly displayed poor judgement. Like someone said, that made up for the Willie Bloomquist blown call in May once, and once again for good measure.

  26. sdlamm on September 6th, 2007 3:21 pm

    Sorry, I meant 2nd base. Regardless…

  27. julian on September 6th, 2007 3:29 pm

    Some sprinters run 100, 200 and 400m races, or 400, 1500 and 5000m, and do well at each (if not gold medal winning at all), despite the different cadences to those races.

    Unfortunately not true. Michael Johnson, arguably the best 200-400 crossover runner of all time, was never a factor (if, indeed, he ever competed) in the world of Maurice Greene and his 100m compatriots. Similarly, though 1500-5000 doublers are relatively common, those runners would never factor in the 400.

  28. eponymous coward on September 6th, 2007 3:29 pm

    From Baker:

    So, what would I do? Right now, I’d put Vidro at second base tomorrow night, Jones in left field and make Ibanez the DH. After that, maybe I switch things up and put Ibanez back in left and make Jones the DH. And if Vidro continues to struggle, I sit him down for a rest, put Lopez — or maybe Willie Bloomquist or Nick Green — in at second base for a night and do the Ibanez-Jones shuffle any way possible. Take it day-by-day.

    WTF? No. Ibanez shouldn’t see the field, period. Play Jones, platoon Raul and Vidro (and give Vidro some PH duties to keep him fresh).

    If you MUST bench Lopez, I suppose- but IMO giving up on a 23 year old who’s 14 months removed from an All-Star game is pretty crazy. You would be better off fixing him. Right now, I blame the “no, don’t pull the ball, just ground out to second” philosophy instilled by Hargrove et al last year for mucking things up. If I’m a savvy GM, I am SO on the phone to Bavasi saying “Hey, let’s do a deal at the winter meetings! I have another pitch-to-contact lefty with a flashy ERA to replace Horacio Ramirez for you!” Knowing this organization’s love affair with Willie’s grit, I fear what’s going to happen next…

  29. DMZ on September 6th, 2007 3:38 pm

    w/r/t umps: maybe, but probably not. They don’t want to make it a controversy, or embarrass the league.

    I suspect, though, that someone up in the organization, like Bavasi, or even Armstrong, calls MLB and talks to one of their on-field people and says “look, we’re not going to file a protest or anything, but this crew made some horrible calls, could you have one of your people look it over and do whatever you think’s right?”

    And then they hope something happens.

  30. Jeff Nye on September 6th, 2007 3:48 pm

    You could put Richie Sexson at shortstop, too.

    That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    Although it’d be a lot of fun to watch with the playoff race basically over. Maybe his height is an advantage at SS, like people keep claiming it is at first base!

    It’d be hard to hit a ball over his head.

    The point I’m trying to make, pretty sarcastically I’ll admit, is that there were tools and skills-based reasons for moving Adam Jones away from the SS position, especially since it was done well before Betancourt was established as the future of the team at SS.

    At the lower levels of play, SS is often the place you stick your best athlete, and then you wait for them to play their way out of that spot. Jones did, so he’s an outfielder now.

  31. Gomez on September 6th, 2007 4:30 pm

    69. And maybe Blake had an entire offseason to get reacclimated with 3B. AND maybe he has actually played some infield since his time in the low minors… actually, as you mentioned, he had.

    I admit it’s not just an issue of time away, but of when in Adam’s development he last played the infield. It’s one thing to have last played infield a year or two ago if you had played infield in the majors, and quite another if your last experience was in AA as a teenager. If Adam Jones had played a lot of infield in Tacoma, I’d probably be more in line with your assessment. But….

    Also, what Grizz said in 73.

  32. jlc on September 6th, 2007 5:02 pm

    Speaking of youth and learning lessons: (and realizing this is preaching to the choir)

    Summer fling: Cleveland Indians enjoying special season …

    With an unmatched starting rotation and a lineup stocked with young players mostly unknown outside Ohio’s borders, the Indians, drawing on painful lessons learned in a late-season collapse two Septembers ago, are on the verge of securing their first division championship since 2001. …

    With his offense stuck in a prolonged slump last month, manager Eric Wedge benched second baseman Josh Barfield and replaced him with rookie Asdrubal Cabrera. Since the switch — on Aug. 15 — the Indians have been the majors’ best team.

  33. jlc on September 6th, 2007 5:02 pm
  34. Russ on September 6th, 2007 5:41 pm

    Seriously, does anyone really think the answer is to move Jones to the infield? We have a large left field, we need an fast, mobile guy with a plus arm in that position. Whoa, look at this….Adam Jones is a fast, mobile guy with a plus arm, he’s under club control for some years, has hit well…maybe we should let him play OF.

    Even thinking we need him at SS is why none of us are either scouts or GM in MLB.

  35. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 6th, 2007 6:01 pm

    Oh for god’s sake. To listen to you guys go on and on and on about AJ, the sheer volume of commentary devoted to AJ getting more playing time, is, well, seriously out of scale to the value-added his presence in the lineup would have created as compared to, oh, a REAL addition to the rotation.

    It’s like you’re spending all your energy trying to bail water instead of fixing the gaping hole allowing the water to pour in.

    And you know, I’ve watched a lot of baseball in my life. AJ is a very good player and he’s made great strides over this past year (small sample size, against AAA pitching), but he is not a one man savior worthy of this much commentary. And before you say it’s more generalized about the Ms not giving a chance to young players, please try not to forget all the young players (rookies or 1 solid year behind them ‘vets’) on their roster.

  36. DMZ on September 6th, 2007 6:05 pm

    Okay, look, I sympathize, but here’s the problem: we got all the whining out about Horacio pretty early, and gave up. This happens to be the most recent symptomatic issue.

    But, also — no one’s forcing you to read Jones-related stuff. There’s plenty of other stuff here. Like pitching-related whining! Lineup-related whining! Transaction-related whining!

  37. John in L.A. on September 6th, 2007 6:10 pm

    85 – Get a hold of yourself man. We discuss AJ because it’s a move the team COULD make. Not a hell of a lot to do about the rotation right now.

    Send Morrow down to be a starter, check. But what do you propose to do about the rotation right this minute? Yeah, me either.

    No one here is claiming Jones is a savior and you know it. It is a no-brainer move that the team refuses to make. That makes it worthy of commentary. If we had a starting pitcher as good as Jones, we’d be talking about that, too.

    So get over yourself and let people talk about it if they feel like it.

    And our starting nine, as I posted about yesterday, have 78 years of experience between them. A few youngsters in the bullpen doesn’t make up for that.

  38. schmicky on September 6th, 2007 7:56 pm

    lets say AJ gets very few hits in his appearances, if perhaps he were in the line on more occasions. He would still not have hurt the team as we know it today.{ I really think that other teams are more well prepared for post season play than the M’s are this season.} Next season would be the turning point and comfort zone for this young outfielder with ample athletitism to be a peranual allstar for years to come, I’m sure. my three cents worth.

  39. Oly Rainiers Fan on September 6th, 2007 8:58 pm

    87 – Combined service years doesn’t mean squat, nor does youth.

    You guys occasionally point out that TALENT is the factor, talent applies to old folks and young folks alike and there ARE certain vets that are worth the money and playing time just like there ARE certain rookies that aren’t.

    All the ranting, as if age or service time should be some kind of primary indicator weakens your arguments when the real argument should be about how the Ms do (or more accurately) do not evaluate talent or contribution between players effectively. THAT argument holds just as much weight when you’re discussing how they CHOSE to acquire the vets they did as it does when discussing whether or not to play AJ.

    86 – you’re right, for a brief time there was intensive McLaren-related whining, but again…this very site has discussed how little impact the manager makes overall. I’m just saying, the two most recent whines (AJ playing time + McLaren in-game moves) that took up a lot of blog space, well, both are relatively minor contributing factors to the real problem (Ms evaluation of talent and consequent choices, both on acquisition and playing time related to their flawed strategies on that).

  40. John in L.A. on September 6th, 2007 10:46 pm

    89 – Huh?

    Are you agreeing with me, then? I brought up how old the line-up is to respond to your ‘Don’t forget all our young’ns!” statement, not to say that experience is bad.

    Is anyone here not saying that talent should be the deciding factor? I’m confused who you think you are arguing with.

    As to discussing Aj and its importance or non-importance, perhaps we can set up some kind of intensity queue for you to vet what issues cause us angst.

    AJ is notable and worthy of discussion because it was a big step the team could have made at no cost and didn’t.

    I don’t think you are going to find anyone who doesn’t think we need starting pitching, you’re not being exactly revelatory there. We just can’t get it at the moment. And had few options to improve it earlier… those we did have were discussed.

    AJ is an ongoing issue. As was, say, Parrish and White, also much discussed.

  41. Colm on September 7th, 2007 10:19 am

    This from “30 year veteran” Steve Lubratich, Cleveland Indians director of player personnel and candidate for GM of the Houston Astros, as reported last night on

    “Look at the game today — the Yankees have a $200 million payroll and they’re counting on two draftees from 2006 to help them now. The Red Sox have a $150 million payroll and they’re calling up guys drafted a couple of years ago to help them in the playoffs, and possibly go on further in the playoffs. The game’s getting younger and it’s important to have young players. You have to be able to count on them.”

    Maybe, outside of Seattle and the ESPN commentary booth, the conventional wisdom is not so conventional anymore.

  42. Plim on September 8th, 2007 11:13 am

    Just piling on here but to add what #91 and Dave have been saying, division rival Anaheim has Kendry Morales batting cleanup in place of an injured Vlad. They are playing a 1st place team, they are fighting for the best record in the AL and home field advantage and yet they have a call up batting 4th.

    Free Adam Jones!

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