Read the tea leaves with me

DMZ · September 18, 2007 at 11:43 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Something’s been bothering me for a while, so I’m going to throw this out — the broadcast crew operates as a promotional wing of the team. They’re there to sell the product. But like any propaganda wing, there’s a lot of subtext you can read if, like me, you’re nutty and read a lot of history during your impressionable years. And there’s been a lot of strangeness going on lately if you’ve been paying attention (and if you haven’t, you’re in good company).

Besides the increasingly weird contortions Blowers goes through to justify lineup choices (gotta go with the guys who ground it out, unless they won a game with Bloomquist in the lineup, then you go with the guys who are winning)(by the way, one of the weirdest in-game comments was the assertion that other players asked for Bloomquist to be kept in the lineup, which would support the view that Lopez isn’t particularly popular, much less appreciated, even within the team, considering that Guillen was willing to step up and trash Jones on behalf of Ibanez/Vidro when they were stinking up the joint)… okay, that was too long of a parenthetical, so I’ll start over.

They’ve been repeatedly pounding in broadcasts that Jones could/would/should start next year. They’ve gone so far as to say it’s his time, he deserves it, he absolutely should be starting… that’s really strong language to use, and moreover, I can’t remember another time that we’ve seen the PR arm pushing playing time for a player, even next year. They just don’t agitate for that kind of thing. This is especially weird since there is no place for that person right now or in the future, unless some move is made. Now of course they’re not saying that someone else has to go — there’s no way that happens. But there’s no other way for it to work out.

And if the organizational view is that Jones is a trading chip to be used to acquire pitching, there’s no reason they’d be pumping up Jones as the future of the outfield and saying the team’s got to find a place for him. They’d be shutting up about him entirely, most likely.

I thought about this a lot last night, and here’s what I’m thinking: either explicitly or just from general chatter, the crew knows the team’s determined to move Sexson next year. They’ve had the chance before, could even have let Detroit pick him up on waivers (oh man, does that look like a wasted chance in retrospect, but that’s not the topic at hand). Then they’ll figure something out, most likely playing Ibanez/Vidro at first, with the other at DH, and

The other possibility, and it doesn’t seem as likely but still… they’re going to dump Lopez and play Vidro out there, DH Ibanez, and put Jones in left. They’re clearly steamed at Lopez, to the point they were trying to replace him at the deadline with Loretta, but Vidro’s time in the field, while not a disaster, certainly proved his lateral range is just destroyed. That’s not as huge a liability at first, but at second, wow.

(or, alternately, if Ichiro wants… actually, I don’t want to open that yet)

I can’t figure out another explanation for the propaganda – and essentially, the promise of playing time – if the sentiment isn’t that a move’s going to be made. They’re not selling fans on a player they know is going to be gone, and they’re certainly not selling “his time has come” without the team at least letting it go: I’m sure if they disproved, or didn’t want that storyline sold, someone would have a chat with the producers or the talent, and that’d be the last we heard about it.

Sexson or Lopez, then?


165 Responses to “Read the tea leaves with me”

  1. DMZ on September 18th, 2007 6:42 pm

    w/r/t Guillen, again, the only rumors since Guillen’s one-time outburst on behalf of other struggling hitters have been that it’s on the verge of being done. No setback rumors or anything.

  2. DMZ on September 18th, 2007 6:44 pm

    Let’s set aside the racial/cultural issue for now. I promise we’ll come back to it.

  3. Crushgroovin on September 18th, 2007 9:00 pm

    I believe that there are a few reasons that may be responsible for Macs qustionable line ups.

    1) He is completely intimidated by the veterans on the team and doesn’t have the balls to go stand up to the alleged Veteran leadership. BTW how many of theses alleged veteran leaders have experience winning? Have any of them appeared in a word series? or a LCS for that matter. Wasn’t it Baker who commented that the verterans seemed a bit to compfortable losing.

    2) He has always been the players friend. You know the guy who smoothes things over after the manager rips the clubhouse to shreds. An important figure but not a manager. I have seen it many times in business where the most popular guy is promoted to manager and the team goes into the toilet because he is to much everyones buddy to show any authority.

    3) He is a complette idiot.

    Hey but good news the rumors about Larusa coming over. Say what you want about that guy but he is one of the few who still understands how vital it is that a player looks good in uniform. I love that rating a players potential based in part on how they look in uniform.

    Finally I called it a month ago that the local pundits would start blaming the M’s failure on the lac of experience in the bullpen. What a load of it. These are the same guys who think that how a coach is with the media is a good determinate on his ability to win games.

    Ok that’s my diatrabe. I am surfe it makes no sense but hey i tore a muscle in my lower back the two days ago and have about 40 milligrams of Oxycodone in my system. Yikes!

  4. msb on September 18th, 2007 10:58 pm

    Also, they complained about King Felix being lazy last year.

    um, I think it was just a little obvious last year that Felix had not exactly buckled down before the season began.

  5. Typical Idiot Fan on September 19th, 2007 12:05 am

    I’m with John in LA. Talking up Jones is all well and good, because he deserves to have a little hype before he shows us what he can do. I remember Jose Cruz, Jr getting quite a bit of hype before he became the everyday left fielder (only to be traded in the middle of the season, to the shock of m any).

    The organization knows how to use their broadcasters to “feel” out the fans. This is probably just another attempt. We know Bavasi wants Jones to play, so I don’t know where that question comes up. The question is, then, as DMZ has said, who goes so he can play?

  6. fLAKEYjAKEY on September 19th, 2007 12:18 am

    i believe Ibanez, Vidro, Sexon, and (gulp) Lopez are goners. Willy B., Brouser, AJ, JR.(Ken), and WLB (Wlad). will all be mixed around. shaken. stirred. but the one who really believes that’ll be the “ticket seller” is none to believed. I would tear up (again) for JR, just like I was 11 yrs old, again, like it was that day, earlier this year. Painfully I must even trade Jake Locker, WLB, & AJ for an ace like … the Twins City might find expendable… maybe …

  7. fLAKEYjAKEY on September 19th, 2007 12:24 am

    sorry for the run ons and mis spelling I just get so wimpy when it come to JR.

  8. Typical Idiot Fan on September 19th, 2007 12:53 am

    ha ha oh wow.

  9. baseball forever on September 19th, 2007 1:30 am

    Long-time reader (for years), but first-time responder.

    1. Regarding the Lopez issue:

    Has anybody suggested the possiblity of playing Jones at his originally drafted position of SS? I imagine that he still has all of the skills to play SS well. The Mariners should make him the starting SS. He could also back up in the OF. Kind of like Willie B, but a good hitter.

    This allows Yuni to be the 2B. Talk about a strong middle infield, not just in hitting, but in fielding, and in speed. Yuni has played 2B before and has great range. Much better hitter than Lopez.

    This allows Lopez to be the utility player, as he has had experience at 2B, 3B, and SS. If he develops into a better player, then he can work his way back in to the starting lineup. In the offseason, he likely will be offered in a trade for starting pitching, with some combination of Sexson, Broussard, Clement, or Balentien…whatever it takes to get a really good starter. Probably will remain on the M’s unless he helps us land a top level starter.

    2. Regarding the Sexson issue:

    Sexson is gone. There are teams that will pay him between 6-10 million, so the M’s will pay the difference and send him along. Maybe he will just go in an isolated deal, or in a package deal, but he is gone. Even if the M’s thought he might have a good season next year, I don’t think they could risk all of discontented fans Booing Sexson with every “swing and a miss”. Sexson’s presence on the team could affect ticket sales, and the M’s are all about making the mighty dollar, and making Safeco a Fun Fan Experience.

    Therefore, the remaining starters (back-ups) at 1B, DH, LF are:
    Broussard (or Vidro) will play 1B.
    Vidro (or Ibanez) will play DH.
    Ibanez (or Balentien) will play LF.
    (Jones could play LF at times, to let Lopez play at 2B, and let Yuni play SS.)

    3. The Guillen issue:

    The M’s will Sign Guillen to a 2-3 year contract. His leadership and aggressive play seems to light a fire in the mellow Mariners. Good hitter, too. I think he is a big part of their success this season. I think he is a weak fielder, seems to misplay the ball a lot, but does have a good arm. Could DH later in his career.

    4. The Vidro issue (not likely to happen but should):

    The M’s should seriously entertain any trade offer for Vidro. Buy low, sell high. His value is at its peak. Allows Ibanez to be DH, and Balentien to be LF (perhaps Reed as 4th OF). Vidro has had a decent season, probably better than anyone expected. But I will be surprised if he has this much success next year. Only signed for one more year, and certainly cannot be in the long-term plans.

  10. Wishhiker on September 19th, 2007 2:22 am

    I tend to agree that if they thought Vidro should replace Lopez he’d be playing there now. My hope is that both Sexson and Vidro are shown the door at the end of the season, but that’s not likely to happen. That’s the only way that the M’s acquire a 1Bman with Power and keep Ibanez off the field/start Jones in the field.

    I find it hard to believe that Guillen will not be retained. Not that I think he’s worth it.

    Would they re-sign Guillen, play Jones regularly, and retain everyone else but Sexson?

    It’s possible, but doesn’t look a whole lot better defensively. I don’t see this as improving something Mclaren has even noticed as something to improve this offseason, lack of patience by the hitters. The most likely I guess would be moving Ibanez or Vidro to 1B. Yuck.


    Where does anyone think a 1Bman is coming from?

    If Clement is ready as a hitter, enough to learn a new position in the Offseason/Spring, I missed something.

    A couple OF’s look marginally interesting (though Guillen actually looks a bit better to me than any FA OF) but I see no 1Bmen that are appealing at all.

    An interesting thought about who could most easily be replaced, looking at available DH, 1B, 2B and OFers is one who’s been playing 2 of those positions. Alexei Ramirez is a 26 YO (this week) Cuban National who’s been playing 2B, and CF for Cuba (SS and CF in Cuba). Signing him could give the team some flexibility going in to the Spring, if he’s ready for the bigs. He hit .335 with a .574 slugging percentage including 20 HR this season for Pinar del Rio. He led the Cuban National Season in hits in ‘03 with the same team, but I can’t find the total number (nor AB’s/any other stats). Not sure about his height, weight, bats (saw him hit a HR RH on YouTube, Switch? probably not…)Anyone know anything else about him?

  11. DMZ on September 19th, 2007 9:21 am

    Jones isn’t moving back to the infield, kind of a worn topic.

  12. msb on September 19th, 2007 9:21 am

    Drayer said she asked Yuni about him, and he said that it had been several years since he had seen him play, but that back when he knew him, Ramirez was a 5 tool player– a good shortstop and even better centerfielder

  13. galaxieboi on September 19th, 2007 10:20 am

    JONES WILL NOT PLAY SS. EVER. AGAIN. Everyone should let it go.

  14. Wishhiker on September 19th, 2007 3:17 pm

    from Prospect insider I got some answers about Ramirez. Basic idea that he’d probably be a .270 (up to) 25HR Corner OFer. If that’s the case, at best he could be a cheaper replacement for Guillen and the only one I’m looking at that might be reason to let him go. If he can play up the middle in MLB (which Jason said specifically he probably won’t) he could be part of a good DP combo with Yuni. Of course, if Lopez gets back on track there’d be no need for someone up the middle on the team.

  15. serpentear on September 26th, 2007 12:11 am

    Trade them both. Lopez going into the second half is like watching a four year old trying to hit the ball(let Morse or Bloomy take his spot). Sexson is just getting to the age were players decline and he is not going to have a record season even in his contract year.

    As for Guillen, I am fine wiht his extension, it doesn’t garuntee he will start for the next 3 years.

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