Your choice of games today

DMZ · March 9, 2008 at 11:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s play two split-squad games. I know we haven’t been putting up game threads for spring training games, and I’d say there are two reasons:
1) these games, especially this early in spring training, are good to watch some baseball and not much else
2) we’re really busy and spring training games are inconveniently scheduled for hanging out with the USSM readership

I haven’t been able to psyche myself up to tune in for some of these horrible lineups, but then I also wasn’t excited about those tone-setting McLaren-is-serious games against the Angels where he threw everything at them for no reason.

Also, because the M’s have gone into spring training with nearly every position set, there’s not a lot of drama to see if someone might force their way onto the starting lineup. Mike More could hit .600 all spring training and they’re not going to play him at first over Sexson. The most interesting question is whether Dickey will stick with the team, and given the amount of time they’re spending on him, that seems almost like a done deal too. Knuckleballs are cool.

Two games today:
@ Arizona
@ Milwaukee (Or, as Scrappy Do would sing, “Milwaaaaaaukeeee/Milwaaaaaaukeeee/Everybody talkie ’bout Milwauakee”)

No word on what the lineups look like yet. I assume they’re both pretty awesome.


42 Responses to “Your choice of games today”

  1. klosetfann on March 9th, 2008 11:34 am

    How has Bedard done so far this spring(i know its early)? How has A.J. done so far?

  2. msb on March 9th, 2008 12:15 pm

    a classic example of spring training line-ups … HoRam is pitching vs Arizona solely because they didn’t want Batista on the bus trip to and fro to Tucson after his stiff back.

    fwiw, Mac just said they’ll have the first cut-down when they get back (and start feeding the minor-leaguers into their various camps) but that he probably won’t put the full-time line-up together until much closer to the start of the season, so they keep looking at other players.

  3. Mr. Egaas on March 9th, 2008 12:21 pm

    If they keep Betancourt hitting 2nd to begin the season, McLaren is offically a friggin’ idiot and I will start the Fire McLaren campaign myself.

  4. argh on March 9th, 2008 12:41 pm

    Now, now. He has flash cards. What could possibly go wrong?

  5. shortbus on March 9th, 2008 2:23 pm

    Vidro is the number 2 hitter. It’s his “raison d’être” as DH since he can’t hit for power. Is he back yet or is his elbow still bothering him?

  6. Typical Idiot Fan on March 9th, 2008 3:31 pm

    As if on cue, Morse goes 3 for 4 today with a double and a jack. Doesn’t look like it was a good day for pitchers, though. His homer came off of Brandon Webb. Ho-Ram was horrible.

    Aumont thrown to the wolves. A 19 year old against advanced hitters? Did the Mariners get jealous of David Price’s attention or something and feel like it was their duty to show off their young #1 pitcher?

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on March 9th, 2008 3:35 pm

    Oh, and Philip Barzilla, I just love the name. I just have this image of a 50 foot tall radioactive lizard walking into an establishment and ordering ALL the Guiness.

    He and his buddy Pub Kong are all about the night life.

  8. seattlesundevil on March 9th, 2008 4:21 pm

    I was at the Arizona / Seattle game today – Morse took Brandon Webb deep for a 2-run shot and HoRam was TERRIBLE (I actually called my friend while watching HoRam warm up to tell him how much shitty he looked even while warming up) Aumont pitched and got hit pretty hard – then got taken out after 1/3 of an inning.

    Arizona played basically their starting lineup (and Brandon Webb) and the M’s came out victorious so that was fun!

  9. John D. on March 9th, 2008 5:10 pm

    DMZ: “The most interesting question is whether Dickey will stick with the team…”

    If we want to keep him, we’d best not offer him back to the TWINS. With the TWINS having lost two starters (Santana and Silva), there’s almost no chance that they won’t take him back.

  10. stevenboise on March 9th, 2008 5:13 pm

    Where did this LaHair come from? I’ve tried to follow some of this spring to date, but too busy around the house and I live in Boise. The one TV game so far I saw him playing first and he seems to be getting into a lot of games and is doing well. 9 games, .412 avg. I know Sexson is set, but just curious about LaHair. The M’s official site says, “There are no statistical data available for this Player.”

  11. Breadbaker on March 9th, 2008 5:20 pm

    10: He’s an M’s draft choice from the beginning, and the regular first baseman at Tacoma last year:

    He’s 25 and I don’t think the M’s think of him as a longterm prospect at first.

  12. Mr. Egaas on March 9th, 2008 5:46 pm

    Morse has to be hitting his way onto the squad, given he is out of options and all. I think he’s a fine bench player for the M’s… can play left and right field, 1st and 3rd base, and play SS in a pinch while being not an absolute offensive hole in the lineup that Willie would be for a few games in a row.

    Man, this is gonna be a crappy bench. Bloomquist-Burke-Cairo-Morse-Norton ?

  13. joser on March 9th, 2008 5:56 pm

    No, there’s no room for Norton (or whoever the 5th bench guy would be). Just look at the roster. Twelve pitchers. Eight starters + DH. Backup catcher. Ignitor. Extra guy they gave a nonsensical contract to with no place to put him. That leaves one sport left, and yeah it looks like Morse is winning it. First place is a spot on the bench (though we can hope to see him push Ibanez out of LF and into DH, pushing Vidro to the bench). Second place is a set of steak knives. And a spot in Tacoma.

  14. Mr. Egaas on March 9th, 2008 6:01 pm

    You’re probably right.

    Bloomquist-Burke-Morse-Norton seems like it would adequate. Friggin’ Cairo… I wonder if they have the cajones to just eat that mistake and let him go.

    I doubt the team would ever feel the need to replace Vidro’s veteran lefty (switch hitting even!) bat for Morse, another right hander. It’s already a pretty righty-heavy lineup.

  15. joser on March 9th, 2008 6:05 pm

    Oops, sorry about the links. Let’s try that again:

    LeHair isn’t listed on the Rainiers site for some reason, though (somewhat poignantly) their banner still features a couple of pictures of Adam Jones. Clearly their web monkey site designer isn’t employed in the offseason.

  16. skipj on March 9th, 2008 6:16 pm

    My work (I’m a contractor) allows me to indulge my M’s obsession. I’ve heard almost every spring game and several questions have come to mind.
    1. Mike Morse has played a lot. He’s hitting great, medium spectacular fielding, today, at least. It’s pretty clear he’s being trade bait showcased, but for what?
    2. Matt Lahair has played a bunch too. Why?
    3. Is it possible that the FO has grown a pair and a brain and are willing to simply view Sexson as a sunk cost and cut him loose?

  17. Librocrat on March 9th, 2008 7:25 pm

    16 –

    My thoughts:

    1) He’s done really well. No reason not to see what else he can do.
    2) No idea, but they have no backup first baseman, so they may just be seeing what he can do also.
    3) No.

  18. azfred on March 9th, 2008 7:39 pm

    Long time reader, but posts are few and far between. I was at the M’s-Brewers game today and I sat right behind the plate. The only real highlight was Jake Woods – dominating performance. I know I don’t need to say it but Ichiro! looked fine – just missed on a couple that could have easily been base hits. Richie, on the other hand, looked completely lost at the plate. He was obviously guessing on everything and guessing badly. I cheered for him each time to try to pass on some positive energy but it was just sad to watch.

    The biggest surprise for me was the cheer that WFB got when he came up to bat the first time. He got a louder welcome than anyone else for the M’s and it wasn’t even close.

  19. Typical Idiot Fan on March 9th, 2008 7:48 pm

    Re 16:

    2. Matt Lahair has played a bunch too. Why?


  20. msb on March 9th, 2008 7:51 pm

    hey, they love the kid.

    as for playing Morse & LeHair– it’s spring, these guys play. the last time I got to go to Peoria, I saw more of Augie Ojeda than just about anyone else.

  21. msb on March 9th, 2008 8:11 pm

    two quotes from Baker’s blog:

    “McLaren said Aumont’s outing was kept a secret on purpose in a designed move to avoid a big media buildup. “Good experience for him,” McLaren said of the 19-year-old. “There’s a lot of things he’s got to learn in this game and it just gave him a little preview of what the game is all about on a higher level. He’s going to be great.””


    “Spoke to Ramirez in the clubhouse just now and he said he’s working on his changeup in camp, and it wasn’t spotted as well as in previous outings. “The worst pitch I made was the one to Burke, the double in the gap,” he said. “I was trying to a double-play ball there, but it stayed up in the zone and he hit it good. Besides that inning, my other two I thought, were good.” Stottlemyre told Ramirez to be more aggressive after the second inning.”

  22. Pete on March 9th, 2008 8:28 pm

    Spring numbers don’t mean much, but if Morse and Clement continue to hit well throughout March, wouldn’t it make sense to at least put them in the conversation at first base and DH?

  23. DaveValleDrinkNight on March 9th, 2008 9:48 pm

    Clement won’t be there because his behind the Plate game needs a lot of work. But if healthy, he’ll be with the Club next year no doubt. As far as Morse, the guy should be on the Team. Period. He flat out hits.

  24. Breadbaker on March 9th, 2008 10:32 pm

    The Mariners never seem to look at their own roster and ask, “what do we have that can meet our needs?” Instead they’re always doing a “grass is greener” analysis. They re-sign HoRam, sign Silva, and now they’re signed Denny Stark, for God’s sake, while Baek is out of options. They never considered the possibility that Mike Morse would make a decent DH/LF/1B last year, and now we’re undoubtedy going to give him to one of our dumping ground teams (CWS, SD, COL) for another pot of lentils. There are days I wonder if they have a plan for lunch, let alone this season or the next.

  25. Grizz on March 10th, 2008 12:28 am

    Mike Morse’s AAA numbers (679 AB): .275/.334/.429. He’s replacement level.

  26. DaveValleDrinkNight on March 10th, 2008 1:41 am

    In Response to Grizz:

    Those are not bad numbers in Triple A. When you also consider that Morse has been bounced back and forth between the M’s and AAA, you have to take into account several other factors. He’s good, not great on Defense. He does have some decent pop in his bat and as far as the replacement player tag, that’s exactly what were talking about. Why sign a late 30’s Vet on the downside of his career for 2 mil,(Aurilla, Everett, Cairo, et al.) when you’ve got a young guy with promise in the organization who can fill the same role for the League minimum?

  27. BrianV on March 10th, 2008 5:59 am

    Mike Morse flat out hits poorly.

  28. Grizz on March 10th, 2008 6:13 am

    Those are lousy numbers for AAA, especially for a 1B/3B/corner OF-type with no defensive value like Morse.

  29. msb on March 10th, 2008 6:59 am

    They re-sign HoRam, sign Silva, and now they’re signed Denny Stark, for God’s sake, while Baek is out of options.

    Stark has had two TJ surgeries, hasn’t pitched since 2004, and is on a minor league deal. I doubt this is anything more than filling a minor league roster spot if he shows signs of having anything left at this point.

  30. Mr. Egaas on March 10th, 2008 7:45 am

    Only a matter of time before we get the “Morse made past mistakes with the roids, but he’s a good guy and he’s back to prove it” newspaper articles.

  31. msb on March 10th, 2008 8:02 am

    already happened.

    there’s a Washburn postgame interview up on the Ms site. One scary farmer’s tan, there.

  32. Evan on March 10th, 2008 8:50 am

    Aumont thrown to the wolves. A 19 year old against advanced hitters?

    Worse than just being 19, Aumont’s baseball age is considerably younger than that. Remember, for much of his adolescence Aumont was homeless. His high school didn’t have a baseball program. The kid has almost no organised baseball experience.

  33. eddie on March 10th, 2008 9:22 am

    I think it’s really kind of weird that Balentien and Jones were (I think) considered to be at the same level in the minors and that once Jones left, that Balentien isn’t considered to be the leading candidate to be the right fielder over Wilkerson. You get the idea that McLaren likes his veterans and will play them until they can’t play no more.

  34. joser on March 10th, 2008 9:55 am

    Actually, a lot of people (most notably Dave here) thought that Balentien was quite a bit behind Jones in terms of development. As a RH pull hitter he’s not well-suited to Safeco, either; he’s really trade bait more than anything (of course, that assumes Bavasi can get fair value in a trade).

  35. Breadbaker on March 10th, 2008 10:17 am

    33 & 34: While I agree that Balentien was considered behind Jones and might not be major-league-ready, that doesn’t diminish the accurate point that McLaren is of the “I’d rather bring in some veteran guy than fill a hole with some kid” school. Which is why we never saw Jones play regularly after he was called up last summer. My sense from listening to him is he’s the creature of the veterans cabal on the team.

  36. Gomez on March 10th, 2008 11:14 am

    I’m curious how the catchers are handling the duty of catching Dickey’s knuckler. It’s usually a royal pain for catchers, with passed balls and jammed fingers galore, but I’ve heard surprisingly little about catching difficulties with Dickey.

  37. avideo on March 10th, 2008 11:16 am

    I am new here and just wanted to say a few words about these spring training games for those that haven’t been there. Two weeks ago we flew to Phoenix to see the Mariners play their first four games. In almost all of these games the team will start out with a lineup of 6 or 7 regulars and a couple of bench players or maybe a couple of players from AAA in the other two spots. After the start of inning three there are usually wholesale lineup replacements by both teams. So it’s pretty hard to take these games to seriously. We saw Bedard start at Scottsdale against the Giants, and he did a great job giving up three runs early on. Not exactly a great way to start. We were impressed with Mike Morse, he’s hitting and fielding well. Can’t say the same about Sexson. He’s still got last season’s batting form.

  38. Evan on March 10th, 2008 11:35 am

    Actually, a lot of people (most notably Dave here) thought that Balentien was quite a bit behind Jones in terms of development. As a RH pull hitter he’s not well-suited to Safeco, either; he’s really trade bait more than anything (of course, that assumes Bavasi can get fair value in a trade).

    It’s for this reason I really expected Bavasi to bundle Wlad rather than AJ. AJ alone was a fair (and arguably high) price for Bedard – in the bundle I think Wlad should have gotten it done.

  39. joser on March 10th, 2008 11:40 am

    Really? There was a spate of stories at the start of Spring Training. And then again after each time Dickey has appeared pitching to a new catcher (eg Johnson). But since nobody appears to be having huge problems, and the games don’t count so passed balls don’t get much attention, it hasn’t emerged as much of a story.

  40. Logger on March 10th, 2008 12:52 pm

    Speaking of Bedard, is it time to start getting worried? He hasn’t looked too stellar and already gave up 4 runs in the 1st today.

  41. thefin190 on March 10th, 2008 1:34 pm

    40 – Neither has Ichiro. Let’s not worry until the regular season starts to determine whether Bedard will meet expectations or not.

  42. Gomez on March 10th, 2008 2:17 pm

    39. A bunch of Jim Street fluff pieces from February don’t really answer my question. My question was in reference to the present, now that they’ve caught him in a somewhat competitive situation for 2 weeks.

    Though the media has nothing to say, I was hoping maybe somebody here had some more info or had gone to the games and had a first-hand look at how Dickey has pitched.

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