Can’t find a full lineup yet, but apparently Turbo’s hitting 5th and Wlad’s 7th, so why not guess at the rest, it never changes.
Sorry about that disappearance, guys – technical snafu. But we should be good to go now.
Clement and Balentien officially up, with Norton and Wilkerson going away. Wlad is the new starting RF, and Clement will probably DH vs right handers for now.
There’s a few different topics of conversation here. Here’s a quick overview:
1. The team has to be applauded for taking swift action when faced with the reality that they misjudged the talent on the roster this winter. We’ve seen them take far, far longer than this in the past, dragging the corpses of Carl Everett and the like into the deep summer while the team falls out of contention. Adam Jones wasted three months of productive baseball sitting down in Tacoma last year after it was obvious that he could help the team, and the team flatly refused to let him make the team better. They learned from that mistake, and have reacted swiftly to the understanding that they had internal options that were better than the guys they had around. Kudos to Bavasi, McLaren, and company.
2. The service time thing is a more interesting issue than is currently being discussed. Yes, the M’s could have pushed free agency for Clement back a year by waiting to do this move until next week, and for some people, that’s enough to call this move stupid. But the Mariners aren’t ignorant of that fact – they just have a different set of beliefs about how that should affect roster decisions. You don’t have to agree with those beliefs (I don’t think I do, but I am willing to admit that they have something of a point on the lack of ethics of intentionally holding a guy down when you believe he’s ready), but you should be willing to admit that it’s not ignorance that drove that decision.
3. With Wilkerson and Norton going away, it appears that Balentien is being handed the right field job on a daily basis, because the only other outfielder on the bench is Willie Bloomquist. It will be interesting to see whether the team begins to look for a left handed veteran if Balentien doesn’t start hitting immediately, and with his skillset, there’s a decent chance that he could struggle adjusting to major league pitching.
4. I don’t expect Clement to see any time behind the plate except in case of an emergency. With Johjima and Burke around, and the organization still not being too high on Clement’s defense, I’d imagine he’ll just DH against right-handed pitchers and be used as a pinch hitter when he doesn’t start. I don’t think Clement coming up means anything to the playing time of the two catchers already here.
5. Seriously, what does this organization see in Miguel Cairo?
6. My projections for what Clement and Balentien will do now that they’re up? .240/.300/.390 for Wlad and .270/.350/.470 for Clement.
I’ve got a post up over at Fangraphs in my continuing attempt to get people to realize that Adrian Beltre is a quality player, and at this point, he’s almost certainly underpaid.
Seriously, where would the M’s be without him right now? .309/.409/.553, 16 walks and 14 extra base hits, and some terrific defense at the hot corner. Since the M’s are handing out contract extensions, perhaps they should contact Beltre’s agent – he’s a guy they should locking up.
Neither Wladimir Balentien nor Jeff Clement is in the line-up for the Rainiers tonight. John McLaren told Geoff Baker today that they’ll be up “sooner than later”. You do the math.
Silva v Carmona. 4:05 our time.
Carlos Silva and Fausto Carmona both carry the sinkerballer label, but they are total opposites. Silva isn’t really a groundball guy anymore, but just throws a ton of strikes and hopes the results work out for him. Carmona throws a nasty, diving “turbo sinker”, but has lost his ability to put the ball in the strike zone with regularity.
The Mariners need to let Carmona get himself in trouble. An aggressive mindset against him is just going to lead to a lot of weak groundouts. Take the walk, boys.
No M’s, so listen to the Rainiers play New Orleans starting… just about now.
Robert Rohrbaugh vs Joselo Diaz. And yes, Jeff Clement. Still.
Today’s gig is at 2:35 pm on KJR.
With an off day to think about what’s happened during the first month of the season, the Mariners front office has one question that looms above everything else they do.
How long do we give _________ until we decide that we should get someone else?
It’s unavoidable. The question is everywhere.
The team isn’t getting anything from the right field position. How long do they give Brad Wilkerson until they decide they should get someone else?
The team isn’t getting anything out of the designated hitter position. How long do they give Jose Vidro until they decide they should get someone else.
The team isn’t getting anything out of the first base position. How long do they give Richie Sexson until they decide they should get someone else?
Through the first 26 games, the Mariners are getting a .198/.315/.407 mark from their 1Bs, a .200/.326/.263 mark from their RFs, and a .227/.276/.340 mark from their DHs. Those are three of the easiest positions in baseball to find guys who can hit, and they’re getting absolutely nothing.
No, you don’t want to make rash decisions on the basis of one month’s worth of baseball, but there were legitimate concerns about all three of those positions heading into the season. While the degree may be, these players’ struggles aren’t unexpected. Going in another direction isn’t justifiable just based on April, but when you factor in what we already knew about these guys going into the season, it’s simply correcting the mistakes of the past and recognizing what the organization should have figured out over the winter.
The team has options. The Reds and Cubs both have too many outfielders, so call about Corey Patterson, Ryan Freel, and Matt Murton. See what the Nationals want for Nick Johnson. Call up Jeff Clement. If you get two or three of those five guys, you can revitalize the entire offense. It won’t take an arm and a leg to pick up some useful role players and make some upgrades. With three trades and a callup, you could have the following line-ups:
1. Ichiro – CF
2. Johnson – 1B
3. Beltre – 3B
4. Ibanez – RF
5. Patterson – LF
6. Lopez – 2B
7. Clement – DH
8. Johjima – C
9. Betancout – SS
1. Ichiro – CF
2. Lopez – 2B
3. Johnson – 1B
4. Beltre – 3B
5. Sexson – DH
6. Murton – LF
7. Ibanez – RF (really, I’d prefer this to be Patterson, but I know they won’t platoon Raul…)
8. Johjima – C
9. Betancourt – SS
Seriously, you’re not going to have to mortgage the future to get Corey Patterson, Matt Murton, or Nick Johnson. Yes, you’ll have to give up some talent, but you’ve already decided to go for broke this year when you made the ridiculous Bedard deal, so no point in just going half way. If you’re going to try to win in 2008, try to win in 2008.
The offense needs help. The defense needs help. The team needs help.
How long the team is willing to give players who shouldn’t have had jobs to begin with will determine whether this team has a chance or not. As constructed, this isn’t a playoff team. It’s just not. Admit your mistakes, show some humility, and make the team better.
From the dictionary:
A contest in which one opponent is distinctly superior.
April 27, 2008, 2nd inning:
Fastball, 95: ball
Fastball, 94: called strike
Fastball, 95: foul
Fastball, 96: swinging strike (out)
Fastball, 94: foul
Fastball, 97: called strike
Fastball, 96: swinging strike (out)
Fastball, 96: called srike
Fastball, 97: foul
Curveball, 82: called strike (out)
That was just way too much fun.