Dave · April 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Early trade results: Baltimore acquired three saves, a couple of base hits, and some good outfield defense in exchange for a bad hip. Advantage, Orioles.

Seriously, though, it’s another one run loss. Yes, Eric O’Flaherty had about as bad a first week in his new job as humanly possible, McLaren’s not inspiring confidence that he’s any better at this than he was last year, and the offense still looks horrible at times, but the team has been outscored by a whopping two runs in seven games. If you break an ankle jumping off the bandwagon now, it’s going to be harder to climb back on with a gimpy wheel when the breaks start going the M’s way.


104 Responses to “2-5”

  1. vkut79 on April 7th, 2008 3:09 pm

    Seven games against cellar teams though.

  2. currcoug on April 7th, 2008 3:10 pm

    Well, we will learn more after the Rays series, but God Almighty.

  3. robbbbbb on April 7th, 2008 3:11 pm

    Commencing wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments.

  4. DKCecil on April 7th, 2008 3:13 pm

    Can we still want McLaren fired? Because I want McLaren fired.

  5. Sports on a Schtick on April 7th, 2008 3:13 pm

    The team still doesn’t acknowledge things like platoons (subbing for Raul against lefties), defense (putting Morse in the OF) or bullpen management. There was no excuse for throwing O’Flaherty today.

    The results (2-5) have been bad. The M’s are putting themselves in positions to lose. That second part is what worries me.

  6. Jay R. on April 7th, 2008 3:14 pm

    But 88 wins was the starting point for this season!! /rolls eyes

    Even when the pitching and defense don’t gift wrap games for the opponents, this offense is not going to be good enough to win consistently. Playing teams not destined to bottom feed all season will be even uglier.

  7. zackr on April 7th, 2008 3:15 pm

    Hey Dave,
    Is it possible that severely good or bad quality late inning relief on a club is a heavy catalyst towards the projected win discrepancies we see from time to time – like last year with the m’s?

  8. Sports on a Schtick on April 7th, 2008 3:16 pm

    Oh and making Lopez bunt over Ichiro with no outs. Way to take away the bat from the team’s hottest hitter.

  9. jlc on April 7th, 2008 3:16 pm

    I’d be more upset if the things going wrong hadn’t been relatively predictable. Lack of offense, check. Problems with defense, check. Felix, Bedard, Silva have all pretty much worked out as hoped (yay, Felix), thought (minor injury, Bedard), and planned (stay in there, Silva). It just shows how many times JJ pulled our butts out of the flame last year and how many more times we need him to this year.

  10. OppositeField on April 7th, 2008 3:16 pm

    I’m ready to forget Opening Week of Major League Baseball. Let’s hope the M’s and O’Flaherty are too.

  11. Tom on April 7th, 2008 3:17 pm

    Look on the bright side, we have a better record than Detroit at this point. . .

  12. rcc on April 7th, 2008 3:17 pm

    I will risk life and limb IF I have to jump on any bandwagon. I was never on the bandwagon in the first place, and I don’t think it is a risk I will have to take this year.

    I heard a rumor….third hand…that the M’s are going to give both Sexson and Vidro a very short leash, and will release them both if both they and the M’s struggle in the early going. If they could only add McLaren to that duo there would be cause for optimism.

  13. jefffrane on April 7th, 2008 3:18 pm

    2008 Mantra: “At least we’re not in Detroit!”

  14. Tom on April 7th, 2008 3:20 pm

    #13: That’s a good mantra for any year I think. . .

  15. doededoe on April 7th, 2008 3:21 pm


  16. scraps on April 7th, 2008 3:21 pm

    I can’t believe Vidro would be on a short leash. Management and most fans and local media think he’s a success story.

  17. mln on April 7th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Think happy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. Think … ponies.

  18. Tom on April 7th, 2008 3:24 pm


  19. currcoug on April 7th, 2008 3:28 pm

    We play in the AL West, not the AL Central with the Tigers.

  20. jlc on April 7th, 2008 3:32 pm

    Hey, we’re only 2 1/2 back for the wild card. In September, we might look back on this fondly…

  21. smb on April 7th, 2008 3:35 pm

    At first read I thought, “Why would anyone want back on the bandwagon after the brakes start going…” Oh. Wrong kind of “breaks.” Yeah, the panic button needs a hard case over it. After all, this is pretty much what we expected so far, isn’t it?

  22. Carson on April 7th, 2008 3:36 pm

    I’m not freaking out or anything, but the team sure is blowing their opportunity to either hang in with, or distances themselves a little from, the Angels while they are dealing with injuries.

    2-5 against teams this bad is not the start anyone hoped for, or saw coming.

  23. The Unkown Comic on April 7th, 2008 3:43 pm

    I got my Devil Rays hat in the mail today. It has been fun being a Mariners fan but I need a new perspective on things and am becoming a Devil Rays fan because I like their stadium.

  24. kramerica60887 on April 7th, 2008 3:44 pm

    Here;s what bothers me the most about this team right now and Geoff Baker as well. The front office’s lack of foresight and Geoff Baker’s fixation on the some theoretical reality.

    He writes, after today’s loss:

    “with a healthy J.J. Putz last Tuesday and again yesterday, the M’s are probably a 4-2, first-place club in spite of their struggles. If that were the case, no one would be panicking like they are. So, who do you blame for that? Putz? That’s why it’s important to keep a level head about this.”

    OK, there is no questioning that losing Putz is a huge blow to the organization and had the team been using a bullpen that included Putz the team’s record would be quite different. However, this is exactly the reason why M’s management has failed us. A good team should have enough depth to overcome or at the very least minimize the effects of losing a closer like Putz. Most teams don’t even have a closer as good as Putz in the first place, yet somehow must manage to close out games. There’s no such thing as “if they only had Putz”. They don’t, so there’s nobody to blame but the front office for not having George Sherrill or Soriano as a backup. I mean, if a front office that has thrown caution to the wind and sacrificed a significant chunk of the future of an organization for the sake of making a World Series run, and with a payroll exceeding 100 million dollars, cannot sufficiently construct a bullpen, what makes anybody think they are capable of making proper personnel evaluations?

  25. Kingfelix34 on April 7th, 2008 3:47 pm

    The most frustrating thing to this point is seeing the offense just shut down. I knew going into the year that we were not an offensive powerhouse, but some of these guys just look hopeless at bat (Wilkerson, Johjima). Things will start to turn but I think we will need to add another bat to this lineup, there is just no fear in the heart of the order for opposing pitchers.

    In other news, is anyone here going to the game tomorrow? I live in Florida and will be attending the next two night’s games. There is a good sports bar right across the street from the Trop called Ferg’s that I usually go to before the games.

  26. skjes on April 7th, 2008 3:47 pm

    @22: The team is also dealing with their own injuries, though. We’ve lost one of our ace pitchers and our star closer.

    But yes, it’s only the start of the season. The Yankees were in the cellar for the first half of last year, and still aren’t winning yet. Neither is Detroit or the Red Sox. Does anyone think those trends are going to continue?

  27. kramerica60887 on April 7th, 2008 3:48 pm

    Geoff is fantastic, but I believe this is where a lot of the people that still support the front office fail, they focus too much on their intentions when making personnel decisions and not the actual consequences of those decisions. It’s very easy to say, we want to upgrade the rotation by acquiring a Cy Young candidate while only sacrificing a prospect and a setup man. Obviously, to anyone this would seem like a great idea. But we have to evaluate the importance of said setup man and prospect, while also realistically looking at whether the lacking of an “Ace” is the true problem facing this team.

  28. ooter on April 7th, 2008 3:48 pm

    I think there is some reason to panic. Before the season started we needed to get pretty lucky to make the playoffs. Now we need that same amount of luck plus whatever luck it will take us to climb out from 3 games below .500. It’s not like having bad breaks early in the season makes us more likely to have good breaks later. We have the same chance we started with and we are also a couple games back with big injuries.

  29. PositivePaul on April 7th, 2008 3:52 pm

    Kinda hard to dig out of this hole with a manager who has no freakin’ clue about how to manage a bullpen.

  30. JE on April 7th, 2008 3:56 pm

    It appears that although the players are a little slow to get up to speed that the management is even slower. It is understandable that the players are just getting going but the management needs to make the best of what the have to work with. Pitching changes, pitching selections and options for pitch-hitting and defensive substitutions seem to be lacking alot of thought. I would say that is where the good teams get ahead. The management makes up for the lack of player performance with good sound management decisions.

  31. pgreyy on April 7th, 2008 3:56 pm

    After what I saw in Spring Training, I wasn’t racing to drink the KoolAid that seemed to suggest that we were the sexy pick for the AL West. So, I’m not surprised by our 2-5 start.

    I’m gutted, as a fan, to have lost so many games by so few runs…games we could have, perhaps, SHOULD have won. But, I’m not surprised.

    I think the only surprise for me is in which team just swept us. While I didn’t think that the M’s were as good as some were saying…I certainly didn’t think that the Orioles were any good at all.

    I think going with 11 pitchers was a risk–especially when even with an extra bat off the bench, we had so few real OPTIONS. Losing JJ, forgetting that Rowland-Sm exists…all for the chance to have both Bloomquists cemented to the bench??? Pah.

    And then, watching the games on FSN…and hearing the “amazement” in Blowers & Sims as they realize that the Mariners have committed so many errors already this year when “this team was supposed to have one of the best defenses in the Majors”–whoa, what???

    But, again…even THAT doesn’t surprise me.

    What I HAVE been surprised by? Johjima’s struggling at the plate, Vidro’s unexpected power, Sexson walking…and get swept by Baltimore.

    The Mariners bats could get hot, the pitching could settle…and we reel off a string of victories to counter the feelings of doom that some who were tricked into higher expectations for the M’s this year might now feel… I wouldn’t be all that surprised by that.

  32. msb on April 7th, 2008 3:57 pm

    I think I need something more than just ponies. gingersnaps?

    I got my Devil Rays hat in the mail today.

    I hope it was a Rays hat, or you got skunked.

  33. moocow on April 7th, 2008 3:59 pm

    #28 has a good point. The M’s were a lucky 88 win team in 2007. You take a team that even plays better than that, but swing that luck in the opposite direction, and you easily have a sub-.500 team.

  34. Tek Jansen on April 7th, 2008 3:59 pm

    I completely agree with #5.

  35. Dave on April 7th, 2008 4:02 pm

    Bob Brenly won a World Series. I don’t think McLaren is any good at his job, but this team can win in spite of him.

  36. CC03 on April 7th, 2008 4:07 pm

    Hard to win in spite of McLaren when he puts his team in a position to lose.

  37. Tek Jansen on April 7th, 2008 4:08 pm

    But it would be nice if McLaren would help his players succeed rather than put them in spots where they are likely to fail. Just reading Baker’s blog, he ran out EO because he was the “situational lefty” and because 2R-S wasn’t prepared to pitch in late inning situations. EO has lost his role because, after being run out for the third consecutive day, he didn’t get the ball down to Huff. His failure was predicatable and preventable.

  38. Dave on April 7th, 2008 4:10 pm

    Sure – McLaren does a lot of things poorly, and his strategies generally suck. But, by in large, managers just don’t matter that much.

  39. Jar on April 7th, 2008 4:11 pm

    Geeze Dave, why are you always so damn positive about everything!

  40. JE on April 7th, 2008 4:15 pm

    McLaren is making a good case for that managers do matter that much. I agree with # 37. He is putting people in the wrong situations for their performance levels at this time.

  41. beckya57 on April 7th, 2008 4:16 pm

    I didn’t like this team last year, didn’t like the offseason moves, and didn’t like it before Bedard’s or Putz’ injuries, so I’m not jumping off any bandwagons. A serious organization 1) never makes Bavasi GM, 2) realizes after the half-season last year that McLaren can’t manage, and 3) doesn’t give up young talent for an oft-injured pitcher in a year when the team ought to be rebuilding. (The Bedard trade would been risky but still would have made sense in 2000 or 2001, when the team was a genuine contender but needed top-of-the rotation guys, but not now.) But, as we all know, this isn’t a serious organization.

  42. The Unkown Comic on April 7th, 2008 4:17 pm


    No its a 2007 batting practice Devil Rays hat I bought off of Ebay. I like it a lot because I am playing a Devil Rays Dynasty on MVP 2005 for the Xbox. I realize they are just called the Rays now but you have to give me a year to get used to that.

  43. JMHawkins on April 7th, 2008 4:18 pm

    “with a healthy J.J. Putz last Tuesday and again yesterday, the M’s are probably a 4-2, first-place club in spite of their struggles.

    Yeah, but we’d be 4-2 against the projected cellar of the league, with zero blowouts against them. We’re playing bad teams and looking like a worse one. Getting swept in a four game series against a team that traded away it’s top two stars for prosepcts because they are rebuilding?

    But I’ll agree that no one should panic. Not because the situation isn’t grim – it is grim. It’s just that panic won’t accomplish anything right now. Six weeks from now, if the M’s want to trade Bedard to a contender for an outfield prospect and a servicable setup man, well, I don’t know if that would be panic or prudence.

  44. Dave on April 7th, 2008 4:19 pm

    Can we stop calling Texas a cellar team? I’ve been telling everyone they’re pretty good for a few months now. They can play.

  45. JMHawkins on April 7th, 2008 4:22 pm

    Can we stop calling Texas a cellar team?

    You’re right, Texas is not the worst team in their division.

  46. Dave on April 7th, 2008 4:25 pm

    They’re a .500ish ballclub – they wouldn’t be the worst team in any division in baseball.

  47. currcoug on April 7th, 2008 4:28 pm

    Ya, those Rangers are sure idiots for dumping Wilkerson and acquiring Hamilton, aren’t they?

  48. Mo Vaughn Is My Hero on April 7th, 2008 4:32 pm

    I think people just assume that Texas is so terrible because they haven’t won the division since ’99 and they always seem to hover around 78-80 wins every year. That’s not good, but they’re not terrible either.

  49. JMHawkins on April 7th, 2008 4:36 pm

    They’re a .500ish ballclub – they wouldn’t be the worst team in any division in baseball.

    Must be nice…

    Okay, okay. Look, I’m not jumping off the bandwagon. I’m just sitting over here waiting for the ponies to get it pulled out of the ditch they drove into.

  50. Jeff Nye on April 7th, 2008 4:39 pm

    A friend of mine is a huge Reds fan, and I’m not allowed to mention Josh Hamilton around her anymore.

  51. smb on April 7th, 2008 4:47 pm

    I agree that Texas is pretty good and can play, but only in the same way that I ascribe that opinion to the Mariners as well. They’ve got some talent, it’s not inconceivable they could sneak into the playoffs, albeit unlikely, and they’re at least somewhat fun to watch. No one is betting on either to win the Series, though. I guess we’re just lucky to have a team.

  52. currcoug on April 7th, 2008 4:49 pm

    What a difference in mindsets. Wilkerson is making $ 3,000,000.00, while Hamilton is making $ 396,830.00.

    On the other hand, Volquez is off to a nice start for the Reds, but it probably won’t continue.

    What would Bavasi have had to offer for Hamilton? Ryan Feierabend?

  53. Dave on April 7th, 2008 4:50 pm

    Seriously, you’re assuming that Volquez = Feierabend?

    Come on.

  54. Tom on April 7th, 2008 4:57 pm

    #52: Aaaaaaaaah, ya gotta love that veteran grit.

  55. smb on April 7th, 2008 4:59 pm

    I don’t think the Mariners FO would touch Hamilton with a thirty foot pole with the well-publicized drug problems, at least not without some cosmic guarantee that he is “Teh next Raul Ibanez!!1!” in character if not in talent. We might be lucky though, if we had taken a shine to him, who knows what we would have given up. And then before you know it someone would find him down in Fremont passed out on the sidewalk. Probably better off for everyone this way, though he will probably mash against us for years now.

  56. galaxieboi on April 7th, 2008 5:07 pm

    Jesus…get over yourselves. It’s only 7 games. The Red Sox are in last place too, I’m sure they all saw that coming. At least we didn’t expect our team to be very good.

    Dave’s right, chill out. If they were 5-2 we’d be seeing, ‘M’s rulleee!!!!111one Werld seriez!!11′.

    Believe me, I share in the frustration…

  57. JJD on April 7th, 2008 5:10 pm

    Here’s my problem with this current M’s team’s situation: they CLEARLY were thinking “with two ‘aces’ we won’t have to worry about a long losing streak. (In theory, at least.) Seven games into the season, we’ve wasted an 8 IP/0 runs outing from Felix, Bedard is on the shelf for the short-team, and we are working on four in a row with Washburn taking the hill in TB tomorrow. Nice plan, guys.

    Like Dave has said, that’s why you don’t build a team around a pitching staff. (Or rotation. Or something like that.)

  58. kenshabby on April 7th, 2008 5:13 pm

    I guess things could be worse. We could have Dontrelle Willis in the starting rotation. Or Adam Jones could’ve knocked Bedard out for the season with a line drive off the kneecap (had Bedard been pitching, that is). As for the bandwagon, I’m sticking in my comfortable seat in the trailer that’s being pulled behind it.

  59. joser on April 7th, 2008 5:16 pm

    Is it possible that severely good or bad quality late inning relief on a club is a heavy catalyst towards the projected win discrepancies we see from time to time – like last year with the m’s?

    FWIW, Bob Melvin’s “masterful” use of the D’Backs bullpen was widely credited with their defying Pythagoras last year. I’d say he was just lucky in a lot of one run games, just like the M’s were during their “run” last year. And just like they’re being unlucky now. It’ll even out (or maybe this is karma for last year, who knows). Personally, I was on the .500 bandwagon all along and I’m still there, even if they’re a couple of games under that right now.

    The Rays are going to be a tougher test than Baltimore, though. Carlos Pena seems to be picking up where he left off, Cliff Floyd looks healthy, and they’re already 31/20 RS/RA. The M’s look to face Garza, Sonnanstine, and Jackson, so at least they catch a break missing Shields (then again, they’ll probably make them all look like Cy Young candidates).

    (And while the Rays’ new “exploding third baseman” logo may be the trendy buy, I think Unknown Comic made a wise choice in getting the old demonic sea creature one. Like having a trident M’s cap, you can claim to have been a fan from “way back” before all the bandwagoneers joined. And the artists’ rendidtions of the new stadium do look amazing. Expect the real thing to be a major disappointment in comparison)

  60. Dave Clapper on April 7th, 2008 5:25 pm

    I doubt many regular readers here were on the bandwagon to begin with. Most of us thought this was an okay team going into the year, but would have to have a ton of things break right to win the division. One of the things that has been pointed to as something we could have taken advantage of was a fairly weak schedule to start the season at the same time as the Angels’ pitching staff was hurting. I don’t know about anyone else, but I pretty much figured to have a real shot at winning, the M’s would need to take advantage of that to the tune of at least 3 games up on LAA at the end of April. Finishing the first week 2 games behind LAA doesn’t bode well for that scenario.

    So no… I’m not ready to “jump off the bandwagon.” But the reality, as I perceived it anyway, was that the M’s needed to start the season very well to have any shot at all. The reality, as I perceive it now, isn’t much different–it’s just about three games (so far) different in the standings than I’d thought was realistic to hope for (a game up on LAA at this point, rather than two down). And when we’re jiggering around numbers trying to figure out how the hell it’s even remotely possible for the M’s to beat the Angels, sneaking a game here from this overperformance, a game there from that Angels’ injury, a 3-game swing is pretty damned big.

  61. bat guano on April 7th, 2008 5:34 pm

    It would be easy to chill out if we had any confidence that the people running the team know what they’re doing, but this isn’t the Red Sox or the Tigers, and McLaren isn’t Francona or Leyland. Does anyone have any evidence (or other reason to believe) that McLaren knows what he’s doing at all? It was pretty obvious last year that he hasn’t a clue how to use a bullpen (hello, Rick White) or how to use his players (welcome to the bench, Adam Jones, and have fun playing left, Raul). Dave, I hear you when you say managers don’t matter much, but if we can’t think of any reason to defend the guy (other than the fact that the players seem to think he’s a good guy) then I think there is a big problem. I’m not generally down on managers, but based upon what we’ve seen over last season and this, I don’t believe 2008 will be salvagable with McLaren calling the shots.

  62. pensive on April 7th, 2008 5:44 pm

    Everyone, Yes it only seven games. Small sample size.

    Unfortunately those of us that read articles here, see nothing to belief much if anything will change. It is the harsh reality (regardless of Dave’s positive attitude) this will continue.

    Many expressed their feelings regarding USSM’S reality check regarding the Mariners. Now that (small sample size) it appears to be reality, why not heed the prediction?

  63. Dave on April 7th, 2008 5:58 pm

    Because seven games don’t prove anything one way or another. Would we be reevaluating our take on the offseason moves if the team was 7-0? I wouldn’t, and I’d suggest that if you would be, then the foundation of your opinion wasn’t particularly strong to begin with.

    Seven games don’t mean anything. Let’s talk again in a week or two.

  64. wabbles on April 7th, 2008 6:00 pm

    I’ll have to find this, whereever it may be, but I know it’s not urban legend. Somebody analyzed the success rate (over a season I believe) when teams used their closer versus when they used somebody else. When using their closer, teams won 87 percent of the time. When using somebody else, teams won 86 percent of the time. Losing Putz is a problem perhaps but not the only one.

  65. joser on April 7th, 2008 6:03 pm

    See, Dave, this is that damned optimism that USSMariner always gets accused of promoting. This darn elitist apporach that ignores the will of the masses as seen on places like the PI forum is just going to get you into more trouble. What are you, a pony?

  66. jlc on April 7th, 2008 6:06 pm

    Oh, dear, I’ve never seen a picture of Dave, and now he’s going to be stuck in my head as My Little Pony.

  67. jlc on April 7th, 2008 6:20 pm


    I’ve got Tango, et al’s, The Book.

    With a 3 run lead in the 9th, everybody saves 97% of games.

    With a 2 run lead in the 9th, ace relievers lose 5%. All other relievers lose 9%.

    1 run lead, ace relievers lose 15% of the time. Rest of relievers lose 21%.

    Not arguing with your premise, just happened to have these numbers close by.

  68. eponymous coward on April 7th, 2008 6:24 pm

    Well, I’m thinking it’s a .500ish team that’s a disappointment, with improved starting pitching, but degraded offense and bullpen + not good defense.

    So far, it seems to be on the money.

  69. Jeff Nye on April 7th, 2008 6:25 pm

    Well, I wasn’t trying to evaluate the Hamilton trade, I don’t know enough about the talent that moved around to do that.

    She just likes Hamilton a lot, and is unhappy he’s not in a Reds uniform anymore.

    The “down in Fremont passed out on the sidewalk comment”, though, meh. The guy’s made some mistakes in his life but he’s trying hard to turn it around, and he deserves a bit more benefit of the doubt than that.

    Anyway, Josh Hamilton derail over!

  70. DMZ on April 7th, 2008 6:41 pm

    If I may, I think part of the problem is that there was a lot of pre-season noise about how fans who didn’t believe the team was totally awesome weren’t real fans, were robots, were jerks, and whatever.

    There’s really no chance at all that if the team was 7-0 that we wouldn’t be deleting tons of comments from trolls, concern trolls, flamers, jerks, and vengeful know-it-alls who wanted to gloat about the team’s start.

    But the team’s stumbled, and stumbled in exactly the way many people worried it would, and the emotional reaction to watching what you dreaded might happen unfold in front of you — well, I’ve certainly watched these games feeling sad to see the team lose. And the result is a needless chiding from the people who thought the team was awesome that for once being not emotional enough fans, people tearing their hair out are now too emotional fans.

    It’s frustrating. There’s no meaningful discussion here, just a constant condescension towards people who care deeply, and aren’t happy seeing the team flail about like this.

  71. Mat on April 7th, 2008 6:44 pm

    I think it’s kind of natural for fans to wring their hands the most about the close losses even though the run differential to this point reinforces the idea that this is a .500 ballclub. At this point, there seems to be more venting amongst the fans than there is genuine concern that the playoffs are out of hand.

  72. Steve T on April 7th, 2008 6:51 pm

    One-run games are coin tosses. Almost totally random. I still think this team sucks, but I don’t think they suck worse than I did a week ago, and I don’t think the bullpen is anything to worry about besides the obvious loss of Putz. I still think Mclaren and Bavasi are useless, but it’s not about their failure to respond to SITUATIONS that worries me; I don’t care about situations. I see the excessive agitation over situational failures the same way I see the typical Mariners role thinking — it ignores the real problems.

    The M’s think “hmm, must have an ace here, must put a proven veteran there, we need speed at number two, we need power in the four hole, it says so right here in this chart I made”. They never think about value, this guy is +1, that guy is -2, how can we get the team as a whole to +10, +15 with the resources we have? That problem is not exacerbated by a couple of one-run losses — BUT it’s still there.

    I also think that the Mariners’ team makeup, which is likely to be extremely low-scoring on both offense and defense, is going to produce lots of one-run games, and lots of stress, and lots of excitement, both positive and negative, as we eke some out and give others away on sneaky ground balls. With a pitching staff like ours, and an offense like ours, we’re unlikely to see too many 14-5 blowouts, which are a lot better judge of how good a team is. We’re basically all standing around the craps table rubbing our lucky charms…..

  73. terry on April 7th, 2008 7:05 pm

    Felix=pretty. Bedard=pretty. Putz=pretty. Ichiro=pretty. Beltre=a looker when he wears his makeup.

    The rest of the Ms=ugly. Even when they win.

    This is a team where a fan should always be afraid of the other shoe dropping.

  74. OppositeField on April 7th, 2008 7:14 pm

    Nice post DMZ.

  75. Paul B on April 7th, 2008 7:22 pm

    Seven games don’t mean anything. Let’s talk again in a week or two.

    Although, I’ll be surprised if I think any differently about the team, regardless of how they play in the next two weeks.

    I’m still agreeing with what I thought in the offseason, based on the data and reading analysis — this club has the talent to be basically a .500 ballclub (give or take, of course, normal random variation) and McLaren is completely capable of managing them to a .450 record.

    The preseason optimism on the part of some was misplaced, just as some emotional reaction now is misplaced.

  76. currcoug on April 7th, 2008 7:32 pm


    I was asking for an opinion, and threw a name out. Who do you think the Reds could have acquired from the M’s for Hamilton?

    Having said the above, Volquez was a major disappointment to the Rangers, or they never would have dealt him, right?

  77. JMHawkins on April 7th, 2008 7:38 pm

    I also think that the Mariners’ team makeup, which is likely to be extremely low-scoring on both offense and defense, is going to produce lots of one-run games, and lots of stress…

    Yeah, this is still primarily a singles-hitting team, so they’re going to be streaky with the run scoring.

  78. don52656 on April 7th, 2008 8:07 pm

    After watching the first week of AL ball, it looks to me as if the league has a lot of good teams. Really, Baltimore is the only team in the league that looks like they’ll be “bad”, and now I’m not even sure about them now. (well, I’m still pretty sure…) It’s discouraging to lose 4 in a row to the Orioles, but it was on the road and we have a lot of players that are off to a really bad start. Wilkerson is NOT going to hit .059 this year, Johjima and Vidro are not going to be below the Mendoza line. The bullpen will not blow 100% of their save opportunities. I’ll tell you what, though, I wouldn’t want to bet on where the M’s will finish in the West; it looks like it’s totally up for grabs, especially if KRod’s ankles lands him on the DL….

  79. Dave on April 7th, 2008 8:15 pm

    Derek’s post is right – if it was the other way around, we’d be inundated by annoying “I Told You So” posters, and we’d all be irritated with their stupidity. That it’s turned out the opposite way doesn’t mean we should respond in kind. I’m not saying most people have, but I’ve seen a few too many “McLaren is obviously an idiot for using O’Flaherty/Wilkerson here – he’s terrible!” type comments, where the opinion of the move is based on the performance over the first seven games.

    The Mariners have played badly, and the Mariners do have problems. The Mariners do not have problems because they have played badly, however, and that connection is one we don’t want to make.

    I like the fact that rational thought still has a home at USSM (most of the time). I just don’t want us to put rational thoughts to the side when non-rational thoughts make us sound smarter.

  80. wabbles on April 7th, 2008 8:17 pm

    Wow. Thanks a lot 67, I’ve always wondered where that came from and what the exact numbers were.

  81. Dave on April 7th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Who do you think the Reds could have acquired from the M’s for Hamilton?

    Morrow + something else. You’re judging Volquez by his major league performance and greatly underestimating his actual value. The Rangers didn’t trade him because they were disappointed in him, but because they decided to build their team around position players rather than pitchers. They know what they’re doing.

  82. Todd A on April 7th, 2008 8:38 pm

    I enjoyed this way to much:


    Rejected MLB T-Shirt sayings. “Seattle Mariners – Only 188 days until Richie Sexson’s contract expires”

  83. Eastside Crank on April 7th, 2008 10:06 pm

    The Mariners could have gone into a rebuilding mode two years ago and instead have tried to be as competitive as possible. This strategy gave them no latitude for failed trades or free agent signings. In that time Bavasi gave Cabrera to the Indians and Soriano to the Braves. The trade for Bedard further gutted the bullpen and also cost them their fastest player not named Ichiro. In short the strategy is not working and does not build confidence going forward.

    The Mariners could have worked on their defense and team speed. Instead they made both worse by trading Adams and leaving poor defensive players in left field and first base. I will get excited about the Mariners when they stop putting a team on the field with such obvious defects.

  84. lailaihei on April 7th, 2008 10:21 pm

    We may have one of the most incompetent managers in baseball, but at least our closer isn’t Borowski!

  85. thefin190 on April 8th, 2008 1:44 am

    Very good post guys. I would agree with you Dave 100%. They are only one run games lost, and if everything goes normally, the Mariners should win back some of those one run games as well. It’s not like we are seeing the consistent Weaver-HoRam blow outs like last year.

  86. BigB on April 8th, 2008 5:57 am

    It’s a shame he would add so much negativity to the clubhouse, because Barry Bonds would be a perfect addition to this offense at the DH slot, and I’m fairly sure we’d have a couple more wins already.

  87. Wells on April 8th, 2008 6:39 am

    Dave! Why do you continue to hate—- err, be naively optimistic about this team?!

  88. smokestack on April 8th, 2008 7:21 am

    It’s still early but Wilkerson seems to be falling into this pattern of middling veteran free agent signings that come to the Mariners and seem to go absolutely nowhere (see also: Cirillo, Spezio, Aurillia, etc.). It seems to me that these are the moves that can really hurt you in the end and may be Bavasi’s biggest failing.

  89. msb on April 8th, 2008 8:10 am

    lest we forget, Gillick brought Cirillo over at Lou’s specific request. As he did Al Martin.

  90. msb on April 8th, 2008 8:18 am

    Hickey has a great understatement today:

    “The bench is becoming a much larger problem than expected.”

  91. Go Felix on April 8th, 2008 9:21 am


    I’m still laughing at those. When do they hit the team store???? hahaha!!

  92. joser on April 8th, 2008 10:12 am

    Yeah, and I bet the A’s one would sell well at AthleticsNation. ESPN could make a mint if they didn’t run afoul of MLB licensing.

    You know, it wouldn’t be that hard to make your own. Just get a regular M’s shirt, take it to a shop and get the Richie comment added.

    It’s tempting. If I was actually going to go to a game this year…

  93. currcoug on April 8th, 2008 10:13 am


    Thanks for the response.

    It is fair to say that the Rangers couldn’t have gotten a bucket of balls for Volquez in 2006. Volquez bounced back impressively in 2007, however, and the Rangers sweetened the deal with the popular, but diminutive, Danny Ra Herrera.

    It would have been a gamble for obvious reasons, but Hamilton would have looked great in Mariner blue and Safeco Field.

    Yes, it probably would have cost Morrow and another pitching prospect.

  94. Dave on April 8th, 2008 10:50 am

    It is fair to say that the Rangers couldn’t have gotten a bucket of balls for Volquez in 2006.

    No, it’s not.

  95. joser on April 8th, 2008 10:58 am

    Hickey has a great understatement today:

    “The bench is becoming a much larger problem than expected.”

    Even more forehead-slapping is the McLaren quote in that piece:

    “We’ve got versatility (everywhere),” McLaren said. “But right now it’s not doing us any good. We’ve got to wait for guys to find their roles. Right now, we’re doing the best we can. And it’s not working out.”

    You’re the manager. That means you manage. You don’t just sit back and wait for things to “work out.” And what is with this obsession with “roles”?

    Ok, I guess McLaren only knows how to do one thing: slot guys into roles (which means any 3-year-old with a holes-and-pegs game is qualified to be a McLaren-level MLB manager). And you can only slot guys who have “found” a role into that role, not into any other, and you can’t slot them anywhere until they find that role. And they can’t find a role unless they play, but they can’t play unless they have a role. Have I got that right?

    This explains so much about the bench and bullpen.

  96. currcoug on April 8th, 2008 11:19 am


    I should have said Hamilton and Volquez didn’t have much trade value in 2006. What would you have given up for Volquez in 2006? At that point, he was coming off a horrific season, and was sent back to Single A+ Bakersfield to start the 2007 season.

    I do love the irony that Texas felt it had to acquire another outfielder, in light of the fact that Mayberry may be a bust.

  97. crazyray7391 on April 8th, 2008 11:47 am

    McLaren said this about Cairo,

    “He’s our ace in the hole right now,” McLaren said, putting as much positive spin on it as he could.

    He’s either completely delusional or he is just plain lying to everyone.

  98. Dave on April 8th, 2008 12:00 pm

    I should have said Hamilton and Volquez didn’t have much trade value in 2006.

    Hamilton, yes. Volquez, no. Volquez had a lot of trade value in 2006.

    At that point, he was coming off a horrific season, and was sent back to Single A+ Bakersfield to start the 2007 season.

    I think you need to realize that teams don’t trade for recent performance – they trade for talent. Their opinion of a player doesn’t swing nearly as much as yours does based on their most recent performance. Volquez’s talent didn’t go away in 2006, rather magically reappear in 2007. He had some bumps in the road, just like pretty much every minor league pitcher, but he’s always been a valuable asset.

    I do love the irony that Texas felt it had to acquire another outfielder, in light of the fact that Mayberry may be a bust.

    That’s not at all what Texas was thinking (and yes, I know what they were thinking, because I had discussions with one of their guys about this very topic this winter). They looked at a team that had some strength in minor league pitching and decided that they’d rather build from the ground up on a foundation of position players than pitchers, especially with the knowledge that most major league teams overvalue pitching. They felt they were better off building around Hamilton than Volquez, and I think they made the correct decision. This has nothing to do with them not liking Volquez, or him not being a quality asset, but simply an organizational decision to choose an outfielder over a pitcher.

  99. msb on April 8th, 2008 1:35 pm

    Jim Caple suggests the M’s improve by going to get Barry (and incidently also takes a swing at the annual Fan Cost Index report)

  100. westfried on April 8th, 2008 2:00 pm

    I think you need to realize that teams don’t trade for recent performance – they trade for talent.

    GOOD teams do. We, however, follow the Mariners. Thus, the confusion is understandable.

  101. Jeff Nye on April 8th, 2008 2:04 pm

    I’m not sure that even the Mariners trade for recent performance per se; they have their own set of criteria that happen to be how they evaluate talent, and recent performance (as well as some other crazy factors) weighs into that.

    But it’s a mistake to think that other teams in the league can’t recognize talent better than the Mariners, and the Rangers are definitely a smarter organization lately than the M’s. I’m sure they knew exactly what they had in Volquez, and wouldn’t have given him up for chump change.

  102. mln on April 8th, 2008 2:40 pm

    The Orioles won again and have the best record in the MLB at 6-1. Maybe there is no shame in being swept by them.

  103. currcoug on April 8th, 2008 3:49 pm


    I agree with what you said about the trade value of Volquez (especially after I took the time to read Joey Matschulat’s analysis). I still believe, however, that many MLB teams would have doubts about a prospect when he gives up 111 hits in 80 MLB innings, with control issues (55 SO’s to 42 BB’s).

    Anyway, I was deeply impressed with Hamilton in spring training. The guy is imposing on a TV screen, but when you see him up close, it is striking how big and fast he really is.

    What do you think of Herrera?

  104. joser on April 8th, 2008 4:05 pm

    The Orioles won again and have the best record in the MLB at 6-1. Maybe there is no shame in being swept by them.

    My guess is that by September there will be plenty of shame to go around.

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