Organizational Problems, Summed Up

Dave · May 7, 2008 at 10:19 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Nowhere have the failings of an organization been more succinctly summed up in one single situation than in using Willie Bloomquist to pinch hit for your designated hitter to represent the tying run in the 9th inning of a game you have to win. It may even have been the correct tactical decision – I’m not criticizing the team for making the pinch hit decision. I’m just in awe that a team that would have to find itself using Bloomquist to pinch hit for their #5 hitter was ever considered a legitimate contender.

Comments

63 Responses to “Organizational Problems, Summed Up”

  1. Joe C on May 7th, 2008 10:21 pm

    What was Norton up to today?

  2. justinh on May 7th, 2008 10:24 pm

    Norton was 1 for 1 with the go ahead RBI for the Braves. Dave, well said.

  3. donger on May 7th, 2008 10:26 pm

    Anybody got any suggestions for another team to root for? I still have 4.5 months of baseball to watch.

  4. Tom on May 7th, 2008 10:26 pm

    But Dave, Willie’s got that VETERAN LEADERSHIP, man!!!!!! C’mon!!!!

    Ya. . .

    You know, I know they say ‘be careful what you wish for’, but I’d sure be refreshed to see a Cleveland style rebuilding going on here if it meant winning more games eventually. But it’s sure better than what we have going on here right now.

  5. RaoulDuke37 on May 7th, 2008 10:28 pm

    Going into the year I wanted to watch more games than I had the last few years. Bad call.

    As the win-lose record, and attendance numbers, continue to tank, I’m calling June 10th in the “Junior Returns to Seattle” pool.

    My Oh My!

  6. Sports on a Schtick on May 7th, 2008 10:29 pm

    Even subbing Vidro for Clement would have made some sense. Letting Willie bat… Rick White-esque.

    Earlier I wondered if tonight might wind up being a bizarro night. It was in the sense this was one of the most ridiculous losses in Mariner history. It wasn’t in the sense it was business as usual.

  7. red_devil20 on May 7th, 2008 10:31 pm

    We have a 116 million dollar payroll, and our bench consists of WFB, Cairo, Vidro, and Burke. That right there tells you everything you know about this team.

    There isn’t any one of them I would ever consider a late inning bat off the bench. There’s no longer anybody in AAA who’s a real improvement, and even if there was, nobody in the organization could use them right.

    To make it worse, even if we fail, there’s no way the front office can be trusted to do anything that will help the organization going forward. Simply put, we’re in a quicksand pit of losing hell.

  8. msb on May 7th, 2008 10:35 pm

    As the win-lose record, and attendance numbers, continue to tank, I’m calling June 10th in the “Junior Returns to Seattle” pool.

    he has full no-trade rights. what about this team makes it any more attractive than to just keep playing for the Reds?

  9. BillyJive on May 7th, 2008 10:36 pm

    Ugh…
    Pass the beer nuts please

    *sigh*

  10. msb on May 7th, 2008 10:37 pm

    Vidro was not available tonight, due to back spasms.

    of course, that still doesn’t explain why Cairo was at 1st.

  11. Sports on a Schtick on May 7th, 2008 10:38 pm
  12. RaoulDuke37 on May 7th, 2008 10:41 pm

    As the win-lose record, and attendance numbers, continue to tank, I’m calling June 10th in the “Junior Returns to Seattle” pool.

    he has full no-trade rights. what about this team makes it any more attractive than to just keep playing for the Reds?

    The large extension he’ll receive for waiving it.

  13. JI on May 7th, 2008 10:43 pm

    To be fair, I never considered this team a legitimate contender.

  14. griffin on May 7th, 2008 10:44 pm

    wow, 2 hit ball against the rangers.
    i think we’re past the talk of possibly making a comeback.

    good post here though. yet it also makes me laugh. what are the Mariners doing!?

  15. slescotts on May 7th, 2008 10:45 pm

    I argue that we start a petition:

    “We the people of Mariners fandom, in order to protest the mess that is this organization’s decision making, in order to seek redress for this organization’s lack of winning and producing a ‘real’ contender, do hereby appeal to you, Mr. Big Shot Purse strings to fire one Mr. Bill Bavasi. Additionally, Mr. Bavasi, we implore you to recognize the horrors of your ways; your ineptitude, poor decision making and outright ignorance that’s led to the decisions you’ve made and teams you’ve fielded; implore you to recognize your failures and resign from your post, effective immediately.

    Mr. Bavasi, we seek your immediate removal via this drastic resolution due to the following…

    Whereas, under Mr. Bavasi’s leadership….

    -Begin List HERE______

    While we do not come at this decision lightly, we have lived far too under the weight of Mr. Bavasi’s inabilities.

    We the undersigned…”

  16. Tom on May 7th, 2008 10:49 pm

    #15: What’s the point? We have to “patient” according to Chuck Armstrong? Remember?

  17. justinh on May 7th, 2008 10:56 pm
  18. shortbus on May 7th, 2008 10:56 pm

    The dangers of fantasy baseball. I’m checking out what Teixeira did tonight and wind up seeing this headline:

    Norton’s pinch-hit single lifts Braves past Padres

    Little bits of my skull are all over the room and I’ve reached a zen-like state of calm. Like the gazelle in the jaws of the lion…accepting my fate.

  19. nickwest1976 on May 7th, 2008 11:04 pm

    I was sitting at my TV with asking myself…”did I just see Bloomquist on deck?”

    Then I thought…no way, not down 2-0 with the tying run at the plate in Clement.

    But sure enough, Willie is pinch hitting. I literally sat there with my mouth wide open but then realized this is the M’s were talking about and bad decisions just keep happening.

    I will say that it was a HORRIBLE decision to make that move. First of all, your down two runs with 1 out and Clement, who has big power, is the tying run. You have to take a shot at tying the game there with Clement.

    Here’s the other more intangible issue. A big hit there could be the spark that Clement needed and the team needed. If Clement fails there, not the end of the world. But if he succeeds, wow! Think of what that would mean for his confidence and what a shot in the arm for the team.

    I mean if they had Sexson or a legit righty power guy on the bench, fine. But Bloomquist?

    I am just so sick and tired of these kinds of moves. Norton should be on this team, not Cairo…and the pinch hit with Bloomquist sent me over the edge.

  20. Tek Jansen on May 7th, 2008 11:09 pm

    PHing Bloomquist for Clement because the Rangers had lefty on the mound reminded me of The Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns PHs Homer for Daryl Strawberry (“But I’ve hit nine homeruns today, skip.”) because the opposing pitcher was a lefty. “It’s called playing the percentages. It’s what smart managers do.” To bad Willie’s AB wasn’t as productive as Homer’s.

  21. don52656 on May 7th, 2008 11:20 pm

    What’s hilarious is that Bloomquist has absolutely no chance of hitting a HR and tying the game. I think he’s hit it out of the infield like 4 times this season. At least Clement had a chance to hit it out, LHP or not.

    I’ve been saying it for 4 years now….no team that has a Willie Bloomquist on the roster has a team good enough to make the playoffs. And we have two of them.

    This team will struggle to avoid the basement, in fact, I’d say that they are the favorites to finish 4th in the division. They’ll never catch the A’s or Angels, and the Rangers have a team that’s going to get better as the season progresses.

    This is Bavasi’s last year. No doubt about it. Hell, it might be his last week.

  22. HamNasty on May 7th, 2008 11:25 pm

    I left in the 7th to go to dollar beer night across the street. It was a tight game, so any normal fan of another team would have been checking scores all night. I knew Padilla and Wilson would shut us down. So I drank free of worry about a M’s comeback. When you expect to lose 2-0 to the Rangers and Nolan Ryan is not pitching you have completely sank to a new low. But guess what??? We get to lose a 1-0 Felix GEM tomorrow!!! Happy Felix Day!

  23. thefin190 on May 7th, 2008 11:27 pm

    17 – I think you need to change that to http://www.firehowardlincolnandchuckarmstrong.com. Nothing will change unless the two on top are canned.

  24. matthew on May 7th, 2008 11:29 pm

    No one in their right mind ever thought this was a team that was going to legitimately (or otherwise) contend.

  25. lailaihei on May 7th, 2008 11:33 pm

    No one in their right mind ever thought this was a team that was going to legitimately (or otherwise) contend.

    Either you’re wrong or the front office isn’t in their right mind… So… I’m going to go with the latter.

  26. matthew on May 7th, 2008 11:35 pm

    11. Is that Macaulay Culkin? ;)

  27. Gerald on May 7th, 2008 11:44 pm

    I mean if they had Sexson or a legit righty power guy on the bench, fine. But Bloomquist?

    At least we now know what to expect when Riggleman succeeds McLaren next week.

  28. Lorenzo on May 7th, 2008 11:45 pm

    I heard the ugly rumor that the reason the Mariners cut Norton and not Cairo was because Cairo had a guaranteed contract and Norton didn’t? What the hell is the matter with these guys? Wasn’t Norton batting .500 when we cut him? On a team that can’t hit? I’m not saying Norton was the answer to our problems, but jesus, maybe it would have been a good idea to just stick him on the end of the bench for a rainy day or something.
    I am so disgusted with the personnel decisions Bavasi has made during his disgraceful tenure (and, to a lesser extent, the strategy decisions McLaren has made). Giving away Carlos Guillen and Rafael Soriano and George Sherill for absolutely nothing. Sticking with Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez and Washburn all these years. How many white over the hill veterans (Aurilia, Spiezio, Wilkerson, Washburn, Sexson, and I know there’s more I’m not thinking of) who weren’t even that good when they were standing RIGHT ON TOP OF THE GODDAMN HILL will Bavasi sign agency before he begins to understand you cannot piece together a championship from other’s teams discarded parts. It’s like going to the junkyard and hoping to find the right parts for a Ferrari.
    All right, I’m done.
    One last thing: Ibanez is our three hitter. I’ll say it again. Ibanez is in the three hole.

  29. tomas on May 7th, 2008 11:56 pm

    Unacceptable. The only thing they will understand is an empty Safeco field. I call for a Fan strike. A letter to the Nintendo people. Everyone must go, Armstrong, Lincoln, Bavasi, Mac. Everyone must go.

  30. Sentinel on May 8th, 2008 12:00 am

    I understand why eveyone is pissed off, but did you really consider this team a contender for the AL West crown at the beginning of the season? If so, I think you set your expectations too high.

    I, on the other hand, expected us to come in fourth behind even Texas, so we’re right where I expected to be. Yaaaaaaaay!

    Oh, and I’m starting to think Bavasi took Billy Beane’s moneyball method and is doing his best to do the exact opposite.

  31. bteddy on May 8th, 2008 12:05 am

    This isn’t even a train wreck. I’d stop to watch a train wreck.

  32. bteddy on May 8th, 2008 12:14 am

    By the way, all these people that say they knew the M’s wouldn’t contend–bravo to you!

    I don’t think the majority of the people bought into the hype of division contenders, but most thought they’d be as or more competitive as they were last year. I don’t think anyone should have expected this team was the worst team in the AL, not with this payroll and this staff.

    What really pisses me–and most people I know–off is the fact that this team hits lighter than the Garfield High School girls softball team. I really don’t know how they’ll win a game this year unless an opponent takes a game off…maybe not even then.

  33. Breadbaker on May 8th, 2008 12:57 am

    Giving away Carlos Guillen and Rafael Soriano and George Sherill for absolutely nothing.

    It’s not appropriate to combine trades for Ramon Santiago and HoRam with the Bedard trade like that. We gave away Guillen like he had dengue fever or something. Quite clearly, the organization had also given up on Soriano for some reason, and their notion that getting any lefthander starter as appropriate compensation for him ranks down there with any of Woody’s best.

    No one can argue that Bedard is not an upgrade at starting pitcher over any option we had. The problem with the trade is (a) it opened up a huge hole in right field (and even if Balentien works out, we still have no option in left field when Ibanez breaks down); and (b) we gave up way too much in the way of prospects. Including Sherrill in a trade for a good starting pitcher, if we had not weakened ourselves in the outfield and given away some of our best prospects, actually didn’t bother me at all. This is indeed exactly the kind of trade I’d advocate. Sherrill was coming off a great season and it was reasonable to consider that his value would never be higher. He’s 31 years old, we got him for free, and his number one comparable at Baseball-reference.com is Kelly Wunsch. Plus we had a bunch of lefty prospects who had pitched pretty well last year in the pen. If you can trade a player like that for value, it really makes sense to do so. It’s okay to trade a good player in a good trade, and it is smart to trade someone where you have a lot of reasonable options to replace him. That’s not true of Adam Jones, but even though in retrospect Sherrill is having a good year, it is still true of him.

  34. Typical Idiot Fan on May 8th, 2008 1:44 am

    Apparently Sexson was out of town for a family issue and Vidro has back spasms (lol).

    But it does say a whole metric ton when the only people you have available are Willie Bloomquist and Miguel Cairo.

    The junk we have in Tacoma right now is a better bench then that… but… y’know…7 relievers…

  35. Lorenzo on May 8th, 2008 2:54 am

    Breadbaker,
    You have a point about Sherrill’s value being at a premium; my point, made elsewhere, was that if the Mariners were trying to compete this year, why would they give up their veteran eighth inning guy, one of the premier left-handed setup men in baseball? (I think that’s actually a pretty fair assessment of Sherrill at this point.) I think they thought O’Flaherty would step up and fill that role, which again strikes me as wishful thinking at best. He’s a kid. Same with Brandon Morrow. There is a psychological aspect to this game, and you can’t just stick guys with such little experience into high-pressure situations and expect them to succeed.
    I wasn’t even against the Bedard trade. I just think the inclusion of Sherrill was unconscionable. If you take a look at a (very recent) precedent, look at the Santana trade. Four prospects for a top-tier pitcher! The Mariners gave up four prospects PLUS a proven major league setup man.
    (I do realize, by the way, that this is all academic if we can’t put a run across the plate…)

  36. pgreyy on May 8th, 2008 3:04 am

    Ibanez is our three hitter. I’ll say it again. Ibanez is in the three hole.

    The problem with Ibanez isn’t that Ibanez is our three hitter.

    The problem is that he’s our left fielder.

    And the problem with the team isn’t Ibanez.

    Not now, anyway.

    [i]If you’re going to make the claim that Norton’s small sample sized batting average is the reason we should have kept him, you’ll have to take on the burden that “traditional thinking has your top batting average hitter in the three hole”…and that would be Raul.

    The reason that perhaps the team should have kept Norton was that he gave you better options than Cairo does.

    He certainly wasn’t going to hit .483 the rest of the year.[/i]

  37. pgreyy on May 8th, 2008 3:05 am

    Damn. I assumed I could handwrite bcode in the post above. Sorry.

  38. hawgdriver on May 8th, 2008 3:13 am

    WFB pinch hitting for your 5-hole DH with the season virtually on the line says a lot. Says it all. To be sure, an understanding of the circumstances puts that outlandish event into context. But you shouldn’t have to put something like that into any kind of context, ever.

    We have seen a string of bad breaks–one run losses, etc. You can be optimistic and call it an aberration, a statistical anomaly attributable to injuries and freakish karma-entropy violations.

    Or you can be realistic and call it what it is: a craptastic telegram on Judgment Day.

  39. Spanky on May 8th, 2008 5:39 am

    From Geoff Baker’s notes today:

    The Mariners say Cairo serves an important role as a second pinch-runner — along with Willie Bloomquist — for a team that won’t pinch-hit much but does have a lot of guys who tend to clog the basepaths.

    WHAT SANE TEAM WITH PLAYOFF ASPERATIONS KEEPS TWO GUYS ON THE TEAM FOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF PINCH RUNNING???? Come on!! Not even NATIONAL LEAGUE teams do that and they have to replace pitchers on the basepaths continually.

  40. dlb on May 8th, 2008 7:36 am

    I don’t even care if they are contenders or not, but is too much to ask that at least you don’t kill yourself by making bad decisions? I feel as if the team generates its own losses by putting itself in terrible positions. We are oh-so-close to switching our hopes to winning anything to praying that Bavasi doesn’t do something stupid at the trade deadline. Uggggh…why couldn’t he have been fired last year?

  41. Paul B on May 8th, 2008 7:56 am

    I don’t think the majority of the people bought into the hype of division contenders, but most thought they’d be as or more competitive as they were last year.

    Mr. Pythagoras disagrees.

    The problem with Ibanez isn’t that Ibanez is our three hitter.

    The problem is that he’s our left fielder.

    And that he is our number 3 hitter against lefties. Against lefties, Raul is not a very good hitter.

  42. OppositeField on May 8th, 2008 8:19 am

    The veteran grit/leadership jokes are really, really tired. Can we just agree that it’s the official joke of USSM, and retire it forever?

  43. Jimmie the Geek on May 8th, 2008 8:37 am

    The veteran grit/leadership jokes are really, really tired. Can we just agree that it’s the official joke of USSM, and retire it forever?

    As soon as people stop bringing up trading Griffey, it’s a deal!

    Speaking of which:

    http://www.malchick.com/stuff/griffey.jpg

    It HAD to be done.

    I left in the 7th to go to dollar beer night across the street. It was a tight game, so any normal fan of another team would have been checking scores all night. I knew Padilla and Wilson would shut us down. So I drank free of worry about a M’s comeback.

    I did the same thing – I turned off the TV after the Texas homer for the second run. I knew that was an insurmountable deficit for the M’s anemic offense, so I went upstairs and read about motorcycles. *sigh*

    Jimmie

  44. Jimmie the Geek on May 8th, 2008 8:38 am

    That should read “As soon as people stop bringing up trading for Griffey, it’s a deal!”, sorry. At least it was free of spelling errors!

  45. jro on May 8th, 2008 8:53 am

    Summary of summaries: the M’s are awful. Absent personnel changes, this is the story for the rest of they year.

  46. tomas on May 8th, 2008 9:46 am

    Sentinel,
    No, I didn’t buy into the hype that the M’s were going to be division champs this year. I did however, expect a slight decline in offense, a slight decline in bullpen, not a total collapse of both. I did expect that the improved starting pitching would keep us close. This year illustrates why this organization is incompetent. A good GM would have gotten rid of our washed out vets they were still worth something. Does anyone know anything about the Nintendo bosses? Are they in it for the money, or are the M’s just some toy, and they care less whether the Safe is empty or not? I’m hoping they’re in it for the money, because the crowds are gonna get smaller and smaller and if they are in it for the $$$, we might see some changes at the top.

  47. msb on May 8th, 2008 10:13 am

    just a reminder– Lincoln is one of ‘the Nintendo bosses’

  48. NBarnes on May 8th, 2008 11:04 am

    The Red Sox have gone to the playoffs x years running while having Manny Ramirez ‘field LF’. You can have Ibanez ‘fielding LF’ for your team and still have a very fine ballclub overall. You can have Ibanez ‘fielding LF’ and being your #3 hitter and still have a very fine ballclub overall. But doing so would require a very good starting rotation and a solid bullpen and a lineup that, while not star-studded, was top-to-bottom solid hitters.

    The Mariners have none of those qualities.

  49. tomas on May 8th, 2008 11:18 am

    msb,
    Oh. I didn’t know that. Bummer. I guess we’re stuck with him then.

  50. Spanky on May 8th, 2008 11:22 am

    ESPN was looking back at trades from this past offseason. Of course the Bedard trade was listed and was an interesting read. I liked the “Scouts View” on it:

    Scout’s View: “I love Erik Bedard. But honestly, I thought Baltimore kicked [Seattle's] butt in this deal. Sherrill has done an unbelievable job. Adam Jones has star potential. And Tillman … I mean, wow.

    The other thing that stood out were the number of prospects: Sherrill, Jones, and Tillman, and Mickolio, and Butler. Wow!! I like Bedard, but just looking at that shocks me.

    When you look at the top of the article, they list the Haren deal…one that benefitted the Diamondbacks who are ready to win it all and the A’s who got them a boat load of talent that has positioned them to be stronger than expected this year.

    I have GM envy!

  51. lokiforever on May 8th, 2008 11:40 am

    Worse, if we had kept Sherrill, he would have kept the Loogy label. So Baltimore’s trade for Jones/Sherril etc. makes the M’s look bad on multiple levels – Front Office and on field management.

  52. north on May 8th, 2008 12:09 pm

    My jaw ran to the floor upon hearing of the Bloomquist pinch hit.

    Over-under on years to the next 90 win season?

  53. Jeff Nye on May 8th, 2008 12:12 pm

    How embarassed do you have to be when Bloomquist is chosen to pinch hit for YOU?

    I’m not sure I wouldn’t just retire on the spot.

  54. north on May 8th, 2008 12:24 pm

    Norton was 1 for 1 with the go ahead RBI for the Braves. Dave, well said.

    So yesterday. Today he failed miserably in getting the tying run home:

    Norton PH bases loaded down by 3 – 2 run single.

  55. currcoug on May 8th, 2008 12:29 pm

    Breadbaker,

    We have a short-term option in LF (Jeremy Reed).

    We also might have a genuine long-term solution in LF (Michael Saunders), provided that Bavasi doesn’t make him part of yet another disastrous trade.

  56. gwangung on May 8th, 2008 1:02 pm

    We also might have a genuine long-term solution in LF (Michael Saunders), provided that Bavasi doesn’t make him part of yet another disastrous trade.

    Or more accurately, if the Ms, as an organization, get better at talent assessment to develop and use him right. And not let him rot on the bench to “teach” him how to be a big leauger.

  57. patnmic on May 8th, 2008 1:13 pm

    I grew up in Pittsburgh and I’ve lived in the Northwest since 95. Consequently I have two baseball teams I root for the Pirates and the Mariners. Right now I have more hope for the Pirates being a contender then I have for the Mariners. Without a competent FO the Mariners can’t compete on a year to year basis. Last year they got all the breaks that can be expected and they missed the playoffs. This year the team regresses to the mean and it looks like its going to be a brutal season. I have already resigned myself to look forward to the changing of the guard with the Mariners. Maybe if we are lucky the Ms will go get Neal’s (Huntington) coworker from Cleveland to resurrect this team. Go Mariners!

  58. Breadbaker on May 8th, 2008 1:47 pm

    Jeremy Reed (and I’ve always had an affection for him) is never going to be more than a singles hitter; this team doesn’t need more singles hitters. An outfield of Ichiro/Jones/Balentien provides a very nice mix of on-base and slugging potential as well as good fielding. Having Reed is nowhere near the same.

    Of course, if you’re looking for a “second pinch runner” (though who the hell bats for the pinch runner when you tie the game) as a justification for a bench job, it’s really hard to see how you wouldn’t take Reed or Jimerson ahead of Cairo, particularly before we got rid of Wilkerson and had only WFB available for spot outfield duty.

    As to Manny in LF versus Raul in LF, Raul’s career high in Runs Created (just to pull out one stat, but it’s a batting stat) is 112. From 1996-2005, Manny’s low in runs created was 124. Yes, you can get by with Manny in LF if he’s contributing that much on offense, and you would get by with Manny in LF if you had David Ortiz at DH. Obviously, it’s a lot different with Raul’s lower (though not inconsiderable) contribution, and if you have Vidro at DH.

  59. SpokaneMsFan on May 8th, 2008 1:52 pm

    Didn’t Clement have a reverse platoon split at Tacoma on top of all the other reasons that was a poor decision?

  60. Mike Snow on May 8th, 2008 2:04 pm

    No, he didn’t, at least not this year. Minorleaguesplits.com is currently missing historical data so I can’t check last year.

  61. SpokaneMsFan on May 8th, 2008 3:27 pm

    Hey thanks for that site Mike! I was trying to find something just like that. I thought I remembered hearing about that from last year but I could certainly be mixing up my facts.

  62. Gomez on May 8th, 2008 4:42 pm

    60. Check First Inning for more complete splits data on the M’s top prospects.

  63. Typical Idiot Fan on May 8th, 2008 4:52 pm

    The bit with Clement having a reverse platoon split seemed to be an oddity that coincided with the “slow bat” observation from a scout that caused a bit of fluff around the blog-o-sphere. Seemed to be that Clement was only hitting soft tossers, and mostly soft tossing lefties.

    That didn’t seem to be the case this (brief) season.

    (in no way am I making any judgments about the scout’s observation)

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