Uhh, wow

Dave · June 21, 2008 at 1:01 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

From Larry LaRue – an interview with a pair of the coaches on the staff.

Coach A:

“You’ve got players in that clubhouse who should be team leaders – guys like Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Erik Bedard, even Ichiro – who care only about themselves,” one coach said. “When your best players are hitting 50-60 points below their career averages and won’t take extra batting practice, what message does that send?

“You had kids at the park six hours before a game to work with (former hitting coach) Jeff Pentland one-on-one in the cage, and you had Beltre, who’d never do it. Pretty soon, the younger guys weren’t doing it, either.”

“You had pitchers complaining about having to throw to (catcher) Kenji Johjima all spring, then saw him get a three-year contract extension in April,” the coach said. “You had guys watch Felix (Hernandez) work his (butt) off in camp and watched Bedard do the minimum – and Bedard was the opening-day starter.”

Coach B:

“Arthur Rhodes started sitting on the bench when players were taking extra hitting, extra infield drills, and shouting, ‘Where’s Richie? Anyone seen Richie Sexson?’ because Sexson was never there,” he said.

“Then Bedard started setting his own pitch counts, and sitting in the clubhouse during games he didn’t start. Mac tried dealing with that – we all did. How do you make the highest-paid players on your team work harder if they decide they’re not going to?”

Honestly, it’s not the substance of the quotes that get me that much – it’s that two people on the coaching staff were willing to say this stuff to a reporter on the record. Apparently they’re tired of being blamed for the failures of the team and are going to make sure the fans know that they’re not exactly happy with the group of guys they were given.

And remember, this was a coaching staff assembled for their experience and leadership – “the best coaching staff we’ve ever had” according to Chuck Armstrong in spring training. As you can see, their leadership is impeccable. Hooray experience…

Comments

94 Responses to “Uhh, wow”

  1. cdowley on June 21st, 2008 1:16 pm

    Wow, both of those interviews are a pretty damning look at the players, as well as the front office on the bit about Kenji.

    Like you, I’m shocked that coaches were actually willing to talk about this. Not something that happens very often, to be sure…

  2. batura on June 21st, 2008 1:16 pm

    You reach a point as a manager where there is only so much you can do. The players can’t be obliged to do extra work. I find the irony painful– the team sought out veteran-ness for leadership and they’re part of the leadership problem. Not like that wasn’t predictable or anything, or I think leadership necessarily helps.

  3. edgar for mayor on June 21st, 2008 1:16 pm

    I would almost rather not know these things about some guys. But this group of guys have serious problems and are damaging their reputation by acting like egotistical A-holes.
    I understadn loosing causes frustration, but the only people the players should be worried about is themselves. Washburn shouldn’t be worried about Johima’s contract, because he should focus on not throwing batting practice fastballs. I hate reading stuff like this.

  4. QuoVadis on June 21st, 2008 1:16 pm

    I’ve got to think that falls back on McLaren. The Manager runs the club and if players are slacking-off he has to pull them into line.

  5. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 1:17 pm

    Beltre is injured, Ichiro has a reputation for being one of the hardest working guys in baseball, and Erik Bedard is made of glass and seems to be aware of his limits. What a bunch of lazy jerks.

  6. BrianL on June 21st, 2008 1:20 pm

    So Beltre has a busted thumb and doesn’t want to take extra batting practice? What a selfish jerk.

    /sarcasm.

    Seriously, though, even the coaching staff is a part of this dysfunctional clubhouse. Add a few more lines to DMZ’s blame chart.

  7. smb on June 21st, 2008 1:27 pm

    Wow, Coaches A and B live in a self-collapsing vortex of hypocrisy! Going on the record with a reporter about this stuff shows the same lack of leadership, in my opinion, as does a veteran not setting the right work ethic example for younger players. Even if their observations are arguably legit, they are guilty in my mind of the same thing they’re bitching about.

    The one part I liked was the anecdote about Arthur. Say what you will about his talents and abilities at this point in his career, but he is a true leader. I recall a story from a few years back during Rhodes’ previous stint with the club about Tom Lampkin going on the team flight for a trip through the AL Central parks, then missing the games because he had just used the trip as a free flight to catch a couple of Pearl Jam concerts in the midwest. Rhodes called him out in front of the entire clubhouse, and told him if he ever pulled that kind of bullshit again, Arthur Rhodes would personally kick the “F” out of him in front of everyone.

  8. Jay R. on June 21st, 2008 1:29 pm

    The only pitchers I have heard complain about throwing the Johjima are Washburn and Bedard. One is below replacement level, and the other hasn’t impressed me much with his work ethic or commitment to his team. Do the rest of the starters and bullpen have a problem? How is it so hard to work something out?

    I can’t wait until they tear this crappy down to the studs (heh) and rebuild. All these people whining will be sitting around waiting for NRIs that aren’t coming.

  9. jwgrandsalami on June 21st, 2008 1:30 pm

    I can’t believe some of you are actually defending the lazy, losing players on this team as if it’s the coaches fault that these guys act like that. Sure, Sexson should have been dumped months ago for this attitude and to send a message, but…

  10. JI on June 21st, 2008 1:35 pm

    Beltre is injured, Ichiro has a reputation for being one of the hardest working guys in baseball, and Erik Bedard is made of glass and seems to be aware of his limits. What a bunch of lazy jerks.

    I approve of this comment.

  11. BrianL on June 21st, 2008 1:37 pm

    #9 This article brings up serious problems with the coaching staff if the allegations are true.

    The coaches are lambasting Beltre for not taking extra BP, and he’s got a busted thumb. They moan about Bedard running out of gas at around 100 pitches, but no one knows a pitcher better than the pitcher themselves. It’s almost as if the coaching staff is blissfully unaware what they’re asking for may dramatically increase the chance of injury to key players.

    Then there’s the fact they’re talking to the media about all of this. For supposedly “veteran” coaches, that’s an extremely unprofessional thing to do.

  12. smb on June 21st, 2008 1:37 pm

    It’s the hypocrisy of trumpeting accountability and then anonymously bitching about the players you’re paid to lead, to a reporter, and on the record, that makes this stink.

    It’s a mess from top to bottom, from Howie on down to Cairo. I think it’s a mistake to take criticism of anonymous-bitching coaches as a defense of the players. I don’t see where you took that from anyone’s comment…no one absolved the players, they more or less pointed out that those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  13. bermanator on June 21st, 2008 1:42 pm

    #12 — You mean that if the coaches spoke on the record and fell on their swords (since they would certainly be fired), you would take their comments more seriously?

  14. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 1:58 pm

    I can’t believe some of you are actually defending the lazy, losing players on this team as if it’s the coaches fault that these guys act like that. Sure, Sexson should have been dumped months ago for this attitude and to send a message, but…

    If someone wants to offer me actual evidence that Ichiro, Beltre and Bedard are lazy, I’m all ears. All I see are people blaming this train-wreck of a season on the team’s best veteran players.

  15. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 2:00 pm

    #12 — You mean that if the coaches spoke on the record and fell on their swords (since they would certainly be fired), you would take their comments more seriously?

    I can’t speak for smb, but I would take their comments more seriously if they were reasonable.

  16. Breadbaker on June 21st, 2008 2:00 pm

    13: I think the point is that motivating the players is the job of the managers and getting them ready for the game is the job of the coaches. If you have a problem with what they’re doing, deal with them inside the clubhouse. If you are unable to do that effectively, what exactly are you drawing your salary for?

  17. JI on June 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    the coaching staff is blissfully unaware what they’re asking for may dramatically increase the chance of injury

    Remember our Pitch Through Pain philosophy of the early 2000s?

  18. tuttle07 on June 21st, 2008 2:01 pm

    If Beltre’s thumb is so injured, he should get it fixed or sit out on the DL.

  19. cowabunga on June 21st, 2008 2:03 pm

    Say what you will about the leadership and experience of the coaches, but I imagine it’s nearly impossible to get some of these “prima donnas” to put in the extra effort sometimes needed to work on mechanics, etc. If they only care about themselves, maybe getting called out in the papers will get them to start caring. Or, in the case of someone like Sexson, it will probably infuriate them and only create a greater rift in the clubhouse. Oh well. If you don’t want to be called out, start acting like you actually care about your job and work harder.

    I’m glad the coaches gave those quotes and shed some light on what’s going on behind the scenes. These guys don’t need to be protected anymore.

  20. DMZ on June 21st, 2008 2:03 pm

    You’re right, I’m tired of the coaches being protected.

  21. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 2:05 pm

    If Beltre’s thumb is so injured, he should get it fixed or sit out on the DL.

    Or continue to play, take a day off here and there, and not risk becoming ineffective by overdoing it.

  22. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 2:10 pm

    Say what you will about the leadership and experience of the coaches, but I imagine it’s nearly impossible to get some of these “prima donnas” to put in the extra effort sometimes needed to work on mechanics, etc. If they only care about themselves, maybe getting called out in the papers will get them to start caring. Or, in the case of someone like Sexson, it will probably infuriate them and only create a greater rift in the clubhouse. Oh well. If you don’t want to be called out, start acting like you actually care about your job and work harder.

    Who are these “prima donnas,” exactly? And why do you trust that what the coaches are saying to the press reflects reality?

    This team isn’t bad because Adrian Beltre (who has been killing the ball all season) doesn’t take extra BP, it’s not bad because Ichiro does things differently than other players, and it isn’t bad because Bedard knows him limits and is smart enough to risk injury. This team is bad because they overpay crappy pitchers, they don’t understand aging curves, and they have little to no idea what makes a good offensive player. Any member of the organization that pretends otherwise is part of the problem.

  23. zeke5123 on June 21st, 2008 2:10 pm

    At this point, Beltre should hit the DL. The season is over, let him get healthy for next year. I doubt you will get good value in a trade anyhow.

    There is a nugget of gold in here. Felix. It seems he continues to work hard and though he may not have been the opening day starter this year, something tells me that will change for the next, oh say ten years…

  24. shortbus on June 21st, 2008 2:12 pm

    I’m not sure how to read this, since I have no personal insight into how much or how little effort the players are putting into preparation.

    What I will say is that if these coaches are reflecting their actual situation vis a vis the players’ willingness to do what it takes to prepare to play, there’s a systemic problem with the team. The only real power the coaching staff has over players is playing time. And if your top players’ playing time is dictated by upper management, the staff can get into a situation in which they have no leverage with the players.

    If that’s what’s going on, the coaches have a right to bitch, assuming the situation has been brought up with the GM and ignored. But we don’t know whether it has or was, so it’s impossible to judge.

  25. Paul B on June 21st, 2008 2:13 pm

    If true, this all comes back to the manager.

    If a player is not doing what he is supposed to, the manager can reward that behaviour by benching the player.

    Or if it is a pitcher, move said pitcher into the long relief mop up role.

    If the manager doesn’t care to back up his coaches, then that is the problem. That tells the players that they can ignore the coaches, because the manager ignores them.

  26. Breadbaker on June 21st, 2008 2:16 pm

    The inconsistency is breathtaking. Bedard is bitched at for not taking risks with his health and Beltre is bitched at for taking risks with his health. A coach is quoted as seeing Arthur call out Richie’s work ethic in the same article where McLaren praises Richie’s work ethic.

    If I were Riggleman, I would tell the coaches and players that anyone who took this out of the clubhouse and into the press will have to deal with him.

  27. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 2:18 pm

    If I were Riggleman, I would tell the coaches and players that anyone who took this out of the clubhouse and into the press will have to deal with him.

    Unless, of course, the organization is using this as an opportunity to gauge public reaction prior to the trading deadline. (I’m joking, of course. Well, mostly.)

  28. kentroyals5 on June 21st, 2008 2:19 pm

    Obviously some issues between the players and coaches too…not that we have this out in the open I can’t expect things to get any better in the clubhouse.

    Not that I don’t blame the coaches for saying something, but how can the players trust their coaches when this gets put out in the media.

    I’d never thought our clubhouse could get this messed up. It’s kinda funny, really.

  29. franklloyd on June 21st, 2008 2:23 pm

    1. Nobody from the TNT, Times, PI, blogs, ESPN, ANYBODY??, was around ever in the area during extra BP of extra infield drills and heard Arthur Rhodes shouting about Sexson’s absence? Where are the reporters that follow this team? Are they all over at the Pyramid having a brew on their expense accounts? Did it only happen once? The article implies more than that.

    2. “Leadership” isn’t just shouting sarcastically about a teammate’s lack of effort when they’re not around. It’s also about letting them know that you expect 150% on a losing team, and they don’t give the effort, then they’ll be called out in their presence — and then doing it.

    3. I am not impressed with “the best coaching staff we’ve ever had”; or by anything that Chuck Armstrong says, has ever said, or ever will say. Get rid of him. He and Lincoln are the rot at the root of the tree.

  30. chris d on June 21st, 2008 2:24 pm

    This organization has organizational problems, big problems. Maybe they need to bring in new management and start over.

  31. AuburnM on June 21st, 2008 2:26 pm

    What a dysfunctional pile of crap.

    I don’t doubt that a number of players are lazy and arrogant, but it falls on the manager and GM to deal with this sort thing.

    The Manager needs to set a standard EVERYONE follows. Players that refuse become a cancer and need to be gotten rid of by the GM.

    More evidence that this team needs to keep on firing people – maybe all the way up to Armstrong.

  32. Sentinel on June 21st, 2008 2:28 pm

    More evidence that this team needs to keep on firing people – maybe all the way up to Armstrong.

    Just a quick fix…

    More evidence that this team needs to keep on firing people – maybe all the way up to especially Armstrong.

  33. dw on June 21st, 2008 2:33 pm

    If it were me I’d gather all the coaches in one room, hand them steno pads and a pen, tell them I read the quotes from “coaches” in the paper, and give them 60 seconds to write one of the following on the pads in front of them then sign their names to it:

    “I DID IT,” or

    “I RESIGN.”

    If anyone writes “I DID IT,” I’d deal with them as appropriate. If no one writes it, I’ll accept all their resignations effective immediately.

    Oh, and the next manager needs to be able to quote chapter and verse from The Art of War.

  34. 300ZXNA on June 21st, 2008 2:36 pm

    The thing that worries me the most about all this, is going back to MacLarens comments after being fired, I still think that whole FO is missing the point: to paraphrase the late Johnny Oates, the team that will win the ballgame is the team with the most T-A-L-E-N-T.

    It seems to me that they still view this as though they put together a well constructed, talented team, and the players screwed them by dorking it all up. Which IMO, could not be further from the truth. This team could be one big happy family, singing Kum By Ya to each other nightly and they probably wouldn’t have a record that is appreciably better than they are now.

    WAKE UP FRONT OFFICE!! We need more TALENT! Not leadership, grit, veteranicity or some other pseudopsychological bullshit.

  35. JerBear on June 21st, 2008 2:39 pm

    Anything having to do with Beltre or Ichiro is NOT what is wrong with this team. It’s disappointing that even the coaches don’t recognize this, and are willing to skewer some of the best players on the team in public. I’m not saying there aren’t problems in the clubhouse, but those two players do not deserve to be lumped in as part of it.

    And, granted, Richie still sucks, but didn’t he just take like 5 days off straight to work on his Sexsy Single Swing? Why are they bitching about him not trying?

    Why can’t one of the coaches say, “You know what’s wrong with this team? We’ve got guys like Sexson stinking up the joint, they’re not getting any better, and the only person we have to replace him is Miguel F***ing Cairo.”

    I grow increasingly worried that the FO is going to end up doing something unforgivable and trade Beltre away. Or maybe even Ichiro. Or both.

  36. Karen on June 21st, 2008 2:40 pm

    No mystery who these anonymous two coaches might be. One of them ISN’T former coach Jim Riggleman, we know that.

    The rest of them are: Lee Elia, Bench Coach; Eddie Rodriguez, 1B Coach; Sam Perlozzo, 3B Coach; Mel Stottlemyre, Pitching Coach; Norm Charlton, Bullpen Coach; Jose Castro, and Allen Wirtala strength and conditioning coach and bullpen catcher.

    I’m speculating that the two coaches are probably closer in relationship to the pitchers than the hitters — I don’t see any of the hitting or fielding coaches coming out and saying that kind of negative stuff about Adrian Beltre or Ichiro, because they’d KNOW about injuries and personal workout habits.

    So I’m guessing the complaining coaches are former pitchers and/or work with the pitchers.

    Take your pick of Mel Stottlemyre, Norm Charlton, and Allen Wirtala.

    Allen Wirtala has been with the M’s for 11 years, and his bio starts out “Because of the sports medicine degree Allen Wirtala earned from Montana State University in 1992, Ichiro Suzuki is a better baserunner…”

    I kinda think I know who the two coaches are. Can their asses, pronto.

  37. jwgrandsalami on June 21st, 2008 2:43 pm

    14 wrote: “If someone wants to offer me actual evidence that Ichiro, Beltre and Bedard are lazy, I’m all ears. All I see are people blaming this train-wreck of a season on the team’s best veteran players.”

    I take exception to calling Adrian Beltre one of the team’s best players. When a guy has to have a hot streak in June to get his average from .220 all the way to .240 he’s not one of the team’s best players. Ditto for a guy who’s hitting .157 with runners in scoring position this year. One of the team’s best paid players, yes…

  38. kenshabby on June 21st, 2008 2:45 pm

    I blame the debacle that is this season on the Mariner Moose. Where’s his veteran leadership?

  39. dang on June 21st, 2008 2:45 pm

    Don’t know if anyone has brought this up yet, but one thing Mac emphasized in his conference call, and in fact emphasized all year is that the players were working hard. That effort was not the problem. Coach A and B directly refute that.

  40. jzalman on June 21st, 2008 2:46 pm

    Posted this rant under a previous post, but [dupe]

  41. terry on June 21st, 2008 2:46 pm

    This organization is getting pretty close to hitting rock bottom.

    Right now I’d suggest its player development that is keeping them from being completely bankrupt concerning credibility and even then the Ms drafted a reliever with their first pick.

  42. gwangung on June 21st, 2008 2:48 pm

    I take exception to calling Adrian Beltre one of the team’s best players.

    I wouldn’t. Check his line drive percentages and eyeball how hes been hitting the ball.

    And compare him against the rest of the chuckleheads on this team. Maybe not better than Raul or Ichiro, but compared to Sexson, Johjima, Bloomquist, Cairo, etc? Uh, sorry, but…yeah.

  43. Sklyansky on June 21st, 2008 2:48 pm

    They hire a succession of milquetoast “players managers”, and assemble a group of type B personalities on their roster, and somehow are surprised at this development?

    If they really felt that chemistry actually existed, and is affected by how assertive and fiery a person is, maybe they should have made some different personnel and player decisions.

    Why is it always Ichiro and Beltre getting called out? Why isn’t it ever Ibanez? At least Manny Ramirez has the sense of perspective to know he sucks in the field–however it seems as though Ibanez thinks he’s an asset in LF. And he rarely if ever gets any flak from casual fans.

  44. cowabunga on June 21st, 2008 2:48 pm

    “You had guys watch Felix (Hernandez) work his (butt) off in camp and watched Bedard do the minimum – and Bedard was the opening-day starter.”

    Assuming Felix really did work his butt off and Bedard really did the bare minimum, is it any shock that The Interview is getting tired at 100 pitches? I have to wonder what he would be capable of if he had actually put in some extra effort to get in shape. We’re talking about how great he is for avoiding the risk of injury, but is he being smart or just lazy?

  45. gwangung on June 21st, 2008 2:49 pm

    Oh, and this injury thing? Isn’t the Ms organization a bit suspect on how they handle injuries, particularly with pitchers?

  46. jwgrandsalami on June 21st, 2008 2:49 pm

    #35 wrote I grow increasingly worried that the FO is going to end up doing something unforgivable and trade Beltre away.

    You know what I’m worried about? I’m worried about a fanbase that actually includes people who are WORRIED that the team might trade a $13 million player that’s underachieving (.150 BA in May, .180 BA from June 1-15). He’s having a good month. No better time to trade him than this July’s trade deadline. Get a couple of good prospects back, including a third base prospect close to the Majors with an upside. And regardless of the fact that Beltre will have spent five years with the M’s not coming close to what he did in LA in his FA year, you know that Scott Boras isn’t going to take LEAST money on Adrian’s next contract, at least not from Seattle…

    Trade him while his new team will have him for a year and a half. This team isn’t going anywhere this year and barring a miracle it isn’t contending next year either.

  47. msb on June 21st, 2008 2:50 pm

    ok, I’m not the biggest Sexson fan, but was this missed “extra batting practice” in addition to all the extra time in the cages he’s apparently been spending with Pentland since spring training?

  48. jwgrandsalami on June 21st, 2008 2:50 pm

    That should have been LESS money…

  49. gwangung on June 21st, 2008 2:51 pm

    Why is it always Ichiro and Beltre getting called out?

    Stupid organizations blame their best players.

  50. isaac on June 21st, 2008 2:52 pm

    This kind of crap is what you get when you try to clean house one room at a time. If staff members see the guy who hired them (and the guy who hired the guy who hired them) fired and calculate no reasonable probability of staying beyond the season, then the only thing keeping them from lashing out like this is the desire to maintain their dignity. MacLaren obviously has that (for all of his baseball-related failings), and for that, at least, people seem to respect him. Coaches A and B apparently don’t have that dignity gene, and are perfectly willing to throw sand in the organization’s eye in the hope of an early vacation and a head start on the job search.

  51. joser on June 21st, 2008 2:55 pm

    Armstrong has demonstrated with his statements and his actions that he’s completely self-deluded about this team. The number of quotes he’s made just in the past couple of weeks that are in complete opposition to the obvious facts beggars belief.
    “In my own mind, I’ve used statistical analysis the whole time I’ve been in the game.”
    “Bavasi and McLaren’s positions are secure. They are not to be blamed for what’s going on.”
    “We’ve been improving every year since 2004″
    “I mean, you have to ask yourself, ‘How did the Mariners win 116 games that season with that roster, compared to this roster?’ This is just as inexplicable the other way.”
    “John is doing the job, and the team’s performance is not related to his work. It’s purely related to player performance and underachieving. We’re looking for the players to step up and play like they can, not like they want to.”
    And whatever the hell that “in the Navy” thing was at the Bavasi press conference.

    Normally I’d be willing to wave if off as the usual self-serving gotta-stay-positive marketingspeak that you expect from executives when they’re talking to the press. But now that they’ve given up on the season and the wholescale firings have begun, that doesn’t really wash; instead, it reveals a serious disconnect, a fundamental inability to accurately assess what they have, what they need, and how to go about getting out of this mess.

    Not that that is a surprise to anybody who has been following the team. But it’s remarkable how nakedly obvious it has become, and how oblivious they remain.

    (I was having trouble restricting myself to just 3 despair.com links to stay under the post limit… I note that you can put together a calendar using your choice of sentiments; I’m strongly tempted to order one and have a copy shipped to each of the ArmLinc brain trust).

  52. cowabunga on June 21st, 2008 2:56 pm

    Don’t know if anyone has brought this up yet, but one thing Mac emphasized in his conference call, and in fact emphasized all year is that the players were working hard. That effort was not the problem. Coach A and B directly refute that.

    McLaren notorious for defending his players. It doesn’t seem like he’s the type of guy that will call people out.

  53. cody on June 21st, 2008 2:57 pm

    A few thoughts on this:
    1. If Beltre’s thumb is busted, why the hell is he playing? Its not like we are in a pennant race.
    2. This isn’t a good coaching staff. Any time a guy like Jarrod Washedup gets a personal catcher, that is a bad coaching staff.
    3. Instead of saying that Bedard doesn’t work hard enough, would it not be better to figure out a way for him to not throw 100 pitches in five innings?
    4. It doesn’t matter what happened in spring training. If you send most of your prospects to another team to get their best pitcher, he’s starting on opening day.
    5. Ichiro doesn’t dive and lay out or whatever because if he gets injured, we are a good bet to lose 130 games.
    6. You don’t have to call other people out to be a leader. A leader that calls verybody out isn’y much of a leader. To me, a “clubhouse leader” is someone who works hard, never lets his head drop, and encourages others.
    7. This team doesn’t suck beacuese of a lack of leadership. They suck because they are mostly a group of has-beens and never weres.

  54. hcoguy on June 21st, 2008 2:57 pm

    Ichiro and Beltre get called out because stupid fans buy into that hogwash. There are even people on here agreeing with it. People who should know better.

  55. Spanky on June 21st, 2008 2:58 pm

    I’m confused. First Mac comes out post firing and says there was a clubhouse problem. Then, this morning in the ST, all the players and coaches were asked and none of them knew of any problems. Then this comes out. So which is it? Is there a problem or not?

  56. BrianL on June 21st, 2008 2:58 pm

    #37

    The batting average only tells a part of the story. Go take a look at Beltre’s fairly high LD% and his unusually low BABIP. Beltre has been and remains one of the team’s best players.

  57. gwangung on June 21st, 2008 3:03 pm

    Beltre has been and remains one of the team’s best players.

    Doesn’t have have the 2nd highest OPS on the team even with his problems?

  58. Bender on June 21st, 2008 3:10 pm

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to get players to come to Seattle already. Now you have an organization that talks shit about it’s players openly in the press. Combine that with the bad hitters ballpark, losing atmosphere, reputation for bad weather, crazy travel and lack of national media coverage and it’s going to be really hard to get free agents in the future.

    Seriously, why would anyone want to work for the Mariners?

  59. msb on June 21st, 2008 3:10 pm

    Beltre has been and remains one of the team’s best players.

    but, gosh, how can that be, when all the tv and radio guys say he’s one of the worst busts of the last few years???

  60. aaron c. on June 21st, 2008 3:10 pm

    I take exception to calling Adrian Beltre one of the team’s best players. When a guy has to have a hot streak in June to get his average from .220 all the way to .240 he’s not one of the team’s best players. Ditto for a guy who’s hitting .157 with runners in scoring position this year. One of the team’s best paid players, yes…

    Let’s see, highest LD% of his career, highest walk rate of his career, on pace for 31 homers, and top 5 (at least) defense at his position. Oh, and a BABIP that’s 50 points lower than the last two years. At the risk of oversimplifying, let’s tack those 50 points onto his. Line. He goes from .240/.314/.439 to .290/.364/.439 (assuming that’s all singles, of course, which is unlikely) for an OPS of 803, which would be sixth among AL third basemen. That’s playing in a home park that absolutely kills his numbers.

    Coupled with his defense, that’s a valuable player, easily the team’s most valuable position player this year. Hell, his OPS is already second on the team to Ibanez, who gives back all of his offensive value on left field. If you’re using BA and SSS RISP numbers to evaluate offensive prowess, that’s your failing, not Adrian’s.

  61. dang on June 21st, 2008 3:20 pm

    #52. If Mac doesn’t want to call players out, but believes that the work effort was lacking, then I would expect that he would not say anything – not to emphasize over and over that lack of effort was not the problem.

  62. firova2 on June 21st, 2008 3:22 pm

    At least one of these sounds a lot like Charlton. Fellow bullpen buddy Rhodes is cast in the best light, and he seems to carry a grievance against Johjima. He’s also got a pretty thin track record as a professional coach and a much longer one as a player not afraid to talk big for the press.

  63. dbroncos31 on June 21st, 2008 3:26 pm

    37 and 46

    By being registered on this site, you should know that BA is a stupid stat to look at. Beltre, while playing with a hurt thumb, has the 2nd highest OPS on the team (behind Raul). He has also been one of the least lucky players in the majors this year. Based on his batted ball rates, Beltre should have an .878 OPS, which would make him the 2nd best hitting 3B in the AL (next to a guy named Rodriguez). So, unless you are going to hold the fact that God is angry with Beltre against him, how has he not been one of our best players? He is our 2nd best hitter while injured and with bad luck, and is one of our best defenders.

    The man has our highest qualifying LD%; are you going to blame him for the fact that his BABIP is 87 points below what it should be (.331 xBABIP vs. .244 actual)?

    Adrian Beltre has been one of our best players this year. There really isn’t an argument against it.

  64. Paul B on June 21st, 2008 3:45 pm

    jwgrandsalami:

    Please stop using batting average as your only measure of offensive value.

    People will take what you have to say more seriously if you do.

  65. bermanator on June 21st, 2008 3:50 pm

    It’s interesting that in the previous topic that talked about the possibility that Japanese players were resented, everyone focused on Ichiro. On this one, it seems to be Beltre. And of course, those are the best examples of players being unjustly blamed.

    But doesn’t anyone want to discuss Joh?

    I don’t get why anyone would find it shocking that, on a team going nowhere where people are now out for themselves, his contract would draw resentment. Two starters, at least, don’t like pitching to him. Arguably the top offensive prospect in the system is listed as a catcher. But he still got paid, and now his offensive numbers are way down to boot.

    In any work context, that kind of decision raises eyebrows.

  66. zDawgg on June 21st, 2008 4:00 pm

    Lack of leadership?

    Of course it is the Moose!

    Damned Moose!

    Time to make Mooseburgers!

  67. don52656 on June 21st, 2008 4:02 pm

    What good is Arthur Rhodes doing sitting in the dugout and calling out “Where’s Richie?” How does this type of action create team building or attempt to positively address the situation? What did the coaches do about this, other than hear it and pass it conveniently on to a reporter?

    McLaren seemed pretty happy with Richie’s work ethic this spring, and made the now infamous “Richie for comeback player of the year” comments. During his 5-day benching, we heard how hard Richie was working in the batting cage during that time. So which is the real story? Just because Richie’s performance has nose-dived doesn’t mean his desire to perform well has. Sometimes, players just get old and no amount of extra work will bring back his youth.

    I’d be cleaning house with the coaches, too. This is a team with a lot of problems. For all we know, the divisions within the team have a lot to do with coaches’ attitudes. One thing’s for sure, you wouldn’t be hearing coaches say this kind of thing to reporters when Piniella was in charge.

    PS…Anyone who has been watching the games and paying attention would have noticed that Beltre is always hustling and occasionally risking further injury with his play. Confusing the affects of his thumb injury with a lack of desire to play is ignorant at best, IMO.

  68. Bender on June 21st, 2008 4:06 pm

    By the way, since when is someone caring about their own performance in baseball a bad thing?

  69. JerBear on June 21st, 2008 4:16 pm

    jwgrandsalami said:

    #35 wrote I grow increasingly worried that the FO is going to end up doing something unforgivable and trade Beltre away.

    You know what I’m worried about? I’m worried about a fanbase that actually includes people who are WORRIED that the team might trade a $13 million player that’s underachieving (.150 BA in May, .180 BA from June 1-15). He’s having a good month. No better time to trade him than this July’s trade deadline. Get a couple of good prospects back, including a third base prospect close to the Majors with an upside. And regardless of the fact that Beltre will have spent five years with the M’s not coming close to what he did in LA in his FA year, you know that Scott Boras isn’t going to take LEAST money on Adrian’s next contract, at least not from Seattle…

    As several people have already noted, BA is definitely not a sufficient measure of offensive value. Anybody who EXPECTED Beltre to come close to his freak 2004 year in L.A. was being highly irrational. And, as the authors have frequently explained on this site, Beltre is arguably UNDERPAID, not overpaid.

    But I’m not sure why I’m bothering to re-hash all of this…

  70. gwangung on June 21st, 2008 4:27 pm

    By the way, since when is someone caring about their own performance in baseball a bad thing?

    It’s obvious. Getting a hit instead of making a productive out is hurting the team and being selfish.

  71. joser on June 21st, 2008 4:36 pm

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to get players to come to Seattle already. Now you have an organization that talks shit about it’s players openly in the press. Combine that with the bad hitters ballpark, losing atmosphere, reputation for bad weather, crazy travel and lack of national media coverage and it’s going to be really hard to get free agents in the future.

    Seriously, why would anyone want to work for the Mariners?

    Who are the players that refused to come to Seattle? There were players like Delgado who weren’t interested in being on the west coast (or perhaps even anywhere but the east coast) and players like Griffey who wanted to be in a specific city that wasn’t Seattle. But could you list the players that absolutely said no to Seattle specifically, for any of the above reasons, and couldn’t be persuaded at any price? For every hitter who demands to be paid more to come to a pitcher’s park there’s presumably a pitcher who would take less (especially if the alternative is, say, Colorado). And it’s going to be different for a RH pull hitter vs a LH power hitter, anyway.

    Seriously, it is possible that Seattle has to pay slightly more for any or all of the above reasons, but total salary hasn’t been a problem lately (who spend it on has, obviously).

  72. tomas on June 21st, 2008 5:03 pm

    The coaches were probably just lashing out at Mac getting canned. Big deal. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    Chuckie must go. Lincoln can stay if he gets outta the way.

  73. pinball1973 on June 21st, 2008 5:04 pm

    Bavasi and whassisname, that manager guy, are gone, so I’ll drop in and post very occasionally (at least until the two remaining logs in the jam, Lincoln and Armstrong, are removed).

    My snark about these coaches’ comments is: they’re experienced all right – experienced in CYA techniques and cowardly, I-know-I’m-outta-here-so-I’ll-dump-on-the-players backstabbing. (And what is the weird, I never expect it anti-Japanese bullshit? Some leftover WW2 or anti-Toyota resentment?)

    The idea that Ichiro isn’t working hard enough doesn’t make me angry, but guffaw. They might as well talk about Bach’s measly body of compositions, or Picasso’s laziness and attachment to the conventional.

    I take this as the most conclusive proof yet that literally every person in management in this club should never have been hired, and should have been released the same day the batting coach was let go, with top “management” stepping down as well. The vacuum created might have sucked away any remaining debris – like Sexson, Vidro,…

  74. galaxieboi on June 21st, 2008 7:04 pm

    So, here I sit in Castle Rock, Colorado at my in-laws. Having moved to Denver for various reasons and not having an internet connection where I’m staying during the week near Boulder I only get random updates on tv and during the weekend from USSM.

    I’ve long since ceased to be angry about the state of the team and am now simply sad. This isn’t how quality organizations act. Losing is one thing, doing it without class is something else. I dearly miss Seattle, my family and my friends. But, to be honest, I’m glad I’m not around to live this train wreck live and in person.

  75. smb on June 21st, 2008 8:06 pm

    Yeah, galaxieboy, crack open a bottle of Fat Tire and be glad you are at least outside of the blast zone.

    w/r/t the topic, I just don’t think a coach or coaches should be discussing clubhouse morale issues with a reporter, at least when it comes to identifying causes and symptoms. Isn’t it almost always the coaches/manager that take on the mantra of ‘handling problems in-house?’

  76. smb on June 21st, 2008 8:12 pm

    don52656,

    I get what you are saying…I just don’t know addressing problems in an unwaveringly positive fashion is necessary or even worthwhile in a major league clubhouse. They are big boys making a lot of money…I personally don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to handle some ass-chewing or negative reinforcement, and if they can’t, then who needs them, anyway? Piniella sure as hell doesn’t coddle guys or feverishly work to assuage hurt feelings, and in fact his teams seem to respond by playing better after he lays into them in the clubhouse for sucking. It’s like Sexson whining about getting booed at home games…dude, if the crowd reaction to your plate appearance is that big of a factor in the quality of your performance, maybe you are in the wrong line of work. Go build dollhouses with Jeff Cirillo and stop killing our rallies!

  77. tomas on June 21st, 2008 9:16 pm

    smb:

    “Go build dollhouses with Jeff Cirillo.”

    Good one.

  78. LordLes on June 21st, 2008 10:19 pm

    At first blush I was kinda glad that some coaches came out blasted some players. But after reading this thread, now I’m not so sure.

    The fact is, is that EVERYONE is FRUSTRATED. And all I’ve heard from Mclaren stuff like “we are all working hard to get better”. Now I hear, there are some players who aren’t working hard and it is having an effect on the other players. Who to believe?

    As a person who never gets closer to the organization than game day and the comments on the internet/newspapers/tv, McLaren doesn’t seem like the kind of person to EVER say anything negative (unless of course it is part of a [trumped up?] and so I am very skeptical of his analysis. Everything he says is positive, which might make for a great manager (or not) but definitely makes for a lousy analyst.

    I think that coaches, who in this case seem to driven to comment, that (pick your favorite):

    1: are tired of losing and want to put responsibility on certain players,

    2: are trying to save their jobs,

    3: or are simply trying to correct McLaren’s “misinformation”

    speak out are very likely doing the right thing. It may drive their bosses banannas, but baseball in Seattle has been defined as having a larger meaning than other types of businesses.

    The Seattle Mariners (SM) have depended on taxpayers to help make them successful. The SM have said that they are part of our city’s attractriveness, personality and perception to the outside world. And in that light, we the fans/taxpayers deserve honest, forthright evaluation. The fact that the coaches have to do it in anonymity merely reflects everyone’s employment precariousness when working for someone else.

    Besides all that, the one thing I don’t hear is enough people saying something like Pinella/Buhner and others would say: “BALLHOCKEY” (changed for your innocence).

    SERIOUSLY! Where is the outrage? Where is the accountability? Bedard limits reporters to 4 questions???? Is he soooo busy between starts that he can’t answer 5? Maybe some of you believe Bedard really is tired by 100 pitches. I can’t take him at his word and the reason I can’t is because “people who don’t have anything to hide, don’t hide anything” and Bedard is anything but forthcoming. Maybe Bedard is simply protecting his arm for the BIG PAYCHECK. I would given this crappy team.

    Players are jealous that Johima got a 3 year extension? Tough cookie! Shoulda been born Japanese buddies. Pissed that you don’t like the way he calls a game? WAVE OFF HIS PITCH SELECTIONS!

    These are the “dog days of June” ™ and the indisputable facts are:

    1: Sexson was probably gonna suck from day one.
    2: Just about every major move this club made was opposed by the intelligensia of this web site.
    3: And Billy Beane, with 1/3 the money, can out GM the SM’s. And if the local ownership really had an dollars sense they would go get him and pay him 20 million a year to save 60 million a year.

    Ok, I’m done. I’m still pissed but I’m done.

  79. msb on June 21st, 2008 10:41 pm

    Piniella sure as hell doesn’t coddle guys or feverishly work to assuage hurt feelings, and in fact his teams seem to respond by playing better after he lays into them in the clubhouse for sucking.

    the key there is “in the clubhouse”.

  80. LordLes on June 21st, 2008 10:54 pm

    Pinella does keep certain things “in the clubhouse” but he also has a very well reputation for letting other comments out in the public (whether on the field or in after game interviews).

  81. Rusty on June 21st, 2008 11:09 pm

    I just read all 80 comments above, but haven’t seen this asked or answered…

    Can someone please point me to a study where extra batting practice results in better in-game results?

    Even if more BP yields better returns, there must be a point of diminishing returns. What point is that? 20 swings? 50 swings? 317 swings?

  82. Benne on June 21st, 2008 11:22 pm

    SERIOUSLY! Where is the outrage? Where is the accountability? Bedard limits reporters to 4 questions???? Is he soooo busy between starts that he can’t answer 5? Maybe some of you believe Bedard really is tired by 100 pitches. I can’t take him at his word and the reason I can’t is because “people who don’t have anything to hide, don’t hide anything” and Bedard is anything but forthcoming. Maybe Bedard is simply protecting his arm for the BIG PAYCHECK. I would given this crappy team.

    Who cares about Bedard’s relationship with the media? Seriously, does anybody besides sportswriters honestly care about this?

    You, like the front office when they traded for Bedard, are seemingly glossing over his long injury history. He has never pitched 200 innings in his career and is as fragile as porcelain. I’m sure he’s a smart enough guy to know his threshold and not risk further injury. And people are slamming him for this? Give me a break.

    I’m not even going to get into the Beltre/Ichiro thing, because it’s just silly. Bad teams blame their best players. I’ll say it again: Bad Teams Blame Their Best Players.

  83. LordLes on June 21st, 2008 11:35 pm

    I don’t know how to quote so (somewhat had tagged):

    From: Benne

    >Who cares about Bedard’s relationship with the >media? Seriously, does anybody besides >sportswriters honestly care about this?

    Because “Bedard’s relationship with the media…” is all we have about the current situation. I don’t don’t have any good news to report. Whether it is physical or simply honesty.

    “Bad Teams Blame Their Best Player” (God that is good!)

  84. gwangung on June 22nd, 2008 12:31 am

    Because “Bedard’s relationship with the media…” is all we have about the current situation.

    Then we shouldn’t worry about that. Kinda irrelevant, really, to what he does on the field.

    “Bad Teams Blame Their Best Player” (God that is good!)

    Should be. Bill James said it a lot (and he’s got a couple rings to back it up to those who don’t kindly of statheads). And it really makes a whole lot of sense. Good teams focus on their weaknesses–i.e., their bad players. And they fix ‘em or get better ones.

    Hm. What do the Mariners do?…..

  85. aaron c. on June 22nd, 2008 1:14 am

    I think that coaches, who in this case seem to driven to comment, that (pick your favorite):

    1: are tired of losing and want to put responsibility on certain players,

    2: are trying to save their jobs,

    3: or are simply trying to correct McLaren’s “misinformation”

    4: Don’t really understand the things that are important about winning baseball teams.

    Maybe Bedard is simply protecting his arm for the BIG PAYCHECK.

    Or maybe he’s smart enough to know his limits.

    Besides all that, the one thing I don’t hear is enough people saying something like Pinella/Buhner and others would say: “BALLHOCKEY” (changed for your innocence).

    And there it is…the 1995 guys save us again.

    Look, Lou was a lot of fun, and Jay was fantastic to watch, hit well, played some defense and says some funny stuff. That doesn’t make them baseball prophets. The M’s suck because their roster sucks. It’s not because people aren’t taking extra BP, it’s not because pitchers refuse to pitch through the pain, and it’s not because old-school guy aren’t kickin’ people in the behind and rubbin’ chaw in loafers faces. THEY’RE BAD BECAUSE JOSE VIDRO IS BATTING IN THE TOP HALF OF THE LINEUP, RICHIE SEXSON HAS NO BAT SPEED, RAUL IBANEZ CAN’T FIELD, THEIR DEFENSE IS AWFUL AND THEIR PITCHING STAFF IS MEDIOCRE. Why is this so hard for people to understand? It isn’t rocket science.

    Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk. Really, I’m not. I know that people are angry, and want a winning team. Believe me, I do. But the Mariners are bad for some pretty simple reasons. They lack talent, they’re bad at finding better talent, and they value the wrong things in their attempts to get better. Nothing the coaching staff, front office, beat writers or players can say is going to change my mind. There are simple solutions. I don’t doubt that the clubhouse is a disaster area; I just doubt that it matters all that much. Put a talented group of players in the clubhouse and watch the chemistry issues become all but irrelevant.

  86. LordLes on June 22nd, 2008 2:58 am

    >84gwangung said:

    >>Because “Bedard’s relationship with the media…” >>is all we have about the current situation.

    >Then we shouldn’t worry about that.

    Ignorance as bliss.

    >Kinda >irrelevant, really, to what he does on the >field.

    I suggested otherwise in my post.

    >>“Bad Teams Blame Their Best Player” (God that is >>good!)

    >Should be. Bill James said it a lot (and he’s got >a couple rings to back it up to those who don’t >kindly of statheads). And it really makes a whole >lot of sense. Good teams focus on their >weaknesses–i.e., their bad players. And they >fix ‘em or get better ones.

    Or they continue to suck. I was dissapointed when Boston hired Bill James (he went to a competitor). I didn’t understand why he wasn’t picked up earlier. But then, as I say, I am just a fan. And not one trying to pick a fight.

    >Hm. What do the Mariners do?…..

    Suck caca, over and over again.

    June 22nd, 2008 at 12:31 am

  87. LordLes on June 22nd, 2008 3:09 am

    I think that coaches, who in this case seem to driven to comment, that (pick your favorite):

    1: are tired of losing and want to put responsibility on certain players,

    2: are trying to save their jobs,

    3: or are simply trying to correct McLaren’s “misinformation”

    >4: Don’t really understand the things that are >important about winning baseball teams.

    You are making that claim about the coaches quoted in the article?

    Maybe Bedard is simply protecting his arm for the BIG PAYCHECK.

    >Or maybe he’s smart enough to know his limits.

    EXACTLY! THANK YOU! FINALLY SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS! NEITHER OF US KNOWS, AND NEITHER OF US HAS ANY CLUE TO THE TRUTH!

    Besides all that, the one thing I don’t hear is enough people saying something like Pinella/Buhner and others would say: “BALLHOCKEY” (changed for your innocence).

    >And there it is…the 1995 guys save us again.

    Oh please! I say that not as a reference to winning but as a reference to a winning manager.

    If I wanted to reference cocaine, I’d mention Maurie Wills. Not the other way around. LOL!

    SNIP

  88. Reinserts tamale on June 22nd, 2008 3:51 am

    Lordles:
    I think what aaronc was getting at with his ’95 guys comment is that there has been for a number of years, a vocal component of the Ms’ fan base which looks back to the successful teams of ’95, ’97, ’00 and’01 and remembers the standard media coverage/worship of easy stories like Buhner’s clubhouse leadership or Pinella’s “fire” and makes the connection that those were the things which made the Ms successful. Correlation, causation and all that.
    A nice way to look at it is to see that many of the Ms’ current coaching staff could be considered classic old school baseball guys, just the sort to trot out the cliches which have already been hashed out over and over.

  89. JerBear on June 22nd, 2008 8:18 am

    Also, Lordles,

    Hit the “bquote” button

    Highlight, copy, and paste your quote

    Hit the “/bquote” button.

    No snark intended, just being helpful.

  90. aaron c. on June 22nd, 2008 8:54 am

    You are making that claim about the coaches quoted in the article?

    If they think the team is bad because Adrian Beltre won’t play pepper with them, then yes, I am making that claim about the coaches in the article.

    EXACTLY! THANK YOU! FINALLY SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS! NEITHER OF US KNOWS, AND NEITHER OF US HAS ANY CLUE TO THE TRUTH!

    If people want to think that Bedard is lazy and selfish for only throwing 100 pitches, that’s their prerogative. I just think it’s far more likely that, given his injury history, he’s aware that pushing it is going to end badly. Pitchers shouldn’t throw more pitches than their body can handle. “Pitching through the pain” and “gutting it out” doesn’t make you a hero; it makes you an ass.

  91. gwangung on June 22nd, 2008 10:16 am

    “Pitching through the pain” and “gutting it out” doesn’t make you a hero; it makes you an ass.

    See Ibanez early 2007.

  92. LordLes on June 22nd, 2008 12:21 pm

    89JerBear said:

    Also, Lordles,

    Hit the “bquote” button

    Highlight, copy, and paste your quote

    Hit the “/bquote” button.

    No snark intended, just being helpful.

    SWEEEEET! THANK YOU! I felt kinda stupid not knowing the right way to do the quoting.

  93. OriolesFan on June 22nd, 2008 9:04 pm

    I thought I would chime in here folks, and I’m not doing to salt your wound. Lord knows, we feel the pain of cheering on an awful team. I have been watching as the trade that sent Bedard from Baltimore (and there was much rejoicing) to Seattle (not so much) has played out.

    Is Bedard that bad? Yes, he is. The reason is simple – He operates under his own set of rules, and he places himself above and beyond the needs of his own team. That is the reason Baltimore fans never really warmed up to him. The result for Seattle is that a clubhouse that looks like it is already fractured has split asunder completely.

    Any move by Seattle at this point should include shipping Bedard out. He may have talent, but he has a ten cent head, and he is a clubhouse cancer. It is not coincidence that Baltimore has played well this year without him around.

    Good luck the rest of the way, guys, and hang in there.

  94. dingdangdo on June 22nd, 2008 11:00 pm

    #7 “I can’t stand the way a lot of players are taking the game for granted,” he says. “It seems like they have the attitude the game owes them something instead of the other way around. I’m not saying that’s the way they are, but that’s the way it seems from watching them play.

    “I always played the game as hard as I could. My attitude was, bust your ass so that no one can say they got cheated because you didn’t play hard, or didn’t try. Some of the younger players today just don’t care as much about the game and their team as they do about other things. I don’t like that.” -Tom Lampkin, Portland Tribune, May 28 2004.

    I like your Arthur Rhodes anecdote much better than this article.

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