MLB.com takes different approach to covering team

DMZ · July 23, 2008 at 12:48 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, okay, if I put this in a post, will everyone stop trying to hijack threads and emailing us?

Different approach at DH

The money quote:

“I’m astonished to tell you the truth when I look up and I see Vidro’s average is what it is, because I feel like every time he goes up there I’m very confident that he’s going to give us a good at-bat,” Riggleman said. “And for the at-bats that he has, he’s knocked in quite a few runs … he’s been fairly effective in the way we want to use him.

Generally speaking, I try not to post links to MLB.com inanity or Kelley’s occasional forays into baseball commentary (or inaccuracies in beat writer stories) — we’ve really gotten away from that since Finnigan took his leave. MLB.com is to baseball coverage what the game broadcasts are to the team — it’s a PR arm to promote the product. I just accept it at that. But for whatever reason, everyone loves this story, soo… have at it.

Comments

69 Responses to “MLB.com takes different approach to covering team”

  1. killer_ewok18 on July 23rd, 2008 12:50 pm

    glug glug glug. I love me that kool-aid.

  2. msb on July 23rd, 2008 12:51 pm

    I think it is because (amazingly) it isn’t Jim Street.

  3. Zero Gravitas on July 23rd, 2008 12:54 pm

    Wow. There was so much Stupid in that article I feel like it actually killed some of my brain cells. Um, thanks for posting it I guess? I’m going to go cry now.

  4. cdowley on July 23rd, 2008 12:55 pm

    Excuse me, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth…

    *staggers off to toilet*

  5. Jeff Nye on July 23rd, 2008 12:57 pm

    Having a DH who can’t H certainly qualifies as a different approach!

    And let’s not kid ourselves; even beat writers are basically a de-facto part of the PR arm of the clubs they cover, for the most part.

  6. joser on July 23rd, 2008 12:58 pm

    Well, as I said in the other game thread — The numbers are reality, and he’s denying it, which in most other fields of work would be considered incompetence at best and mental illness at worst, with fraud sitting somewhere in between.

    But maybe he’s just lying. To himself, and to us. That’s what PR is all about, right?

  7. Seth on July 23rd, 2008 12:59 pm

    I don’t have a huge problem with this piece–everyone is asking why Vidro is at DH, so this dude asked Riggleman that very question, and lets Riggleman hang himself with his own rope, so to speak.

    I mean, I guess he could have written the 87,053rd “WHAT THE HELL ARE THE M’S DOING” piece, without bothering to speak to Riggleman, but it’s far more interesting to hear Riggleman’s actual stance, which proves that either:

    a) Riggleman is mental,

    or, more likely,

    b) he’s your typical M’s “organization man” who won’t say anything bad about his GM…I mean, can you imagine if the M’s stuck Piniella with this lineup?

  8. killer_ewok18 on July 23rd, 2008 1:05 pm

    I’m still waiting for someone to get an Ozzie Guillen quote on the matter.

  9. joesuperdad on July 23rd, 2008 1:09 pm

    Really, Riggleman is acknowledging they’re not good at the position, so he’s just doing what he can do. He wants a full time job, so he has to pretend to like it, but really, there is nothing about his quotes that convince me he is at all happy with the line-up or with Vidro as DH. The article seemed almost tongue-in-cheek to me. I can see the writer getting called in for writing the article in the almost-but-not-quite condescending manner that he did. “What do you want me to write about? I can’t flat out lie, so I have to make it seem like you actually have a plan.”

  10. Go Felix on July 23rd, 2008 1:10 pm

    Wrong thread.

  11. Jeff Nye on July 23rd, 2008 1:12 pm

    Did Manny hurt his knee jaywalking?

  12. gwangung on July 23rd, 2008 1:15 pm

    b) he’s your typical M’s “organization man” who won’t say anything bad about his GM…I mean, can you imagine if the M’s stuck Piniella with this lineup?

    Lou wouldn’t have gotten stuck with this lineup. (And probably one of the reasons why he isn’t here….)

  13. _David_ on July 23rd, 2008 1:27 pm

    The issue here isn’t whether to make fun of MLB.com or how stupid their articles are, but the fact that that quote came from Riggleman, our coach, the guy responsible for whether or not Vidro plays.

  14. bigbeat1 on July 23rd, 2008 1:32 pm

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Riggleman can’t see that Vidro cannot and will not produce. It doesn’t matter that “I’m very confident that he’s going to give us a good at-bat”. Riggleman can be as confident as he wants to be, but Vidro’s numbers and production simply aren’t there. A good manager would see that, and put an end to this.

  15. smb on July 23rd, 2008 1:35 pm

    Framing Vidro’s PT as an innovating approach to filling the DH position is a farce and an act of apparently extreme journalistic whimsy. I love it. Perfect Onion material.

  16. nickwest1976 on July 23rd, 2008 1:39 pm

    Riggelman is an idiot plain and simple. The lineups he puts out there are no better than what Mac did. The idea the Vidro is hitting clean up and is the DH night after night is an insult to the fan base of this team.

    Following this team is a continual punch in the gut and makes me want to hit my head against my desk at work. But like it or not I bleed Mariner blue for better or worse.

  17. Go Felix on July 23rd, 2008 1:39 pm

    We were spoiled in Seattle by having Edgar. It’s going to take a long time to find someone even close to his talent to be a DH for the M’s. That being said, how far off is cloning humans?

    Lineup 2027:

    Ichiro II
    Edgar Martinez II
    Edgar Martinez III
    Ken Griffey Jr. II
    Edgar Martinez IV
    and so on……

  18. JerBear on July 23rd, 2008 1:43 pm

    The issue here isn’t whether to make fun of MLB.com or how stupid their articles are, but the fact that that quote came from Riggleman, our coach, the guy responsible for whether or not Vidro plays.

    Exactly. And as Joser pointed out, a statement such as that (given the context) would most likely get you canned in any other line of employment. Of course I don’t expect Riggs to get canned – he’s just a temp for the last guy that got canned – but it’s sad that they’re clueless enough to just let him go out there and embarrass the entire organization.

    I also thought it was worth noting that a “PR arm for the team” (and I agree that’s all it is) finally pointed out the strangeness of Vidro at DH, and how his high average is essentially a hollow misrepresentation of his contributions. I agree that the article had a clever tongue-in-cheek undertone…I wonder if it was actually intended.

  19. nickwest1976 on July 23rd, 2008 1:43 pm

    Following up my last comment…I feel like I have to resort to hoping Vidro goes 0-60 and that the team continues to lose games…because it seems that the only way any changes get made is when it gets to the point where the organization is embarassed by what is going on.

    The team went 10-10 or something like that in Riggelman’s first 20 games and I bet they were sitting there thinking, “yep, it was all Mac’s fault.” But hopefully as more losing happens this organization will understand that they need to make some more changes.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…just move Washburn for a bag of balls. The first team that calls and offers to take his contract for a bad prospect should be the last team that calls.

  20. Jeff Nye on July 23rd, 2008 1:45 pm

    Let’s back off a little on calling people “idiot”, please.

    Criticising the actions = OK
    Calling people names = not OK

  21. DMZ on July 23rd, 2008 1:47 pm

    Riggleman is acknowledging they’re not good at the position, so he’s just doing what he can do.

    I just want to point this out: if he’s unhappy with Vidro at DH, he can bat someone else there, or not bat him at #4.

    No one’s forcing Riggleman to fill out the lineup card that way every day.

  22. nickwest1976 on July 23rd, 2008 1:49 pm

    Let’s back off a little on calling people “idiot”, please.

    Criticising the actions = OK
    Calling people names = not OK

    Fine, the action of putting Vidro at DH and hitting 4th is idiotic.

    Sorry, just really, really frustrated as a fan right now.

  23. mearls on July 23rd, 2008 1:49 pm

    Sure, it’d be nice to see Riggleman rip into Vidro, but don’t we all hate Washburn for doing exactly that to Joh?

    Sure, Vidro is terrible, but the manager shouldn’t be ripping players to the press.

    The truth is, if Vidro isn’t DH’ing, who replaces him in the lineup? Better question: who does he move to DH without having both Cairo and WFB (aka the White Flags of Surrender) in his starting nine?

    Ideally, Raul would move to DH and Balentien would get some PT in the OF, but apparently the FO doesn’t want that to happen.

  24. msb on July 23rd, 2008 1:51 pm

    Lou wouldn’t have gotten stuck with this lineup.

    yup, he would have put his foot down, just as he did for Jeff Cirillo or AL Martin.

  25. nickwest1976 on July 23rd, 2008 1:56 pm


    DMZ said:

    I just want to point this out: if he’s unhappy with Vidro at DH, he can bat someone else there, or not bat him at #4.

    No one’s forcing Riggleman to fill out the lineup card that way every day.

    This is EXACTLY what frustrates me. Vidro hitting 4th.

    Last night we’re down 4-2, two outs and one man on. Vidro is up. Beltre should be hitting clean up and if he is, he is the tying run with a chance to do some damage.

    Vidro shouldn’t be on the team right now but the idea that he is hitting 4th is just maddening.

  26. julian on July 23rd, 2008 2:10 pm

    Can you imagine this coming out of a football coach’s mouth?

    “It’s not a classic DH RB spot where we’re looking for our DH RB to give us 25 to 30 home runs carries and 100 RBIs yards per game, that’s just not what we are. So I’m fine with it the way it is.”

    Yeah, me neither.

    [ Edit: OK, on second thought, this might apply in some cases. Not so for DH, though. ]

  27. dw on July 23rd, 2008 2:15 pm

    I know the author. He’s an intern for MLB.com this summer, majoring in journalism back east, and a local kid — he’s my pastor’s son.

  28. dw on July 23rd, 2008 2:18 pm

    If we have a feed before mid-August, I can probably get him to come over and we can huck tomatoes at him.

  29. SeattleKurt on July 23rd, 2008 2:20 pm

    Comments like this bring to light the fact that Riggleman needs to go. We need a house cleaning and it needs to start from the top on down.

    Sometimes a duck is a duck. Calling it anything else just makes you look like a fool.

  30. DMZ on July 23rd, 2008 2:27 pm

    Ignoring for a second the issue of “who then”…

    Sure, it’d be nice to see Riggleman rip into Vidro, but don’t we all hate Washburn for doing exactly that to Joh?

    Sure, Vidro is terrible, but the manager shouldn’t be ripping players to the press.

    I don’t want Riggleman ripping into his players in public. I’ve never argued that. I would sympathize but count it against him for that as a manager.

    What I don’t like at all is this consistent, bizarre use of Vidro at all, much less as a regular DH, much less batting him fourth.

    Those are all things he’s doing that are bad for the team.

  31. gwangung on July 23rd, 2008 2:31 pm

    I don’t want Riggleman ripping into his players in public. I’ve never argued that. I would sympathize but count it against him for that as a manager.

    What I don’t like at all is this consistent, bizarre use of Vidro at all, much less as a regular DH, much less batting him fourth.

    Those are all things he’s doing that are bad for the team.

    It just seems to me that this whole approach is held organization wide, up through Armstrong and probably Lincoln. It’s persistent through personnel over the last few years, it needs to be changed, and it needs an organization-wide scrubbing of personnel (and more so than a rebuild of the team and players).

  32. b2 on July 23rd, 2008 2:35 pm

    You know, an anagram for ‘DFA Vidro’ is ‘did favor’. How appropriate.

  33. smb on July 23rd, 2008 2:40 pm

    dw,

    For what the article is supposed to be (MLB-sponsored fluff), the kid did a good job. I wouldn’t throw anything at him for towing the company line…if he did anything different he wouldn’t be around for long, I’m sure.

  34. eponymous coward on July 23rd, 2008 2:53 pm

    I’m sure glad they gave up on that useless veteran Balentien so they could play the new kid in the lineup, Vidro.

  35. Griffey IsMySurrogateDad on July 23rd, 2008 3:04 pm

    Hey, is there anyone with the time/energy/capability to tell us what the M’s Win-Loss is with Vidro batting 4th versus what it is during all other games? What about runs per game for the same sets?

    Would love to see if there’s a difference and how big it is. Thanks.

  36. MojoMark on July 23rd, 2008 3:05 pm

    He said most of that in last nights pre-game show with Niehaus… I just stared at my radio dial and shook my head.

  37. JI on July 23rd, 2008 3:05 pm

    [link button]

  38. Chris Hafner on July 23rd, 2008 3:23 pm

    smb:

    For what the article is supposed to be (MLB-sponsored fluff), the kid did a good job. I wouldn’t throw anything at him for towing the company line…if he did anything different he wouldn’t be around for long, I’m sure.

    The reporter didn’t do anything wrong – he reported on the manager’s explanation for why he’s batting Vidro at DH. He’s not voicing the company line – in fact in his setup he all but describes just how ridiculous it is to have Vidro at DH. Every bit of background he provides illustrates why most sane teams wouldn’t do this.

    Blame Riggleman for the decision to put Vidro at DH, blame Riggleman for his dumb public statements, or blame present or former Mariner management for putting Vidro on the team and Riggleman in that position. But the reporter is hardly endorsing the decision, he’s just reporting on it.

  39. Bremerton guy on July 23rd, 2008 3:32 pm

    #23: How about Clement? Pre-game today Riggleman said Clement is able to hit, he just isn’t able to throw. Perfect.

    #25: I was at the game. Ironically, in that at-bat, Vidro happened to line drive smoke the pitch, but right at the centerfielder. That being said, at this point I agree most anyone else would be better. If he isn’t gone by the trading deadline, why not DFA Vidro and call up Balentien to DH full-time (since they refuse to remove Ibanez from LF).

  40. bigwall on July 23rd, 2008 3:39 pm

    Great Vidro hit a homerun. I am sure the mariners mismanagement will use this as another excuse to keep his dead weight in the line up.

  41. RallyFried on July 23rd, 2008 3:40 pm

    Hafner @ 38

    Counldn’t agree more. I think it was a not so subtle WTF are you doing article. The biggest shot was comparing the power outage at our DH spot with the likes of Ortiz. The only thing pathetic about this article was Riggleman’s defense of Vidro. He Sounded weak and his answers defied logic.

  42. smb on July 23rd, 2008 4:05 pm

    I disagree. I don’t think it is humanly possible for someone to knowingly write a subversive “Vidro as DH is ridiculous” article for mlb.com. I think assigning that intent to the piece is a 100% “ussm regular” interpretation. I know because that is how I wanted to interpret it as well, except that would be totally out of line with everything I’ve ever read by an mlb.com writer; ergo, I find it unlikely. Besides, if the writer is all about pointing out how terrible the M’s lineup construction and roster management is, he may learn that it is in fact possible to get fired from an internship. Just a counterpoint, not trying to be too serious.

  43. Chris Hafner on July 23rd, 2008 4:22 pm

    smb:

    Besides, if the writer is all about pointing out how terrible the M’s lineup construction and roster management is

    Are you responding to me or RallyFried in 41? Because I’m not willing to assign any intent to the reporter. It’s a pretty straight story built from the quotes. Reporter interviews Riggleman, Riggleman admits that he’s not using the DH position in the traditional way (“It’s not a classic DH situation”). Reporter uses headline “Different approach at DH.” He’s just reporting on Riggleman’s comments, and I don’t see any outright commentary from the reporter indicating whether the reporter thinks Riggleman’s comments or use of the DH position are reasonable or questionable.

    Now, if we were to go looking for the reporter’s intent, I’d do it by looking at how the reporter frames the story, what context he provides – that’s normally how a reporter provides the bias they’re not willing to state outright.

    If the reporter was in favor of this usage of Vidro, the context would probably focus on Vidro’s batting history in previous seasons or some anecdotes of successful Vidro at-bats this year in a clutchy situation. Given the source, I’m actually surprised none of this was included.

    All of the evidence and context in the story instead point to Vidro’s, um, non-traditional fit for the DH – his poor batting average, his poor OBP, and the emptiness of his superficially good 2007 numbers. The closest thing to overt commentary here is the line “Vidro is about as far away from Ortiz as you can get.” Either that or “while many teams would prefer some additional pop in the lineup …”

    I’m not going to say for sure the writer was biased, but if there is bias, the way the piece is written makes me think he doesn’t agree with Vidro as DH.

    Yeah, this is ridiculously over-analytical, but my overall point is that writing this piece doesn’t make Baumgartner a Kool-Aid drinker or a company man.

  44. RallyFried on July 23rd, 2008 4:37 pm

    I guess we can argue author intent all day long. In the end it really doesn’t matter. We still have a horrible DH hitting in the 4 spot with no end in sight. Based on Riggleman’s quotes, and Vidro’s homer today I am sure Turbo is cemented into that position for the rest of the season. 2008 doesn’t matter anymore, but it would be nice to see the M’s organization show that they understand basic baseball principles as they move forward.

  45. Chris Hafner on July 23rd, 2008 4:50 pm

    RallyFried: “I guess we can argue author intent all day long. In the end it really doesn’t matter.”

    Yep, exactly. I’m just happy somebody asked the question and printed the answer, however inane. At least the M’s are on the record now.

  46. north on July 23rd, 2008 5:45 pm

    Anybody have a Vidro option update. He still seems to be playing a lot…Could the Ms really be that …?

  47. cody on July 23rd, 2008 6:22 pm

    Riggleman is using our DH to play small ball.
    Okay. Fine. Whatever. It’s a stupid idea. We all agree on that.

    But if he’s using Vidro to play small ball, why is he batting him 4th? Wouldn’t a spot closer to the bottom of the order make more sense?

  48. pygmalion on July 23rd, 2008 6:34 pm

    Anybody have a Vidro option update. He still seems to be playing a lot…Could the Ms really be that …?

    No…When I worked it out I think that the only way Vidro’s option vests is if every game goes 12 innings and Vidro starts every game.

  49. pygmalion on July 23rd, 2008 6:54 pm

    My personal theory for why our managers cannot figure out how to put a decent lineup together for this team? These are NOT men of theory, they are men of experience. The two basic ways that someone can be knowledgeable about something are either by obtaining a systematic and theoretical understanding of it, or by obtaining an empirical and, so to speak, haphazard experience with it. So someone in the first group has a bunch of theories that allow him to approach even situations that no one has ever encountered with confidence, but can be useless when the theories aren’t sufficiently developed (think of Bill James on defense in the early years of sabermetrics).

    But the other guy has a bunch of knowledge about all kinds of individual events: If X happens, then do Y, etc. Some of these are really important observations, some are not, but the main thing is, they aren’t systematic. It’s know-how based on experience with specific events. You can’t use this knowledge to approach situations that you don’t know anything about. It will break down.

    When Baker says that Riggleman knows more about baseball than any of us, this is the kind of stuff he is talking about. Riggleman and MacLaren know far more facts than any of us do. But I’m betting that Dave and DMZ and Jeff Sullivan and many others know far more baseball theory than he does, and Baker underestimates the power of theoretical knowledge. A few good theorems extend further than a huge number of isolated facts. The only thing you need to beware of is where you still lack a good theory.

    So my hypothesis is that guys like MacLaren and Riggleman look at the hitters they have for this team, and the gears in their brains grind to a white heat trying to figure out what the heck they are supposed to do with this. They’ve never seen a team this poorly constructed, and they just don’t have anything to fall back on. Do we have a #1 hitter? Okay, that’s Ichiro. How about our #3 hitter? Well we don’t really have one. Maybe Ibanez can do that, though. Then it all breaks down because they just don’t know what to do with all the remaining parts. Beltre has to go somewhere high, but he just doesn’t look like a #2 hitter or a traditional cleanup hitter. So they put him at #5. No one else looks like anything, so then they just struggle to fit all the pieces together, and you end up with the lineups from Hell that we are used to seeing.

    They don’t have the kind of theoretical knowledge that would allow them to say, “Okay, ideal lineup is sorted by OBP, with slugging at 3 and 5. Let me sort the players by OBP for the past 162 games, and see what comes up…” They have a bunch of know-how that is completely inapplicable to this disaster.

  50. Axtell on July 23rd, 2008 7:33 pm

    This article is already up on firejoemorgan.com (after USSMariner my favorite site).

    http://www.firejoemorgan.com

  51. Phightin Phils on July 23rd, 2008 9:35 pm

    Hey, Baltimore will be in town the beginning of next month. Adam Jones will roam the outfield, Sherrill will close us down. Vidro in our lineup will still look stupid. We can contrast the fortunes of us against them, the last team we made a major trade with.

    Like Yuni fleeing Cuba, I wonder if any Mariner tries to jump on the Baltimore bus before it leaves behind this mess…

  52. PADJ on July 23rd, 2008 10:08 pm

    Ugh. I guess at least Riggleman doesn’t say these kinds of things while getting all squinty eyed.

    “I’m just kind of using it just to try to have some contact in that spot, and maybe be able to move some runners and hit and run and that kind of stuff, get some at-bats for some guys”

    Is it just me, or does this just drip with “I have no idea what I can say”? Kind of…try to…maybe be able…that kind of stuff…and how in the heck does this approach help to “get some at-bats for some guys”??

    He isn’t looking for our DH to H and he’s “fine with it the way it is.”

    He’s “…astonished to…see Vidro’s average…because I feel like every time he goes up there I’m very confident that he’s going to give us a good at-bat.” Why?? Haven’t you been paying attention? Because Vidro can remember which end of the bat to hold?

    Ugh. All the more reason I had FSNW removed from my dish…

  53. dsmiley on July 23rd, 2008 11:01 pm

    How can Riggleman actually think that? Is he just BSing to cover management and/or to avoid throwing Turbo under the bus (that’s Wash’s job)?

    My mind has been blown.

  54. PADJ on July 23rd, 2008 11:08 pm

    I mean, we’ve seen and heard some weird things this year, but this just is plain bizarre. Granted that Riggleman has forgotten more than I will ever know about baseball…

    …but in my totally naive and uninformed opinion if I were an AL manager I would expect whoever is my DH to hit, and to hopefully be able to go from base to base faster than a rollicking glacier. He doesn’t have to know which hand to put a fielder’s glove on…he can sit in the dugout and eat more sunflower seeds during the other team’s half of the inning. But he does need to be able to hit and move a little bit.

    Vidro hasn’t shown he can do either of these this year. And Riggleman is okay with that? Granted that we have a boatload of people who are having their offensive troubles, but it seems like almost ANYONE currently on the squad would be a better fit for DH than Vidro.

  55. north on July 24th, 2008 7:27 am

    My personal theory for why our managers cannot figure out how to put a decent lineup together for this team?

    Putting a decent together for this team is impossible. Not enough decent players.

    BTW – thanks for the Vidro option update.

  56. Gomez on July 24th, 2008 8:44 am

    I find it hilarious that any of you are taking Riggleman’s word at face value.

    This team has nothing to play for other than the #1 draft pick in 2009, and you get by losing more games than anyone else. This team is fielding a lineup and rotation that’s pretty bad, with bad players in key roles.

    Connect the dots, and beware of what anyone managing the team says to the media. Riggleman knows he doesn’t have a job with this team after the season is over, and it’s likely his on-field marching orders have little to do with fielding the best team possible.

  57. Karen on July 24th, 2008 9:13 am

    I thought you guys might enjoy reading a couple of “pro” and “con” comments from two Yankee fans on Yankee beat writer Peter Abraham’s blog, regarding Washburn (con) and Vidro (pro…yes, I said pro!!!):

    ————————————

    RustyJohn
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:25 am
    They would have to be smoking crack if they decided to trade for Washburn.

    WASHBURN IS A LEFT HANDED RASNER ONLY YOU ARE PAYING HIM $10 MILLION A SEASON.

    Washburn WHIP- 1.48.
    Rasner WHIP- 1.5
    Washburn ERA+- 84
    Rasner ERA+- 85
    Washburn ERA- 4.75
    Rasner ERA- 4.83
    Washburn BAA- .297
    Rasner BAA- .298
    Washburn BB/9 IP- 2.62
    Rasner BB/9 IP- 2.68
    Washburn K/9IP- 5.32
    Rasner K/9IP- 5.85

    ————————————-

    Deryck
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:25 am
    I’m not sure Vidro can be categorized as a disaster. This year he has been awful, but his last five seasons have been pretty good.

    07 – .314/.381/.394
    06 – .289/.348/.395
    05 – .275/.339/.424
    04 – .294/.367/.454
    03 – .310/.397/.470

    I think he also offers something we haven’t read into it. Right now we have very few opportunities to spell Cano in the field and Vidro (two seasons ago) was an everyday 2B.

    Read into his slugging percentage as you may, it may be old age… it may not. Throw him in the bottom of some lineup and I have to believe he is going to offer a heck of a lot more than other DH possibilities. Add into the fact he is a Switch hitter and has about an equal BA from both sides of the plate and he offers quite a bit. Then consider he has just a 500k buyout and I think it becomes something worth doing.

    —————————–

    Peter Abraham says that the Yankee brain trust is meeting in Tampa today to decide what moves they still need to make before the no-waiver trade deadline in another week. They ARE a bit smarter than the M’s brain trust, but with Hank Steinbrenner making some of these baseball decisions, maybe they WILL take both Washburn and Vidro off the M’s hands for the paltry price of Kei Igawa and a B prospect who’s probably closer to being the washout Vidro is than a diamond in the rough.

  58. eponymous coward on July 24th, 2008 9:55 am

    This team has nothing to play for other than the #1 draft pick in 2009, and you get by losing more games than anyone else.

    I sure wouldn’t hang all MY organization’s hopes on getting a #1 draft pick in a particular year, even if Strasburg is the Second Coming of Jesus, and thus tanking any useful opportunity to improve my team before 2009, and if my GM told me this was what I was playing for, were I an owner, I’d be firing that GM so fast it would make their head spin.

    Teams like the Orioles and Pirates have been collecting high draft spots for a long, long time while still being bad. High draft position is NO guarantee of success, especially without an organizational framework for building those draft picks into finished products at the player and team level, and tanking games while giving a half-assed effort and collecting money is not a message you want to send your young players and minor leaguers- or your fans. So I don’t buy this is deliberate tanking- Armstrong remembers the 1980′s.

    I think Riggleman is playing the Vidros and Cairos because that’s what you do with the roster you’re handed, when you’re a traditional manager with a roster of “proven veterans”… and Pelekoudas hasn’t been given the A-OK to dump them for the Balentiens, for whatever reason, outside of a couple of limited cases (Sexson). Remember, this is still an organization full of ridiculous veteran entitlement, where players (Raul, Vidro, Batista, Silva) are allowed to play injured and suck. We shouldn’t expect that just because Bavasi and McLaren were fired that everything was fixed overnight. The organization is still largely using the same people to evaluate talent and plan rosters they were a few weeks ago.

  59. Gomez on July 24th, 2008 11:05 am

    I think that response is a lazy default to typical pessimistic derision, e_c, and while I’m sure some pessimistic derision is generally justified, I’m not so sure that the decision to play bad players in bad positions is as simple as, “The manager sincerely believes this is the best lineup he can field because he isn’t a smart person.”

    I wish people’s weren’t so lazy when thinking about this team. It makes the discussions tiresome when each one turns into the same song and dance of, Oh it’s because they’re so stupid. Then why even discuss it at all? How it that at all constructive?

    It’s pretty clear by any statistical measure or long-term observational criteria that the players in question are bad. These lineup decisions don’t even make sense for the dumbest of managers with the biggest bias towards veterans, and there is not a GM alive, interim, permanent or otherwise, this side of Ed Wade who would put up with a manager playing bad players this way is his goal was to win as many games as possible, when the recent extended results have repeatedly shown this way doesn’t work. There has to be a reason unrelated to fielding the most competitive team possible.

    Pessimistic derision is an easy, lazy answer. Think a little bit.

  60. Jeff Nye on July 24th, 2008 11:11 am

    While I won’t go so far as to call it “lazy”, Gomez hits the nail on the head; we all know this organization hasn’t historically done very smart things, but what’s the point in bringing that up again and again every time we talk about how the team might get better?

    It’s an easy trap to fall into (and don’t get me wrong, I’m as frustrated with this team as a lot of you are), but the first thing that has to happen before this team can improve is to get smarter, so could we maybe take that as a given from now on and talk about what could happen if they WERE smarter?

  61. Gomez on July 24th, 2008 11:41 am

    Lazy may be a strong term for what it is, sure.

    And pardon the typos. I do proofread these comments some before I post them, but yikes. I counted three in that last comment.

  62. fermorules on July 24th, 2008 12:39 pm

    People, do you think it’s coincidence Riggleman wound up in the M’s organization?

    Water seeks its own level, so to speak. That is to say, Riggs was blessed to have a brain that’s in synch with Mariners’ thinking.

  63. gwangung on July 24th, 2008 2:07 pm

    Water seeks its own level, so to speak. That is to say, Riggs was blessed to have a brain that’s in synch with Mariners’ thinking.

    That’s been pretty obvious to me…

    It’s an easy trap to fall into (and don’t get me wrong, I’m as frustrated with this team as a lot of you are), but the first thing that has to happen before this team can improve is to get smarter, so could we maybe take that as a given from now on and talk about what could happen if they WERE smarter?

    …which makes it hard for me to speculate presuming if they WERE smarter. This just doesn’t seem like a competent sports organization (and they’re not firing on all cylinders on top of that).

  64. Jeff Nye on July 24th, 2008 2:21 pm

    gwangung, don’t get me wrong; I understand exactly why people feel that way.

    I guess I just don’t think there’s much in the way of productive conversation that can be had if you’re starting from the assumption that the organization is dumb and will never stop being dumb.

    If the solution to this offseason ends up being to throw a ton of money at Mark Teixeira (which I’m personally terrified of), I’ll gnash my teeth along with everyone else; but until then, I’d rather put on my rose-colored glasses and imagine what a smart(er) org could do to turn the team around.

  65. argh on July 24th, 2008 5:02 pm

    Apparently it’s just me but the headline on this article at the Mariners’ site is really the frosting on the cake:

    Riggleman makes due with rotation

    Perhaps the young intern was yearning deeply for ‘doodoo’ and just had to settle.

  66. JH on July 25th, 2008 12:31 am

    56. I really, really don’t think the Mariners are proactively playing for the worst record in the league to get the top draft pick. Organizations just don’t think that way. Even teams like the Rays who have acknowledged in recent years that it’s not their time by avoiding spending money to try to scratch their way towards mediocrity don’t go out and actively bat inferior hitters to pad loss totals.

    The Mariners are an especially unlikely team to employ this strategy. A losing record effects immediate ticket sales far more than a potential #1 panning out and becoming an ace in the next 4 years will. The Mariners aren’t going to purposefully undercut their revenue stream for the next few seasons for a better chance at landing a great college pitcher. No way.

  67. Gomez on July 25th, 2008 8:31 am

    Are you absolutely certain, JH? The team has the worst record in the AL, and there’s virtually no hope of climbing from where they are. There wasn’t any hope a month or two ago and there isn’t now, nor will there be the rest of the season.

    How are ticket sales already not negatively impacted, and just how much extra marginal damage can be done to said ticket sales from just fielding a far-from-optimal team to improve your chances at the #1 pick (while obviously insisting to the media that you’re trying to win)?

    It’s not as infeasible or foolish as you state it is. With some PR/media subtlety, it’s actually pretty easy to pull off.

  68. JH on July 26th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Yes, I’m pretty damn certain that the amateur scouting department has no say on how the manager sets his lineups.

  69. JH on July 26th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Yes, I’m pretty damn certain that the amateur scouting department has no say in how the manager sets his lineups, and that the manager isn’t fielding teams with the express intent of losing.

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