A slightly different note

August 28, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 60 Comments 

Attempting to be ridiculously specific since there’s always people complaining about the poll question or options or trying to invent their own poll or what the heck ever and it’s really really annoying, even though I know this will do nothing to prevent it:

The Overlooked Organizational Issue

August 28, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 62 Comments 

As has been covered, well, everywhere, the Mariners have a few problems. They’ll be hiring a new GM and a new manager this winter, and we’re hopeful that they’ll recognize the need for a new direction and new philosophies in how the team is run.

However, just hiring a new GM isn’t going to just miraculously turn this team around. He’s going to have to do more than just make good trades and free agent signings, because this team needs to do a better job of developing talent from within. This isn’t a scouting problem – the M’s are one of the best teams in baseball in acquiring amateur talent through the draft and international free agency. They’re constantly bringing talent into the fold, including some guys with star potential.

However, once the kids get into the system, there are some problems. Here’s one of the glaring ones.

Carlos Triunfel: 6.3% BB%
Gregory Halman: 6.2% BB%
Matt Tuiasasopo: 9.8% BB%
Michael Saunders: 8.6% BB%
Adam Moore: 8.4% BB%
Rob Johnson: 8.4% BB%
Matt Mangini: 5.3% BB%
Daniel Carroll: 6.0% BB%
Alex Liddi: 9.1% BB%
Denny Almonte: 7.7% BB%
Jharmidy DeJesus: 7.4% BB%

That is, basically, a list of the draft picks or significant bonus international signings over the last few years, or guys who are considered real prospects by the organization. And, of course, their walk rate is listed next to their name. The A’s used to have a policy that they wouldn’t promote a prospect from one minor league level to the next unless he had a walk rate of at least 10% – none of these guys meet the mark.

Yes, Clement walks, and so does Dennis Raben, but both of those guys learned how to take the base on balls in college – they already had a set philosophy of how to hit by the time they got into the organization. Of the guys the M’s are trying to turn from teenagers into major leaguers, they just don’t develop anyone with any real patience at the plate.

This is obvious at the major league level as well. Obviously Lopez and Betancourt are hackity-hack-hack-hacks. Balentien is still a free swinger, even despite a lot of improvement the last few years. Adam Jones learned how to swing at everything before going to Baltimore. Even the big league guys the team has gone after have a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, from Beltre, Johjima, Guillen, and even Ichiro – the M’s love guys who swing a lot, and that’s what they’re developing.

This has to change, and just hiring a new GM and hoping that fixes the issue isn’t going to work. Whoever takes over is going to have to have the freedom to make sweeping changes in how the organization coaches its young talent and the things that they’re stressing in player development. It simply isn’t good enough to be developing a bunch of clones who have to hit .300 to succeed since they never learned how to make a pitcher work the count.

Out of curiosity…

August 27, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 90 Comments 

AFL rosters out, M’s sending some dudes for additional sun

August 27, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 5 Comments 

John D pointed out that Baseball America has published the AFL rosters with commentary. M’s headed out are:
RHP Gabriel Hernandez
LHP Justin Thomas
RHP Joe Woerman
C-R Adam Moore
OF-R Greg Halman

Game 133, Twins at Mariners

August 27, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 36 Comments 

A rare 1:40pm start!

Perkins v Feierabend.

The ’09 Pitching Staff

August 27, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 41 Comments 

For all that is wrong with this team, I wonder if people have realized that M’s have a pretty good pitching staff in place for next year.

A rotation of Felix, Bedard, Silva, Morrow, and Rowland-Smith is solid. Yes, there are question marks surrounding Bedard’s health, Silva’s talent, and how Morrow and Rowland-Smith convert from the bullpen, but there’s risks with any pitching staff, and there’s actual upside to that rotation. Rowland-Smith fills the Washburn role as the back-end flyball lefty who pitches well in Safeco, while Silva should regress back toward his mean (he’s not this bad) and be just mediocre instead of awful, while Morrow joins Bedard and Felix as the guys who miss a lot of bats and get outs by themselves.

The bullpen could use another good lefty, but Putz/Green/Lowe/Corcoran/Dickey gives the team lots of right-handed options. Bring in a guy like Jeremy Affeldt and all of the sudden you’ve got a contention-worthy bullpen.

When was the last time a team lost 100 games and still went into the following season with a complete pitching staff that didn’t need an overhaul to contend? Realistically, if the M’s are going to improve their roster this winter (and that’s TBD, of course, depending on the GM), they just need to overhaul the position players. The pitching staff isn’t a big problem, and for once, we can look forward to a winter where we’re not throwing ridiculous money at back-end starting pitchers.

Comment of the day

August 26, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 50 Comments 

Joser, in the game thread:

I’m getting tired of this race to the bottom/Strasburg sweepstakes shit. Cheering against your team is — purely in my opinion — sucky behavior even if it results in a long-term benefit. But it goes beyond that.

1. The Nationals are a way worse team (hard as that is to believe) and they have a much harder schedule over the remaining weeks. The M’s are not going to catch them at the bottom.
2. Even with first pick, the Nationals might not bust slot to pick Strasburg
3. Even if the M’s have first pick, or the Nat’s do but pass on Strasburg, the M’s may not bust slot to pick him either.
4. Even if the M’s do end up with Strasburg, he may never see the majors (Ryan Christianson ring a bell?) or he may end up not being anything special (Jeff Austin? Tim Stauffer?) or he might blow up his arm (too many to list).

All of this means that talking about Strasburg all the time makes you sound like the guy who insists he’s going to move to California where Angelina Jolie will divorce Brad Pitt and marry him. Yeah, it’s possible but it’s unlikely, and even if it happens it’s still getting annoying to listen to. I realize there’s essentially no reason left to watch the team except the pure love of baseball, but tedious and repetitive is tedious and repetitive, no matter how likely (or not). You’re being worse than a bad fan. You’re being boring. Don’t be boring.


August 26, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 14 Comments 

RRS: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Game 132, Twins at Mariners

August 26, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 72 Comments 

Baker v RRS. 7:10. Here’s hoping Ryan tosses another fine game and the M’s can string some wins together. That’d be sweet.

RF-L Ichiro!
CF-L Reed
3B-R Beltre
LF-L Ibanez
DH-R Lopez
C-L Clement
SS-R Betancourt
1B-L LaHair
2B-L Hulett

Morrow to start next week versus Yankees

August 26, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 20 Comments 


Once rosters expand, it is on. I would love to see a Joba v Morrow matchup just for the “here’s a couple guys who’ll be facing off in the 2012 ALCS” angle.

Hilarious quote from that article:

”He’s a great late-inning reliever,” one AL scout said this week. ”Why would you risk that to make him a starter? I don’t see it.”

You don’t, really?

Of the top, say, thirty pitchers in terms of value contributed to their teams last year, how many were starters? I count thirty.

But maybe this AL scout has a point. Babe Ruth was a pretty decent pitcher. I still don’t understand why they converted him to a full-time position player.

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