I’m Thankful For…

November 27, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 27 Comments 

My beautiful wife.

A ridiculously awesome partner in the blog. Derek’s work both in writing and behind the scenes is what makes this place as much fun as it is.

The best blogosphere of any team out there. From Conor’s writing here, to Jeff, Matthew, and Graham at Lookout Landing, Churchill at ProspectInsider, Yencich at Mariner Minors, Baker at the Times, and all the rest of you guys who contribute all over the place, there’s no better community of fans on the internet.

Larry Stone.

Hope for the franchise for the first time in I don’t know how long. The acceptance of new ideas from an organization not known for forward thinking. A front office committed to winning. A baseball team headed in the right direction.

My family, who might be 3,000 miles away, but are still a big part of my life.


FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, and InsideTheBook – three sites run by people dedicated to advancing the understanding of baseball and sacrificing personal profit and gain to make it happen. Studes, Appelman, and Tango are pillars in the baseball community.

Albert Pujols – watching him hit is just more fun than anyone should be allowed to have.

MLB.tv – yes, the quality is questionable, their blackouts are stupid, and they have a quesitonable taste in repetitive advertisements, but being able to watch the Mariners as often as I want from North Carolina? That’s a great invention.

$1.76 a gallon gas.

My stunning wife.

How Things Have Changed

November 25, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 48 Comments 

If there was one consistent theme in all of Bill Bavasi’s decision making, it was reliance on track record. He acquired players who had a track record and trusted that they’d eventually just play to the level of their past history. He hired managers who had track records of winning, and they hired coaches who had track records of winning. If you came to any of the USSM events we had with Bavasi, you heard him use the words track record quite a bit.

Well, if rumors are true, Don Wakamatsu’s bench coach is going to be the guy who was in charge of the A’s hitting last year, and his pitching coach is going to be the guy who was second in command for the Rangers pitching.

The A’s had the worst offense in baseball last year. We’re hiring their hitting coach.
The Rangers had the worst run prevention in baseball last year. We’re hiring their bullpen coach.

We really have no idea how these hires will work out, but one thing is for certain – the Mariners certainly aren’t hiring because of track record anymore. And that, in and of itself, is progress.

Results based analysis is outdated. Welcome to the 21st century, Seattle Mariners.

M’s in on Tazawa bidding

November 24, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 34 Comments 

If you were hoping the M’s might shore up the rotation by signing Junichi Tazawa, check this out. MLB.com:

Hideaki Okubo, manager of the Nippon Oil team that Tazawa pitches for, said the Braves, Red Sox and Mariners are also involved. Okubo said the Rangers have made the largest offer to Tazawa.

Those crazy M’s. Are they hell-bent on exacerbating the clubhouse split between Japanese players and everyone else? After all their terrible experiences last year, and of everyone they have the best knowledge of what actually occurred, it makes no sense that they’d actively go into a rebuilding year signing — wait, wait, wait. What if the M’s know as much about this as anyone and thought the whole thing was overblown and not worth missing out on a good player over?


Good And Bad News

November 24, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 23 Comments 

From Stone.

First the good:

Stottlemyre, 67, served the 2008 season as Mariners’ pitching coach after a 10-year stint with the Yankees. He said he heard over the weekend from Wakamatsu, who told him he had decided to bring in a new pitching coach.

“I had a desire to come back, but at the same time, I let them know that a new manager should be able to bring in his own coaching staff,” Stottlemyre said on Monday.


It is not immediately known who will be the new pitching coach. However, it is not expected to be former A’s and Mets coach Rick Peterson, who had been a rumored candidate.


Ty Van Burkleo, who was the A’s hitting coach last year, is expected to join the staff in some capacity. I’d imagine we’ll find out about the rest of Wakamatsu’s staff this week.

Off-season fun

November 24, 2008 · Filed Under General baseball · 24 Comments 

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” —Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby didn’t have a computer.

Now, I’m not saying this is going to be a dull or uneventful winter, but if you find yourself pining for some baseball this off season, here are a few computer-related remedies…

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Donate to the USSM Dave scholarship

November 21, 2008 · Filed Under Site information · 64 Comments 

Dave lost out in the internet polling for the $10k fund, which obviously I regard as a pretty huge injustice in the world. If that org wants to award based on clicks though, it’s their money. Still, Dave ran up over 11,500 votes before the last day, when his candidacy got any attention for non-baseball reasons, and I’ve been asked here, elsewhere, and via email, to try and set something up for direct college donations.

I think this is a great idea: Dave is newly married, awesome, the money will make a huge difference, and I have every faith that he’ll do good works with his economics degree, here and elsewhere.

So, I give you the 2008 USSM Scholarship Fund. All contributions go to Dave except what Paypal skims. I’ll match the first $500 myself.

If you want to give Dave some cash directly, email us and we’ll work something out. Contributions are not tax-deductible because I have no idea how to arrange that on short notice.

Updated: hey, it’s a pledgie badge! I have no idea if or how this works, but check it out.

Click here to lend your support to: The USS Mariner Dave Scholarship and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Two things to note: this doesn’t count my $500, which you managed to match in apx ten seconds (brief digression: when that happened, I stared at the monitor with a huge grin of surprise on my face for a good half-minute). And it doesn’t count the not-in-Pledgie donations.

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Potential “Rule 5 Kids”

November 21, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 15 Comments 

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster to protect them from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft that will take place on Dec. 7 at the Winter Meetings. We mentioned earlier who the Mariners added, but here are some players that other teams left exposed that could warrant a selection. Like the amateur (Rule 4) draft in June, the Mariners will have the second selection for the Rule 5. Confused by all of this? Here’s a Rule 5 primer.

Edited (twice) to remove players that aren’t actually available…

The “Too Good To Be True” Group was, in fact, too good to be true. J at Mariners Minors is the man.

Legitimate Prospects

Donald Veal — LHP — Cubs

The Cubs drafted Veal out of Pima (Ariz.) Community College in the second round of the 2005 draft. With an above-average fastball and a good curve, Veal breezed through his first four levels and ranked as BA’s No. 2 prospect after the 2006 season. In 2007, the Cubs sent Veal to Double A Tennessee, where he struggled for the first time as a professional, slipping to sixth on the Cubs’ prospect list last winter. He repeated the level this year as a 23-year-old, but actually took a little step back. On the bright side, he struck out 123 batters over 145.1 innings, but on the other hand he also walked 81. The walks are a real concern, but there’s enough to like that a team will certainly take a chance on his upside.

Jordan Brown — 1B — Indians

Brown was a fourth-round selection out of the University of Arizona in 2005. He destroyed Double A pitching last year, hitting .333/.421/.484 over 483 at-bats for the Akron Aeros, earning the No. 7 position on BA’s Indians prospect list. This year, Brown was assigned to Triple A Buffalo and his numbers, while not horrible, came back down to Earth a bit. Over 420 at-bats, the stocky lefty hit .281/.337/.417. More of a gap hitter, he had 30 doubles and seven home runs on the season. Brown was playing winter ball in the Dominican before a foot injury ended his season.


Not that the Mariners are in any real need, but there are a few interesting catchers available…

James Skelton — C — Tigers

Listed at just 165 pounds, Skelton is small for a catcher. It’s surprising that the Tigers left him exposed, especially when you consider the numbers he put up and the other catchers in their system. At 22-years-old, Skelton reached Double A this year and over his career, he’s a .292/.416/.400 hitter. That’s going to draw some interest.

Bobby Wilson — C — Angels

This is a weird one. Anyone know what happened to this guy? He hit well this year and even got a cup of coffee, but now he’s no longer on the Angels’ roster and I can’t find a transaction to explain what happened to him. He hit .312/.381/.435 last year in Salt Lake, so if he is indeed available, he could certainly be a useful backup.

Bench Players and Bullpen Arms

Brad Coon — OF — Angels

Coon is a left-handed hitter that put up a .306/.406/.380 line this season over 337 at-bats in Salt Lake and the numbers aren’t too far off of his career percentages. He can play center field and has 147 stolen bases over his minor-league career, making him an ideal fourth outfielder.

Jeremy Slayden — OF — Phillies

Slayden was the Phillies’ eight-round pick in 2005 out of Georgia Tech. While he’s always been old for his level, he’s been consistently impressive, posting a career line of .294/.377/.480

Bubba Bell — OF — Red Sox

Bell is another fourth-outfielder type. He’s already 25 and has only gotten to Double A, but his .309/.388/.497 career line is impressive.

Eduardo Morlan — RHP — Rays

Morlan was one of the six players exchanged in the Delmon Young for Matt Garza swap last winter. He has a big-time fastball and slider and it’s surprising he wasn’t protected. His strikeout rate wasn’t jaw-dropping like it had been in the lower levels, but he struck out nearly a batter an inning as a 22-year-old in Double A. Every team could find a spot in their bullpen for an arm like Morlan’s.

Other players that could draw some interest include: Brad Kilby, Kala Ka’aihue, Chuck Lofgren, Oneli Perez & Kevin Whelan.

Random internet analysis

November 20, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 22 Comments 

Using the Genderanalyzer

Things I would be surprised to hear a new manager say

November 20, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 20 Comments 

“I liked the old approach, and don’t think I’ll be changing it.”
“We’re not going to work on fundamentals this spring — we’re good enough at that kind of thing.”
“We’re going to be less aggressive on the basepaths.”
“There will be no real competition for jobs unless there’s a major injury.”
“This is a bad club with no chance at contention.”
“I want to lose coming out of the gate and establish a losing atmosphere that can carry us all season.”
“I’m going to try to divide the team into warring camps I can play against each other.”

Goodbye Eric O’Flaherty

November 20, 2008 · Filed Under Mariners · 14 Comments 

Today the Mariners added Greg Halman, Stephen Kahn, Gaby Hernandez and Marwin Vega to their 40-man roster, which now has 37 players. Luis Munoz and Tracy Thorpe were outrighted to the minors and Eric O’Flaherty was claimed on waivers by the Braves.

Here’s a link to the official release. I’ve got a Rule 5 post on the way later tonight.

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