The Roster Now

Dave · February 19, 2009 at 7:22 am · Filed Under Mariners 

With Junior in the fold, the roster comes into a bit more focus. Let’s take a look at what we should expect now.

Catchers: Johjima, Clement
Infield: Branyan, Lopez, Betancourt, Beltre, Cedeno, Shelton, Corona
Outfield: Chavez, Gutierrez, Ichiro, Balentien, Griffey

That’s assuming they go with 14 position players and 11 pitchers. If they go 13/12, then Corona probably goes away. Shelton could turn into Morse or Sweeney, but you can bet on one of those three making the roster as a RH platoon 1B/DH type. Carrying three catchers goes out the window now, as you won’t be seeing Clement or Johjima getting many at-bats at DH with Griffey around.

So, what about the line-ups? Wakamatsu sounds like he’s a fan of platoons, so don’t expect the team to run out the same line-up against RHP and LHPs, and with this roster, there’s lots of opportunities for doing that with this roster. Here’s my best guess, as of now.

Vs RHP

1. Ichiro, RF
2. Gutierrez, CF
3. Griffey, DH
4. Beltre, 3B
5. Branyan, 1B
6. Lopez, 2B
7. Clement, C
8. Betancourt, SS
9. Chavez, LF

Pinch Hitter for Branyan: Shelton
Pinch Hitter for Chavez: Balentien
Pinch Runner: Corona
Defense Subs: Johjima and Cedeno

Vs LHP

1. Ichiro, RF
2. Gutierrez, CF
3. Lopez, 2B
4. Beltre, 3B
5. Shelton, 1B
6. Johjima, C
7. Balentien, DH
8. Betancourt, SS
9. Chavez, LF

Pinch Hitter for Shelton: Branyan
Pinch Hitter for Balentien: Clement
Pinch Hitter for Chavez: Griffey
Pinch Runner: Corona
Defensive Sub: Cedeno

Despite the doom and gloom about the lack of power, those line-ups aren’t that bad. The vs LHP line-up, especially, might not be full of sexy names, but you run out seven straight right-handed bats, and you can drive even good LHPs batty.

If Wakamatsu can manage to get everyone to go along with the job sharing, limits Griffey to DH vs RHP, goes with a regular outfield of Chavez/Gutierrez/Ichiro, and Clement can handle most of the catching duties, then this group of position players are probably league average overall. This is what we should be rooting for, at least – there are other, worse potential permutations of the roster that would involve Griffey in the outfield, but so far, Wakamatsu and his staff have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Comments

66 Responses to “The Roster Now”

  1. robbbbbb on February 19th, 2009 7:42 am

    League-average offense with this team, and this defense, and you can start thinking about a team that scores more runs than it allows. That’s a pretty nifty notion, and a huge step up over last year’s team.

  2. Dave on February 19th, 2009 7:45 am

    I don’t think the offense will be league average. I think the position players will be league average, which would be offense+defense.

    But, yea, if you get league average production from this group, then you’re just a breakout season from Felix and a healthy Bedard away from contending for a playoff spot.

    This team isn’t nearly as bad as people think.

  3. bermanator on February 19th, 2009 7:46 am

    Endy Chavez hasn’t been a full-time regular since 2004, and it looks like he was viewed by the Mets as a fourth OF and a late-inning defensive sub when everyone was healthy.

    I like that Seattle is giving him a fresh start, and I agree that the three centerfielder strategy is probably the best chance the team has, but given that perception I’ll be curious to see what happens to him if the team struggles to score runs in April … there will be a natural temptation for Wakamatsu to decide that with Ichiro and Gutierrez so great in the OF, he can get away with Griffey or Wlad in that third spot to get both of their bats in there.

  4. Adam S on February 19th, 2009 7:49 am

    Is this a “what DMZ would do” post or what you expect the Mariners to do? Is Griffey really our best hitter against LHP — probably is and while it’s nice to see Griffey in the 3-hole again that says a lot about our offense.

    Wow, in all the excitement over Chavez in LF for defense, I hadn’t realized what a poor hitter he is. If I read this correctly, when a LHP starts and the team brings in a RHP in late innings, we’ll wind up with Griffey in LF?!? Hope Cedeno is taking a lot of fly balls in spring training.

    For long term development, how bad is having Balentin and Clement reduced to 650 AB total? Any chance Balentin will be productive playing once or twice a week?

  5. Adam S on February 19th, 2009 7:57 am

    …with Ichiro and Gutierrez so great in the OF, he can get away with Griffey or Wlad in that third spot to get both of their bats in there
    Except that given the existing platoon, there’s not really a bat to add. Griffey vs. LHP or Balentien vs. RHP isn’t that much better than Chavez.

  6. ndevale on February 19th, 2009 8:00 am

    I have been wondering over the past two months or so why so many of the roster posts were phrased as either an upgrade at DH or in LF and not both. Cost considerations aside, now that Griffey is (we hope) the DH vs. RHP, wouldn´t an upgrade in LF also bring the Mariners closer to playoff contention? If the team is in fact not as bad as many think, isn’t this the point where marginal utility comes into play?

  7. Dave on February 19th, 2009 8:03 am

    there will be a natural temptation for Wakamatsu to decide that with Ichiro and Gutierrez so great in the OF, he can get away with Griffey or Wlad in that third spot to get both of their bats in there.

    Actually, my read so far is that Wakamatsu is even more into outfield defense than Zduriencik. When Griffey met with Wakamatsu and Zduriencik on Sunday night, Wakamatsu made sure that Griffey was okay with DH’ing frequently. My gut feeling is that Wakamatsu is a big proponent of the Three CF plan.

    Is this a “what DMZ would do” post or what you expect the Mariners to do?

    DMZ had nothing to do with this post.

    Wow, in all the excitement over Chavez in LF for defense, I hadn’t realized what a poor hitter he is.

    He’s projected for a .304 wOBA. That’s not that bad for an elite defensive player.

    If I read this correctly, when a LHP starts and the team brings in a RHP in late innings, we’ll wind up with Griffey in LF?!?

    The assumption is that Griffey will only PH for Chavez in high leverage, late game situations where the value added by the upgrade in offense outweighs the downgrade in defense for an inning or two.

    For long term development, how bad is having Balentin and Clement reduced to 650 AB total? Any chance Balentin will be productive playing once or twice a week?

    Your assumptions of playing time are incorrect. In a scenario where Clement is the regular catcher vs RHP, he’s in line for ~500 PA. As the DH vs LHP and PH for Chavez vs RHP, Balentien’s in line for ~250 PA. It won’t harm their development.

  8. giuseppe on February 19th, 2009 8:03 am

    How does Zduriencik saying Griffey will see some time in LF and Griffey’s incentivized contract figure into this?

    I want to root for Griffey without reserve, but I’m secretly hoping he wanders slowly like Ibanez in the outfield while in Peoria and somehow gets his sweet, sweet swing and bat speed back.

  9. Dave on February 19th, 2009 8:04 am

    Cost considerations aside, now that Griffey is (we hope) the DH vs. RHP, wouldn´t an upgrade in LF also bring the Mariners closer to playoff contention?

    Yep – Nick Swisher still makes an awful lot of sense for this team.

  10. lailaihei on February 19th, 2009 8:11 am

    If the team isn’t near contention (due to awful luck like the A’s had last year or otherwise), hopefully this shiny new defense can inflate Bedard’s ERA to something that other teams will covet. Although I’m afraid he would still return an even lesser package than what the A’s got for Harden, so maybe I’m not so wild about that after all.

  11. Breadbaker on February 19th, 2009 8:14 am

    Does Corona play the outfield, a la Bloomquist? If you get the sequence “Griffey pinch hit for Chavez, gets aboard, pinch run by Corona, Corona to LF” than the closer going out there with “don’t hit it to left, don’t hit it to left” in his head.

  12. ensoniq on February 19th, 2009 8:18 am

    Now, please Z, go get Swisher and/or Nick Johnson for LF and 1B.

  13. ManifestDestiny on February 19th, 2009 8:21 am

    Man, I was going to criticize putting Guttierrez second in the lineup instead of Lopez, but looking at fangraphs they’re practically the same player. In fact, in looking at the OBP by age graph, Guttierrez, Lopez and Betancourt are almost exactly the same, OBP-wise, at age 26.

    This team isn’t gonna get on base much :(

  14. Indigo_Satellite on February 19th, 2009 8:34 am

    There’s going to be a mountain of pressure put on by the average Mariner fan/Seattle media, to play Jr. every day or there abouts. I hope against hope that Wakamatsu can fight against it, and just stick to him against RHP.

  15. JakeSuds on February 19th, 2009 8:34 am

    It’s great to see so many people excited for Mariners baseball, especially in February. I had my reservations about bringing the Kid back, but if he leads us to the postseason, we’ll have to start calling him ‘The Man’. I’m encouraged that Z was satisfied will his bill of health and can’t wait to see how his durability is affected by DHing consistently. The eternal optimist in me is overjoyed and the inner skeptic can’t wait for the season to start, either.

  16. dgarnett on February 19th, 2009 8:34 am

    Thanks for the post Dave, I’m curious how you see these two lineups playing into a total runs scored vs. allowed scenario given a typical breakdown of the handedness of pitchers we’ll likely face over the season.

    Are you still predicting around a 78 win team?

  17. terry on February 19th, 2009 8:40 am

    I think we’re looking at a team that will be fun to watch and a group of guys making the decisions that should give us plenty of things to positively comment about.

    Even if ’09 is just a .500 year, it’ll be such a breath of fresh air.

    Swisher and Johnson are probably unrealistic hopes both from an availability stand point (Washington says Johnson is their first baseman if he’s healthy) and a payroll stand point. But it is fun to imagine that the Ms might be just the acquisition of one or two buy low candidates from making noise.

    One gets the sense that this thing can be done.

  18. Thievery on February 19th, 2009 8:44 am

    Swisher would certainly fit in left field, but with Branyan and Junior as the left-handed side of 1B and DH, does this mean that Nick Johnson wouldn’t have a home with the updated roster?

  19. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 8:44 am

    Terry-

    I thought the plan was for Dunn to 1B in Washington…

    And I said last week the team we had without Griff was sneaky good in the AL West…now, and especially if we can bring in a player like Johnson or Swisher, we really can push the Angels…who have the oldest and slowest outfield ever…they’re an injury or two away from being bad…

  20. jeffs98119 on February 19th, 2009 8:55 am

    Is Victor Diaz still M’s property? He killed PCL pitching last year for Tacoma (.280/.362/.546) and has a big league career SLG of .487 with 24 home runs in 446 at bats. Why wasn’t he called up last year? Any chance he’ll be in the mix this year, maybe as a DH platoon with Jr.?

  21. bermanator on February 19th, 2009 8:56 am

    Washington says Johnson is their first baseman if he’s healthy

    Washington (specifically Bowden and Kasten) says a lot of things, and not many are true. At the very least, they will be listening to offers because the Nats have about 10 players who will be looking for PT in the OF and at 1B.

  22. joser on February 19th, 2009 9:03 am

    So since we know Griffey is going to insist on playing in the outfield every so often, is Wakamatsu (and the FO people advising him) astute enough to only allow it on days when the M’s have a groundballer pitching (ie Felix or Silva) and they’re facing a RHP? This would be an interesting thing to watch for. Somewhat less important but still kind of interesting: will he really be willing to sub in Clement at DH, knowing if Joh gets hurt he loses the DH? Since Wakamatsu’s coaching philosophy is a bit of a cipher, I guess we look to clues like this to see what we have. I’m certainly glad to hear he’s a fan of platoons, because that’s the only way you’re going to maximize the value in this roster.

    I certainly hope Clement gets his at-bats. Last year the breakdown of of LH vs RH starters in the AL West was roughly 40/60 (it’s still too early to count for this year); will the team that gave Johjima that inexplicable contract be willing to watch him sit all but a game or two a week?

  23. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 9:13 am

    I’m a huge fan of platoons, especially on a team like this…from what everyone has said so far, it looks like they understand defense and platoons, so unlike in previous years, we will probably be pleased with the line-up cards…

    Dave, does this mean LaHair is gone with all the 1B/DH types we have now? They have to DFA someone today right?

    I’m hoping a healthy Sweeney platoons with Russ at 1B…Morse should be traded and Shelton should start at AAA…

  24. sass on February 19th, 2009 9:14 am

    Sorry, just said something that was totally wrong.

  25. CMC_Stags on February 19th, 2009 9:15 am
    Cost considerations aside, now that Griffey is (we hope) the DH vs. RHP, wouldn´t an upgrade in LF also bring the Mariners closer to playoff contention?

    Yep – Nick Swisher still makes an awful lot of sense for this team.

    I would still love to see some kind of Wlad + Washburn/relievers/Rob Johnson for Swisher deal if that would work.

    Now, please Z, go get Swisher and/or Nick Johnson for LF and 1B.

    Does trying to acquire Nick Johnson still make sense for these M’s? If he plays 1B, then what does Branyan do versus RH starters? Play #B/LF and DH? Then what would Griffey do?

    As much as I love Griffey, I had been hoping to get Nick Johnson instead. It would seem that now that Griffey is in the fold, that there is no place to play Nick Johnson without taking away PT from Branyan/Clement/Griffey. While he’s a better hitter than all of them and would be your everyday starting 1B if healthy, I would think a Swisher sized upgrade in LF would be more valuable to the team at this point than a Nick Johnson sized one at 1B.

    Maybe Griffey will help bring in enough revenue that Jack Z will be able to be a buyer mid-season when struggling teams start dumping contracts. If Washington is struggling, maybe they’d be willing to drop Johnson for nothing more than salary relief.

  26. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 9:17 am

    Seeing Griffey and number 24 on the official 40-Man roster gave me goose-bumps…

  27. coasty141 on February 19th, 2009 9:18 am

    Dave your post assumes Clement can handle 75% (or so) of the catching. Has he developed enough to warrant that much time behind the plate? Is this just a guess that they are going to stick him out there and see what happens?

    What do you do if Clement is auwful behind the plate? Or if he needs to take every other day off to rest his knees but is still available to hit?

  28. sass on February 19th, 2009 9:20 am

    I just want to say that I am very happy seeing a roster construction post again! I can’t wait for the comprehensive one that always precedes the regular season! Also, may I request “what I believe about the upcoming season” again?

  29. rsrobinson on February 19th, 2009 9:21 am

    But, yea, if you get league average production from this group, then you’re just a breakout season from Felix and a healthy Bedard away from contending for a playoff spot.

    Brandon Morrow is another guy I think has the potential to have a breakout season. If that happened it would give the M’s a pretty formidable 1-2-3 punch in the starting rotation. I know that’s a little like hoping to draw an inside straight, but a guy can dream can’t he?

  30. joser on February 19th, 2009 9:24 am

    There’s going to be a mountain of pressure put on by the average Mariner fan/Seattle media, to play Jr. every day or there abouts. I hope against hope that Wakamatsu can fight against it, and just stick to him against RHP.

    Worse, there’s going to be a mountain of pressure to let him play in the outfield every day from fans hoping to see replays of the highlight-reel catches they remember from their youth. Which would be awful for them when he doesn’t, and awful for the team when those balls drop for extra bases (though perhaps no worse than Raul). Of course that also increases the chances he gets hurt, which would be bad for everybody (unless the team really was playing him in the field every day and batting him against lefties, in which case it would be a mercy).

    This is the kind of thing where the team has to manage expectations very carefully. On the one hand, if this is the script and they stick to it, and — most importantly — get Griffey to really buy into it so he doesn’t complain about it in interviews and the fans believe it’s his idea to preserve his health so he can be a force in the postseason (hey, we’re talking spin here) then there shouldn’t be too much backlash. On the other hand, if they go around admitting he’s essentially a part-time player, they lose some potential ticket sales from the people who are only going to see Griffey and don’t want to be disappointed. (Maybe they can peddle it as a kind of lottery — “Buy a 5 game pack and if you don’t see Griffey at bat in at least two games, we’ll give you another ticket free!” No? Don’t think that will send the right message?)

    But here’s the killer: we don’t (yet) know the details of the contract, but most accounts I’ve heard have used the term “incentive-laden.” We know the range of incentives teams are allowed to use is limited, and one of the most common is actually playing time, ie ABs or games started or whatever. No matter how rational this platooning scheme is, no matter how shrewd Wakamatsu is about handling the clubhouse while employing it, no matter how well the team manages fan expectations, how happy will Griffey be if the result is that he sits so much there’s no way he can reach some of those incentives? Does he understand his own limitations, and is he willing to be a good soldier for the sake of the greater good, even if it means picking his pocket? Or will he go over the heads of Wakamatsu and the FO and complain to fans?

    What happens if the team employs this strategy to perfection, ends up in a pennant chase in August, and Griffey starts agitating in interviews to get more playing time so he can better “help” the team? I mean some Griffey is good, so more Griffey must be better, right? You’re going to be hearing that on KJR no matter what, but it will reach a crescendo every time he sits against a lefty while the team is in contention.

  31. terry on February 19th, 2009 9:31 am

    Even if both players were available, each makes over $5M this season suggesting it would take some really creative thinking to make room for either player given what has recently been said about the Ms payroll. No way both come. There is no reason for the Yanks to eat money on Swisher and the Nats aren’t going to eat money on Johnson.

    I’d love for the Ms to get both. Watching a healthy Johnson hit is just fun. Swisher is a prime buy low guy that would be under team control thru 2011.

    I’m just suggesting it would be very impressive if the Ms figured out a way to get either let alone both. Neither is likely IMHO.

  32. diderot on February 19th, 2009 9:39 am

    When Griffey met with Wakamatsu and Zduriencik on Sunday night, Wakamatsu made sure that Griffey was okay with DH’ing frequently.

    I’ve tried to stay up-to-date on this, but missed this report. Was there any context for the word ‘frequently’ in that statement? Any chance that ‘frequently’ to Wakamatsu means 95% of the time, and to Griffey 10% of the time?

    I certainly hope Clement gets his at-bats.

    Amen to that, Joser. Griffey defenders seem to think this is no big deal, and in fact, some comments on this site have written Clement off already. Granted, he’s never going to be the young Griffey or A-Rod, but he could be Alvin Davis or Buhner. (Yes, Alvin had a great age 24 rookie year before falling back for a couple seasons, and Buhner didn’t prove anything until he was 27). I would prefer we not see that development from Clement in a Yankee uniform.

    The assumption is that Griffey will only PH for Chavez in high leverage, late game situations

    Is there a manager in baseball who wouldn’t bring in a lefty to face Griffey in that situation?

  33. Marinerfan4life on February 19th, 2009 9:41 am

    I am excited about this team. Their starting rotation with a healthy Bedard and Silva losing 35lbs could be very good. The bullpen also has a ton of potential. The defense is going to be a strong point for the first time since 2003. If the offense can just put up enough runs, the M’s could surprise some folks!

  34. Lantern on February 19th, 2009 9:44 am

    Can anybody else think of a team that had their #3 and #5 hitters for rightys sitting out entirely against leftys? Platooning is almost a bad word in most dugouts. Don’t underestimate the “traditons” and “respect” aspect to baseball BS.

  35. diderot on February 19th, 2009 9:49 am

    No matter how rational this platooning scheme is, no matter how shrewd Wakamatsu is about handling the clubhouse while employing it, no matter how well the team manages fan expectations, how happy will Griffey be if the result is that he sits so much there’s no way he can reach some of those incentives?

    Well, this couldn’t possibly be a problem, because Griffey was never about the money. We know this because he told us so.

    For the more cynical, let’s file this under being careful what you wish for. This is the scenario I referred to last night talking about Griffey’s possible negative impact in the clubhouse.

  36. joser on February 19th, 2009 9:54 am

    Maybe Griffey will help bring in enough revenue that Jack Z will be able to be a buyer mid-season when struggling teams start dumping contracts.

    I went over this in an earlier thread. Just based on existing trends from past W-L records, the team was looking at 2M total spectators in the best case — good marketing, strong local economy, not tanking in the standings too early in the season. Now, Griffey does bring some buzz and certainly will help put some butts in seats early in the season. But you have to ask yourself if he is going to be able to single-handedly sail the good ship Mariner into the teeth of the economic gale and make any significant headway.

    We’ve been over this before, but at an average $25 ticket price he has to bring in a thousand extra fans every home game just to cover his ~$2M salary. (Yes, you can add concessions but — despite how it seems — your Ichirolls and beer aren’t close to 100% profit; and the money from all those “Griffey” M’s jerseys goes into the pool shared with the other teams, so it’s the gate itself that really matters). Is Griffey’s appeal among northwesterners still employed with disposable income enough to overcome everything else? Somehow I don’t think Starbucks or Washington Mutual will be taking any luxury suites this season. How many Mariners nights will Microsoft or Boeing have this year? The Japanese fans weren’t a huge factor but with the Yen down against the dollar and the Japanese economy sinking faster than the domestic one, you can write them off too. And so on. Frankly, in the face of all that, even with the addition of Griffey, I would think we should judge 2M paid attendance to be a success.

    Last year the Mariners were already spending more — a lot more — on payroll per spectator than any other team in baseball; even at their new ~$93M budget with 2M attendance they’ll be amongst the top two or three. On top of that, the dark lining in the silver cloud that is the June draft is the signing bonuses that will have to be paid to all those top picks. (There’s even been some suggestion that the M’s took Fields instead of going back for another draft pick in part because it would cost less — especially if Field’s bonus was money already alloted to last year’s budget). That may be where any “Griffey Dividend” is going.

    I wouldn’t completely discount the idea that with the team in contention in July and a fantastic trade opportunity presenting itself, ownership still might be willing to open their wallets to let Zduriencik exercise his brilliance. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it will be the Trade that Griffey Built.

  37. Tek Jansen on February 19th, 2009 10:01 am

    If the M’s go with only 11 pitchers, that means the competition for the six bullpen spots is going to be awfully intense.

  38. joser on February 19th, 2009 10:07 am

    Griffey defenders seem to think this is no big deal, and in fact, some comments on this site have written Clement off already. Granted, he’s never going to be the young Griffey or A-Rod, but he could be Alvin Davis or Buhner.

    I agree. In fact I think there’s a good chance Clement will have a breakout year, and I’d give better than even odds that Clement will end the season with more total bases and a higher OPS than Griffey.

  39. joser on February 19th, 2009 10:12 am

    If the M’s go with only 11 pitchers, that means the competition for the six bullpen spots is going to be awfully intense.

    “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals.”
    — Charles “Earl Weaver” Darwin

    “That which doesn’t get you cut from the roster makes you stronger.”
    – Friedrich “Casey Stengel” Nietzsche

  40. diderot on February 19th, 2009 10:23 am

    Dave,
    I understand the listing of Balentien as DH against left handers, but given Clement’s OPS of 1.062 against lefties last year at Tacoma, what percentage of DH ABs against them do you think he merits this year?

  41. joser on February 19th, 2009 10:31 am

    I can’t find splits, but Clement only had 173 total ABs in Tacoma last year so you’re looking at a pretty small sample size. Though I’d love to see it continue.

  42. TumwaterMike on February 19th, 2009 10:35 am

    does this mean LaHair is gone with all the 1B/DH types we have now?

    I agree. LaHair is now behind Branyan, Shelton, Sweeney and probably Morse and Carp on the depth chart.

  43. TumwaterMike on February 19th, 2009 10:38 am

    Welcome back #24

  44. diderot on February 19th, 2009 10:39 am

    Clement only had 173 total ABs in Tacoma last year

    Granted, small sample size–but a GOOD small sample size.
    I guess that was the heart of my question, though…with what we know, how often would it be logical to trot Clement out there as DH against lefties?
    Or, put another way, at this point in his career do we really want to just assume that he can’t hit lefties?

  45. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 10:51 am

    Jim Caple has a good story on Griff on ESPN.com…he summarizes a lot of what we are all feeling…

  46. joser on February 19th, 2009 10:53 am

    Or, put another way, at this point in his career do we really want to just assume that he can’t hit lefties?

    Yes, this a good way to phrase the question. That’s why coaches don’t like to stick kids in platoons until it’s obvious there’s no other choice. And it’s one of major reasons I was worried Clement would suffer if the team acquired Griffey (or really any “designated” DH). It can be somewhat mitigated by allowing Clement to play full games even when the opposing team goes to a LH reliever, and by letting him start against a LH starter on day games when Joh caught the preceding night game (if that comes up). But really you want him to see as much pitching — all kinds of MLB pitching — as possible. His history in the minors shows he struggles at first and then does well as he moves up a level, so we have reason to hope he’s now had his struggles and will have a good year at the plate in the bigs.

  47. diderot on February 19th, 2009 11:21 am

    so we have reason to hope he’s now had his struggles and will have a good year at the plate in the bigs.

    And that brings it back to Griffey…not as an individual, but as the player he represents–one dimensional, LH DH only, detriment in the field.
    On one hand, Swisher or Johnson are far more ‘expensive’ because they’re going to cost you bodies in return, not just dollars.
    But at least they have the option of helping (not hurting?) in the field, and thus not clogging up the DH situation.
    I believe Z when he says he believes his job is trying to make the team better every day. And it seems certain that Griffey in the lineup will bring more fans out in April, and it may be true that he will make the team marginally better for the moment (although scouts and fans in Chicago sure seem convinced he’s done), but keeping Clement away from ABs is not making the team better long term.

  48. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 11:43 am

    LaHair is quoted by Baker today that he’s excited to be on the same team as Griffey…

    Will he still feel that way when he’s told Griff is taking his roster spot?

    Ouch…

  49. bakomariner on February 19th, 2009 11:48 am

    Hulett was claimed by the Royals…Kansas City is quickly becomming Seatlle’s trash bin…

    Ho-Ram, WFB, Hulett, Olivo, Meche, Guillen…am I missing anyone?

  50. baseball2044 on February 19th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Dave,

    Has there been any more talk of Lopez doing some 1b work against RHP and getting Cedeno some more AB’s at 2B? It was being discussed awhile ago as a way of improving our infield defense if I remember correctly?

    Also, I would think the signing of Griffey almost eliminates Sweeney’s slim chances of making the club, unless he absolutely mashes the ball in Spring. Is that a fair assumption?

    Vs LHP

    1. Ichiro, RF
    2. Gutierrez, CF
    3. Lopez, 1B
    4. Beltre, 3B
    5. Johjima, C
    6. Balentien, DH
    7. Betancourt, SS
    8. Cedeno, 2B
    9. Chavez, LF

  51. joser on February 19th, 2009 12:33 pm

    Kansas City is quickly becomming Seatlle’s trash bin…

    Except they seem to only get the ones that slip past Gillick and the Phillies.

  52. Mike Snow on February 19th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Has there been any more talk of Lopez doing some 1b work against RHP

    No, and with good reason. His offense doesn’t hold up at first base.

  53. diderot on February 19th, 2009 1:08 pm

    His offense doesn’t hold up at first base.

    Man, and speaking of ‘holding up’. Did you see the video Baker posted of him running those 300 yard sprints yesterday? I know there was a lot of discussion about Yuni working his way into better shape over the winter…but if possible, it seems like Lopez may have actually regressed. Scary.

  54. Sam Rocket on February 19th, 2009 1:34 pm

    But Washburn cautioned about expecting too much from the 39-year-old Griffey.

    “I think you guys [in the media] have to be careful of saying he’s going to be the savior,” Washburn said. “I don’t think you can put too much on him and say, ‘Well [the Mariners] have Ken Griffey Jr., so all the problems are solved.’

    Man I hate this guy so much. What has Washburn done to even qualify to speak on behalf of this team?

  55. joser on February 19th, 2009 1:40 pm

    Except in this case Washburn is right (however unqualified he might be to speak on behalf of anyone). Though I’d say the media isn’t really leading the general public on this, unfortunately.

  56. msb on February 19th, 2009 2:06 pm

    Man I hate this guy so much. What has Washburn done to even qualify to speak on behalf of this team?

    be willing to answer questions?

  57. Catherwood on February 19th, 2009 2:47 pm

    Everyone seems sure that Griffey’s done in the OF, so does that mean we’re not giving any credence to his surgeon’s characterization of him being “back to 2007 form”?

    It always seemed to me that Ibanez was godawful in left, yes, because he was slow and had a pretty crummy arm, but mostly because he didn’t seem to know how to play the outfield — he took horrible lines on balls hit toward him, he constantly misread flies, and he got an awful jump on the ball. Surely Griffey, with a history of knowing how to play, will be better than that? How much will his possibly sub-par defensive play hurt us? Is there any way to know until we see how much his surgery has helped?

  58. don52656 on February 19th, 2009 2:54 pm

    Two reasons immediately spring to mind that might make the lineup more productive than expected:

    1. Griffey as a DH will almost certainly get more PA’s because of the reduced likelihood of injury. I would be surprised if Wakamatsu let’s Griffey play much OF for that reason.

    2. Remember Beltre’s last “pre-free agent” season? Between that and his wrist being (hopefully) fully healed, I’m optimistic that his production will increase, perhaps significantly.

  59. joser on February 19th, 2009 3:01 pm

    It’s not that we necessarily think he’s done in left, but there’s a good chance that regular play there will finish him. Given the other fielding options on the team, all of his value is found in his bat, so anything that might negate that by putting him in a cast on the bench is not a good thing.

    And you do realize he hasn’t been a positive contributer in the outfield for most of this century (and 2007 was no exception). Even healthy, he’s pushing 40 and carrying a lot of scar tissue. Reading balls off the bat and instinctively taking great lines counts for something, but it only takes you so far. It doesn’t make you faster, and it doesn’t protect you from the walls or turf.

  60. Sam Rocket on February 19th, 2009 3:15 pm

    Except in this case Washburn is right (however unqualified he might be to speak on behalf of anyone). Though I’d say the media isn’t really leading the general public on this, unfortunately

    I don’t think he is right because I don’t know anyone who is saying Griffey is going to be our “savior”. If anything everyone (including the media) is going out of their way to say they understand he isn’t 28 year old Griffey anymore. Everyone is just happy that he is back and someone in the sports world decided to return to Seattle.

    My issue with Washburn is that there is no reason for the comment. Everyone in the clubhouse is talking about what an icon Griffey is and how it will be nice to have someone like him in the clubhouse. Then you have this 7th spot starting pitcher bringing everyone down with his comments.

    One of the other players summed it up best- Griffey brings in fans and that extra excitement makes an atmosphere conducive to winning. I’m a Baseball by the Numbers guy all the way- but you do have to appreciate some of the intangible factors when dealing with human players.

    Washburn is not conducive to winning- within the clubhouse or by the numbers.

  61. Puffy on February 19th, 2009 8:30 pm

    Wow. That lineup looks like it will require a lot of praying this year.

  62. MI5 on February 21st, 2009 12:51 am

    Dave,
    Can’t disagree with your player selections, but how did you come up with their places in the batting order. I’ll admit I’m a novice in the world of Sabermetrics, but is there some logic behind why you picked who would hit where?

  63. henryv on February 21st, 2009 11:43 pm

    Not meaning to question you, oh mighty gods of the blogosphere, but what is the reason for putting Chris Shelton in over Mike Sweeney?

    Yes, I realize Sweeney is at the end of his shelf life, but Shelton doesn’t show anything against LHP. Career he is a .254 against LHP, with very little pop. Not a ton of at bats, but he is 28, an will turn 29 later this year. Sweeney, on the other hand, has posted .300+ numbers against LHP over the last two years.

    Shelton, on the other hand, has actually done MUCH better against RHP. And if you take away his April of 2006, the guy’s career numbers go from mediocre to fairly bad. Over 1/4 of his home runs have come in one month, in one year.

    I would rather have another veteran leader on a team that is going to lose a lot of games this year, than a guy who will be done at the age of 30. I mean, given the choice between a has-been and a probably never will be… Meh, give me the friendly one.

    Is Corona really fast enough, and good enough on the base paths to keep him on the roster, giving up a pitcher or Morse/Sweeney? I have to admit, I know nothing about the kid, and unless he’s got some real future on this team, I have no problem sending him back to the Yankees. Lets not make him another Sean White, sitting on the roster.

  64. henryv on February 21st, 2009 11:52 pm

    Additionally, I don’t want Corona on the roster cause his first name is Reegie. Really? Reegie? I mean, how many times are we going to mess that up?

    Additionally, looking at his minor league fielding stats. Apparently, he’s not capable of throwing the ball accurately more than 90 feet. At 2B, he’s a reasonably good .984, but at SS and 3B, apparently he can’t his the broad side of a barn (.937 and .889).

    But, to by honest, its mostly the spelling issue. :)

  65. DMZ on February 22nd, 2009 12:54 am

    You’re using… fielding percentage across positions as a relative measure of ability?

    Really? That’s not a particularly useful way to look at things.

  66. henryv on February 22nd, 2009 2:36 pm

    You’re using… fielding percentage across positions as a relative measure of ability?

    Really? That’s not a particularly useful way to look at things.

    No, I totally agree. To be honest, I was just looking for an excuse to not like him. However, given that availability of stats on him, defensively, I did the best I could. His range factors aren’t bad. But for a kid in AA to be put into a major league opening day 25 man, I’d hope to see something special.

    Looking over a few other things on him, his sb% is very nice, and he did have a good hitting year at AA Trenton, but has virtually no power. I’ve seen the 3 youtube videos on him, and there isn’t much there. Don’t get to see him see a pitch, and he appears to be a little slow out of the box. But that’s unfair because 2 of the hits are fly balls. However, on all 3, he stands and watch the ball before running. Meh, not significant, just a note.

    Switch hitting is an interesting asset.

    I mean, is there anyone who fills the role of late inning runner besides him?

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