Going South

Mike Snow · March 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

One of the rites of spring in some circles seems to be the riot over who will break camp in the 24th and 25th roster spots. All too often one factor or another, be it minor league options, veteran presence, pinch-running, grit, or bullpen handedness, figures a little more prominently than we’d like and leads to a suboptimal decision. And yes, Clement being sent down, while it increasingly appears that Sweeney has beat out Shelton, contributes to a brief spurt of depressing news. It’s not the end of the world.

The Billy Beane notion of breaking the season into thirds for roster-construction purposes gets cited often enough to be a tad cliche, but the Opening Day roster is not carved in stone. Here are some players who have graced it in years past:
Kevin Jarvis
Brad Wilkerson
Guillermo Quiroz
Joe Borchard
Charlton Jimerson
Matt Lawton
Roberto Petagine
Anthony Sanders

These are varying degrees of mistakes and guys who weren’t necessarily bad ideas but didn’t work out. If you’ve forgotten them, it’s partly because they weren’t around long enough to do as much damage as the Everetts and Vidros of the world. Once the games start, there’s still time to fine-tune things and let people play themselves into or out of their roles. Part of that process is that some players will always end up with a few more times at bat or on the mound than they should, and others a few less. In the big picture, it may make a difference of a run here or there at most, the front office will still have the same challenge of balancing small sample size performances against projections and scouting, but at least it’ll be small sample sizes that counted for something.


12 Responses to “Going South”

  1. wabbles on March 30th, 2009 9:49 pm

    I see your point but I don’t entirely agree. The reason is that about May or June of some of the years we sucked (such as 1998 and 2004 and last year), we tossed 3 or 4 players overboard. Every time I felt like we were making roster moves that should have been made in February or March. Now if it’s the 25th guy, maybe it’s not a big deal. But it’s real easy to end up with 3 or 4 or 5 players that pretty obviously never should have come north. By then, of course, the season is a lost cause.

  2. kyoko on March 30th, 2009 11:38 pm

    I forgot about Petagine – brings back the memories of watching him play for Yakult in Japan beofre he signed with Yomiuri and I couldn’t like him anymore. He hit a pinch hit homer in his first Ms at bat and got released soon after because we had Everett so we didn’t need him.

  3. DaveValleDrinkNight on March 30th, 2009 11:47 pm

    I was watching the game on FSN tonight where we clinched the AL West in 97. It has been twelve years but still, I’m looking at the names on the back of those Jerseys and can’t for the life of me remember some of those guys. It’s even worse because I watched those Games when they were being played 12 years ago, I feel like I’m having a “Senior Moment” at 31.

    Point being, end of the bench/bullpen guys generaly wash out of the League before you can pronounce they’re names correctly.

  4. UpOrDownMsFan on March 31st, 2009 2:49 am

    Did you feel that? That cold breeze blowing through? There’s a trade coming– so sit tight on those 24th/25th man debates…

  5. Tek Jansen on March 31st, 2009 5:43 am

    Kyoko, you are not the only one who forgot about Petagine. Grover forgot about him after he was placed on the 25 roster.

  6. Paul B on March 31st, 2009 6:39 am

    It’s not just the bottom of the roster. If the organization is bad, it can be several of the starters as well. Take last April, for example, here’s the starting lineup for the first game one year ago:

    Ibanez (free agent for 2 draft picks)
    Sexson (out of baseball)
    Wilkerson (on a minor league contract somewhere)
    Vidro (out of baseball)
    Johjima (signed to a toxis contract)
    Betancourt (fighting for starting job)

    Bloomquist (free agent)
    Jimerson (? is he in the minors somewhere?)
    Burke (fighting for bench job, probably start in minors)
    Cairo (out of baseball)

    Pretty damning evidence, as if we needed any.

  7. Paul B on March 31st, 2009 7:20 am

    Toxic, not toxis.

    Stupid typo.

  8. Mike Snow on March 31st, 2009 7:54 am

    Actually, Cairo is with the Phillies and Wilkerson is with the Red Sox. Last I heard both might well make their respective rosters, at least to begin with.

  9. Mariner Melee on March 31st, 2009 10:38 am

    Pretty sure Bloomquist is with the Royals.

  10. Paul B on March 31st, 2009 11:26 am

    Yes, Bloomquist is with the Royals, he was signed as a free agent. In my post, I stated free agent because he left the M’s as a free agent, and the M’s didn’t get any draft picks (unlike Ibanez).

    Wilkerson was on a minor league contract, and he may make the roster to start the season (and I suppose Cairo may as well) but they weren’t guaranteed a major league contract and I’m sure neither of them will be an everyday regular player on their new teams, even if they make the roster.

  11. ThundaPC on March 31st, 2009 12:04 pm

    I think Cairo may have made the Phillies roster but I know Brad Wilkerson was recently informed that he won’t make the Red Sox team. He left to “ponder his next move.”

  12. ppl on March 31st, 2009 4:36 pm

    One of the things that I am most optimistic about with this team right now is that whoever the 25 guys are that break camp with this club, is that they will all actually be put to use. In the past we would hear a lot of talk about the “Bats on the bench” being able to contribute so much, then we hardly ever saw them, like Petagine for example. We also had situations like Thorton out of options being dealt for Borchard, then Borchard being waived shortly thereafter. Time after time our opening day bench meant very little and the several guys who weren’t good enough for this club to keep, became valuable pieces elsewhere. I know in the AL the designated hitter makes it difficult to use all the bats on the bench. Despite his shortcomings in other areas Lou almost always used all 25 guys (too much sometimes with certain guys everyone can recall) but we have not seen that type of management since. I hope the fact that most of the bench are platoon situations, and Cedeno is your Cairo/Bloomquist type guy that does get used, that we see Wak be more like “Mauch” then the last few managers. He needs to use his whole roster and well.

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