M’s Panic, Do Stupid Thing

May 31, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 84 Comments 

The Mariners decided to shake up the roster after a third straight one run loss, which could have been a good thing. Instead, they decided to scapegoat Kanekoa Texeira, making the ridiculous decision to designate him for assignment, ending his career as a Mariner. More wisely, they also DFA’d Jesus Colome, using the roster spots to recall Sean White and Garrett Olson.

The M’s obsession with Sean White continues to baffle the mind. Make no mistake – Sean White is a horrible pitcher, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. He’s thrown 112 innings in the major leagues, posting an xFIP of 5.33. Replacement level for a reliever is about 4.50. White doesn’t do anything well. Despite the reputation as a sinkerball guy, he doesn’t get that many ground balls (career rate of 49 percent, 44 percent this year, league average is about 44 percent), he doesn’t strike anyone out (career 3.94 K/9, which is atrocious), and he doesn’t throw strikes (career 3.70 BB/9). He does not possess a single major league skill. He’s Triple-A fodder, the kind of mediocre middle reliever that every team in the PCL has several of. Put simply, he sucks.

You know who doesn’t suck? Kanekoa Texeira, who is better at absolutely everything than Sean White. His fastball has more movement, his breaking ball is a legitimate outpitch, and he’s shown the ability to actually get hitters from both sides of the plate out. Yes, the sample size is ridiculously small (18 2/3 innings in the majors), but even with his recent struggles, his 4.32 xFIP is a run better than White’s mark, because he actually has pitched pretty well at times. He has present value and future value – two things Sean White does not currently have, nor will he ever have.

I’d call this rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but by getting rid of Texeira, it’s more like tossing one of the life preservers over board. He’s a legitimate major league reliever, and one of the few guys in the bullpen who could get lefties out. Yes, he had a couple of bad outings, but dumping him is just dumb. You know who is still here, though? Matt Tuiasosopo, he of the .383 OPS. And now we have his equally crappy relief twin back on the team. This is all just so stupid.

Meanwhile, the problems with the roster are no more fixed than they were before this pseudo purge. This is just as useless as firing Alan Cockrell, but with more downside, as the Mariners actually got rid of part of the solution.

Remember that front office of last year that did everything right? I want that one back. This one isn’t much fun. This team could be good, but the front office is finding new and creative ways to screw it up. Chalk up another bad decision in a trend that is getting really annoying.

Game 50, Twins at Mariners

May 31, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 111 Comments 

Liriano vs Fister, 7:10 pm.

The Mariners got a bit of a break when they rolled into Anaheim and got to face both Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders, the two worst starters on the Angels roster. They couldn’t take advantage, however, and now have to try to get back on the winning path against a much better southpaw. Among starters with at least 50 innings so far this year, Liriano is fourth in the AL in xFIP, behind only Ricky Romero, James Shields, and Jon Lester. He may not be all the way back to his 2006 form, but this version is plenty good enough, and the M’s will be lucky to put a couple of runs on the board against him.

So, Doug Fister is going to have to be brilliant again, but this time he does so against one of the league’s better line-ups. Even without Orlando Hudson in the line-up, Fister’s still going to have to figure out how to keep Span, Mauer, Morneau, and Thome off the bases, no easy feat for a right-hander who relies on his fastball a lot. As much as the M’s could really use a win to lift their spirits after the last few days, they have to be a really big underdog tonight.

Ichiro, RF
Figgins, 2B
Gutierrez, CF
Bradley, LF
Is He Still On Fire Even Though He’s One For His Last Ten?, DH
Lopez, 3B
Josh Wilson, SS
Johnson, C
Tuiasosopo, 1B

Comments Back On

May 30, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 68 Comments 

I’ve re-enabled comments for now. If we have too many more instances like this weekend, I may just have to consider permanently disabling them. I know its a nice outlet for you guys to have your voices heard, but there are some comments that just should not be given a platform (such as the racist stupidity of Saturday’s game thread), and it’s a lot of work to keep up with the site 24/7 to keep the site free of that kind of drivel. Put simply, the reward has to be worth the effort, and that is on you guys to make the comments a place where conversation can flourish and serve as a place of insight and civility. Please do better.

That goes for you too, Mariners. Please do better.

Comments Off

May 29, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on Comments Off 

It’s a holiday weekend and we’re not going to be around as much the next few days, and since a few morons decided to act like three year olds in the game thread today, I’ve turned comments off for a few days. Sorry. Blame the idiots.

Game 48, Mariners at Angels

May 29, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 290 Comments 

Hernandez vs Weaver, 1:05 pm.

Happy Felix Day.

The M’s have flip-flopped Felix and Snell in order to keep Felix on a more regular schedule. It doesn’t hurt that it also gives them a chance to win this game, where a Snell-Weaver match-up would have you penciling a loss in before the game started. As always, the key to beating Jered Weaver is to hit the ball over the fence – home runs are his big flaw, and if you can get around on one of his high four-seam fastballs, he can be beat. If you don’t put one or two over the wall, though, he’s probably going to shut you down.

The obsession with Tui continues, as he starts at first base even against a right-hander. If you’re going to start him this weekend, why not last night against a lefty? And if you don’t want to play Kotchman at first base today, how about Langerhans, who hasn’t played in a couple of weeks? Oh, right, Tui did well in spring training, and we’re still slaves to March performance.

Ichiro, RF
Figgins, 2B
Gutierrez, CF
Bradley, DH
Lopez, 3B
Tuiasosopo, 1B
Josh Wilson, SS
Johnson, C
Saunders, LF

Game 47, Mariners at Angels

May 28, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 146 Comments 

Lee vs Kazmir, 7:05 pm.

Baseball is always talking about rule changes that could make the game more appealing to fans, or at least not last as long. In general, most casual fans apparently think baseball games drag on too long and are too boring, neither of which I agree with, but I can at least see where they’re coming from. So, Major League Baseball, you want to make the game more appealing to people? I have a suggestion – ban Scott Kazmir from the game.

Seriously, as much as I’m looking forward to watching Cliff Lee pitch tonight, I’m equally disgusted by the thought of having to sit through a Kazmir start. He’s the ultimate mix of bad pitching, bad command, and painfully slow between pitches. The average time of game started by Scott Kazmir this year is just under 16 days – okay, not really, but it feels like it.

No matter how many runs the Mariners score tonight, we’re all losers, because we’re going to be subjected to the ridiculousness that is Scott Kazmir on the mound. God help us all.

Franklin Gutierrez Appreciation Thread

May 28, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 36 Comments 

Because a picture says a thousand words:

Wins Above Replacement, Center Fielders, 2008 to 2010:

A Few Quick Links

May 28, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 5 Comments 

I have a couple of posts nearly done, but nothing ready to go, and didn’t want to leave you guys without some content this morning, so let’s just turn on the link machine.

First off, here’s the audio of my interview with Chris Egan and Brock Huard from yesterday.

More audio at MyNorthwest.com

If you aren’t tired of listening to me talk, I also was a guest on the Bloomberg Sports podcast – the conversation is a mix of Mariners stuff and FanGraphs stuff, but if you can’t get enough fast talking, there you go.

Speaking of FanGraphs, R.J. Anderson stole some of my thunder on a post I’ve been working on, refuting the idea that the M’s pitching and defense formula can’t work. The Padres are doing just fine with exactly the same plan as the M’s – minimal offense but fantastic run prevention. Despite the M’s struggles so far, do not make the mistake of believing that a team has to have some big thumping bats in order to win. If Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, and Casey Kotchman were hitting at their expected levels, we’d be staring at a wildly different record.

Rainiers game thread 5/27…maybe

May 27, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 5 Comments 

Another off-day for the M’s, another chance to check in with the Tacoma Rainiers down the road.
If you’ve tuned in to 850am (for out of area folks, you can listen on line here), you’re aware that they’re completing the suspended game from yesterday (it just ended 2-1, OKC). You may also be aware that it’s pouring.

IF the regularly scheduled game takes place, it’ll feature Luke French for Tacoma versus Doug Mathis for Oklahoma City.

Rangers prospect Tanner Scheppers started the first game today, which began in the 5th. He went three innings, gave up no hits/runs and struck out 7. Last year, Neftali Feliz made a big splash with the Rangers after a mid-year promotion. Sadly for M’s fans, Scheppers could do the same this year. Given his health problems, he’s not a bankable #1 going forward, but the righty hit 98 today and showed a nasty slider. He’s good, and if his arm stays healthy (a huge if), he can impact the divisional race in August/September.

Edited to add photos of Scheppers from tonight below….
Tanner Scheppers
Tanner Scheppers 2

Weekly ESPN Radio Hit

May 27, 2010 · Filed Under Mariners · 15 Comments 

Mike Salk’s on vacation, but Chris Egan of King5 is filling in for him, so I’ll still be doing my weekly 12:30 radio spot on ESPN 710. You can listen live here or simply turn the radio dial.

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