Game 66, Giants at Mariners

marc w · June 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Jason Vargas vs. Ryan Vogelsong, 7:10pm

Ryan Vogelsong’s comeback story got plenty of attention thanks to an All-Star appearance and because he was on the team featured in Showtime’s “The Franchise” documentary. The short version: after debuting with the Giants in 2000, he went to the Pirates where he sucked repeatedly and relentlessly in both the rotation and the bullpen. After getting cut in 2006, he spent three decent years in Japan, and was considering Taiwan and Korea before getting a minor league shot in the Angels organization in 2010. He was, again, pretty bad. He moved to the Phillies AAA team, and was slightly worse. Then, he caught on with the Giants’ AAA affiliate in 2011 and pitched brilliantly, came up to the majors and made an improbable run at a Cy Young award (ok, ok, he only finished 11th).

It’s the sort of thing that we’d all talk about for years if it wasn’t the undrafted Brandon Beachy’s first full year in the majors…the guy with a K/9 of over 10 in 25 starts. Closer to home, the M’s Tom Wilhelmsen made the team out of spring training months after being a bartender. Obviously scouring for retired prospects, the M’s then had Steve Delabar make his MLB debut in the same year he began as a substitute teacher. Jerome Williams re-emerged from wherever he went. 2011 was insane, and while Vogelsong’s story’s remarkable, we’d make a bigger deal out of it if we weren’t so overwhelmed with “comeback” and “underdog” stories. I scan minor league box scores a lot, and I keep waiting to run into Jesse Foppert’s name.

Vogelsong uses a low-90s four-seamer, a two-seamer and a cutter along with a curve and change. Nothing looks remarkable watching him, and nothing looks remarkable via pitch-fx. He gets a surprisingly high number of swinging strikes with his fastball, and gets called strikes with both his curve and four-seamer. You’d think this would mean he’s got great command, but his walk rates sure don’t corroborate that.

Speaking of unremarkable-looking things, the M’s send Jason Vargas, to the mound. He’s got a nice RA and a career-best K:BB ratio, but like many M’s hurlers, he’s having problems with home runs this year. He’s given up 8 in his last 6 starts (38 1/3 IP), which is positively Beavanish. He’s pitched around them, and he hasn’t had disaster starts, but he’s giving up plenty of runs, and, well, the M’s aren’t likely to win a slugfest. This would be a nice time for one of Vargas’ shutouts, and the Giants come in with a .291 wOBA against lefties. But Vargas’ has little (if any) platoon splits thanks to his change-heavy repertoire, so I’m not worried that the Giants (who have quite a few switch-hitters) may run out an almost-entirely righty line-up.

Franklin Gutierrez has reclaimed the 2nd spot in the line-up as a slumping Dustin Ackley hits 7th:
1: Ichiro (RF)
2: Gutierrez (CF)
3: Seager (3B)
4: Montero (DH)
5: Saunders (LF)
6: Smoak (1B)
7: Ackley (2B)
8: Olivo (C)
9: Ryan (SS)
SP: Vargas

Comments

123 Responses to “Game 66, Giants at Mariners”

  1. casey on June 15th, 2012 5:08 pm

    also interesting Saunders up to 5th in line-up. Been their best hitter based on season numbers but his migration up through the order has been painfully slow.

  2. Jordan on June 15th, 2012 5:46 pm

    I thought the plan was to leave Olivo in the desert? Oh well, there’s always Arizona.

  3. Slats on June 15th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Guti up and Ackely down?!

  4. The_Waco_Kid on June 15th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Nice to see Saunders move up. Probably best for Ackley to move down. I’m a bit concerned about Ichiro. How long can we let him lead off hitting like this, and who would hit 1st and 2nd if we dropped him?

    Wells and Jaso are part-time players, so maybe that’d be weird. Saunders? Platoon Ichiro and Wells? For pure entertainment, let Olivo lead off?

  5. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 5:57 pm

    Wedge has been Jonesing for a RHB in the second spot all season, so no real surprise Guti would be there.

    If ever there was a team that could prove that batting order does not really matter, it is this team. They can be inept offensively in any order. I am seeking reverse Westy mojo with this statement.I forgot how effective it was at various times during the 2011 season.

  6. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 6:36 pm

    Reverse Westy mojo? I’m still getting credit for one called shot?

    /quickly throws together stock portfolio scam offering to sell to USSM regulars

    Given the talent we have on hand… I like this lineup, other than the usual glaring lack of Jaso despite the pitcher being a righty… but at least Wedge no longer sees fit to use Olivo to break up the relatively good hitters.

    Actually has anyone heard anything about Jaso being hurt? It seems like Wedge is using him even less than usual lately, and my mind still wants to believe there’s an actual reason for it.

    Here’s hoping for some Vogelsong ERA regression towards his xFIP! (boy does that sound nerdy)

  7. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 6:49 pm

    Yep, that’s nerdy.

    So, in other words, “let’s light up this weak-assed mediocre “thumber”

  8. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 6:53 pm

    Didn’t Jaso play last night? Don’t think he’s hurt. Wedge is just wacko.

  9. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 6:59 pm

    I want to see Olivo’s OBA go under .200.

  10. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 7:03 pm

    A lot of pressure on Gutierrez given that he’s likely to struggle with some timing issues after so long away from live MLB action. Should look at a lot of pitches and think middle and away.

  11. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 7:04 pm

    Come to think of it, the whole team could benefit with that approach

  12. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 7:13 pm

    Important for Vargas to be sharp tonight. Cannot give in to Cabrera, Posey, or Sandoval. Nibble, nibble.

  13. Slats on June 15th, 2012 7:25 pm

    Posey crushed that.

  14. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 7:26 pm

    Move the fences in!

  15. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 7:29 pm

    Great job by Vargas until that 3-2 change. Too much plate. Working the big boy pretty well, too, but he hit a good pitch the other way. So little room for error.

  16. Slats on June 15th, 2012 7:30 pm

    Lucky Ryan is quick!

  17. Slats on June 15th, 2012 7:35 pm

    Come on Olivo!

  18. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 7:35 pm

    I’d leave it as a passed ball because, Olivo.

  19. Slats on June 15th, 2012 7:39 pm

    Jesus!

  20. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 7:40 pm

    A lead off double????? What’s happened?

  21. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 7:40 pm

    oh, yay.

  22. Swungonandbelted on June 15th, 2012 7:41 pm

    They fixed it M’s style…

  23. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 7:41 pm

    That’s more like it….

  24. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 7:42 pm

    That was a horrible job by Montero. Kind of alarming, actually.

  25. Swungonandbelted on June 15th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Bad guys don’t seem to have a problem hitting here… That’s gotta be a strange feeling for the opposing teams… going into a city and knowing that the stadium is so much in the home teams heads that you have an advantage as the visitor…

  26. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 7:52 pm

    Saunders hit the ball so hard that Monty had no chance to score. There are a lot of players that would not score on a ball hit that hard, as a matter of fact. So, why was Monty running … And for the second time in the past 3 games?

    Is there a way for base running to be factored into wOBA or is it somehow factored into overall WAR? A caught stealing is a negative wOBA component, why not shit-stank baserunning, too?

  27. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 7:55 pm

    Huh.

  28. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 7:56 pm

    Who is the base running instructor for the M’s?

  29. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 7:56 pm

    You know, as bad as he is, I have never heard him complain about the size of the yard and nobody would ever refer to Him as a pussy … So, there is that.

  30. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 7:58 pm

    Hey Ryan has choked up a Couple inches on the bat. He has made an adjustment! Wow!!!!!

  31. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 7:59 pm

    Nice patience shown by Ichiro

    %%# !!!!!$!!

  32. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 8:00 pm

    The guy throws 4 straight balls and then the first pitch is swung at….drives me crazy.

  33. Paul B on June 15th, 2012 8:01 pm

    Guti swung at ball 4.

  34. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:04 pm

    Coach: look up wOBA at Fangraphs … And I think it will become more clear. Great stat. That and wRC+

    Linear weights for each measurement of offensive production and/or deduction for a caught stealing – and its all tied up into a nice tidy and very easy to understand bow.

  35. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 8:05 pm

    The base running thing is measured in your runs scored. That’s about it. Not only was Montero’s judgment horrible , but nothing he did was correct. He never looked at the center fielder. He’s got to literally turn his back to home plate and slide to his left watching the center fielder. Weird.

  36. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:08 pm

    Looks like the panda has filled out quite nicely in the past year. He seems to have found the weight he lost.

  37. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:11 pm

    Coach, no argument on that – but in the saber metric world of all actions having a corresponding run “value” that can be quantified …

    You will be glad you looked it up. Trust me. I was, and only a mere two years ago.

  38. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 8:13 pm

    Montero must have been such a profound hitter coming up, that his base running never got uncovered as an issue. He clearly has had very little instruction. Or else he’s gotten complacent with it. Good hitter, nice guy, bone-head on the bases. I will check Fangraphs.

  39. OffensivelyChallenged on June 15th, 2012 8:19 pm

    Make em pay Condor.

  40. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:19 pm

    I think his “speed” was enough of a deterrent so as nobody might have noticed. And, yeah … Bad base runner to boot. He is only 22, but he does have some Freshman tendencies. I assume you probably coached a freshman somewhere along the way of becoming “vetted”

  41. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:21 pm

    The baseball Gods owe Saunders a bloop hit next time up.

  42. The_Waco_Kid on June 15th, 2012 8:23 pm

    Go Wedge! Give ‘em hell!

  43. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:24 pm

    Not close enough to be “in the neighborhood”. The throw drew him off the base

    Bad call!

    When we get back from commercial, I have a feeling Wedge will have been “run”.

  44. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 8:24 pm

    Well, coming into this game thread late didn’t help at all!

    Already a 2 hitter shutout, and blown calls, nice :(

  45. The_Waco_Kid on June 15th, 2012 8:24 pm

    @mike: Seriously!

  46. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:26 pm

    I am going to have to recant. Close enough. Good job, ump.

  47. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 8:26 pm

    That’s not restricted to freshmen, Mike. Base running is ignored in a lot of amateur programs. Seager, on the other hand, comes from a great program, so his mistake boggles the mind. Something is going on. These guys need to bear down. And yes, Ichiro ‘s lack of patience with that change up is another perplexing issue. Wedge must be steaming inside.

  48. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:28 pm

    I don’t like it, but as Blowers said, it looked worse to the naked eye in real Time. Not a bad call at all as it turned out

  49. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 8:29 pm

    Yeah, ok, not as close as it looked in real time. I’ll give the umps that one.

  50. texasmarinerfan on June 15th, 2012 8:30 pm

    While that may be true for some programs, at my high school the worst thing you could do was make a base running mistake. If you did that you were benched for several games. I hated that rule, but we had almost zero base running mistakes. Maybe Wedge should implement that policy.

  51. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 8:32 pm

    I think Wedge gives off that “tough guy” image, but is really soft on the players. There’s no other explanation.

  52. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:34 pm

    Coaches are constantly reminding base runners of the situation. I know they do it in pro ball, too. Constantly! It’s hard to fathom the number of mistakes when they are made within 15 seconds of the latest reminder.

    I think Seager got caught in secondary lead-land and didn’t react fast enough. No excuse for Monty’s gaffe, though. On Either day occasion. Smoak hit into a DP, anyway – so Seagers mistake didn’t really cost anything. I guess that would be the most positive spin I could put on it.

  53. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:36 pm

    … And Smoak hitting into a DP with less than two outs is just as inevitable as hitting a 300′ pop up with two outs.

  54. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 8:36 pm

    All I know is that we have way too many baserunning mistakes…it is quite ridiculous. I know we have young guys and all but is sure seems to be a much too common of an occurrence….

  55. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 8:37 pm

    It IS nice to see Guti in CF again.

  56. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:40 pm

    Well, in high school and college, coaches were actually coaching. There is more of an “expectation” to perform in Pro ball, because if you don’t get it done, someone else will.

    However, I did not play past college, so I don’t know for certain. I only know what I have been told.

  57. deflep78 on June 15th, 2012 8:43 pm

    Seriously. Can we please just bring Nick Franklin up? Even as a youngster he cant be worse than Ryan. Also, Ackley, please start playing better. People will only kiss your ass for so long.

  58. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:46 pm

    Guti’s “luck” reminds me of how special Pete Rose and Cal Ripken Jr, were to take all the pounding they took.

    Ichiro too for that matter, but he isn’t really ever diving into or through anybody.

  59. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 8:49 pm

    Wow we suck. We need a whole team shake up at the AS break or something…these guys are cruising at the suckitude level.

  60. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:51 pm

    Wow, we suck!!!

    And, Seager just got “worked.”He is getting worked on both extremes of the plate,lately.

    Great command by Vogelsong so far. Take notes, Erasmo.

  61. darndy on June 15th, 2012 8:51 pm

    F*ck teal. Pardon my French

  62. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:53 pm

    WTF: wtf are you doing in my head? Steve already rented space there earlier this week.

    Thank you very much for making your next payment in advance.

  63. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 8:54 pm

    Nice to come home and find the M’s down 2-0 in the 6th (7th now). Maybe the team should hire a Shaman, to rid them of anything negative lingering?

  64. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 8:58 pm

    Up and in or low and away has worked for 150 years.

  65. Swungonandbelted on June 15th, 2012 8:59 pm

    Think that buffet table might be in danger of not staying upright tonight if the M’s get shut out again….

  66. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:01 pm

    Montero, Saunders, Smoak – all “worked”

    Rented mules.

  67. MissouriMariner on June 15th, 2012 9:02 pm

    I am tired of being shut out….

  68. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:03 pm

    There’s no time to coach base running once an MLB season has begun. And good base running requires the athlete to coach himself and think through a situation before it happens. In Seager’s case, you don’t even leave the bag with nobody out. You’re tagging automatically. So that’s on him, mentally. A third-base coach can’t correct Montero’s error during play. At this level, it has to be automatic. That’s why they’re pros. These are mental errors, not physical ones.

    Good high school programs cover this stuff. Many high school programs are unprepared, though. Whole different story than the guys who get the big bucks.

    There’s a definite problem with this team’s mental game offensively. It’s Wedge’s job to ferret it out and address it somehow.

  69. r-gordon-7 on June 15th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Buffet table? The way these guys are playing, they barely deserve a venidng machine. (Of course, we saw how well that worked in Moneyball…)

  70. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Sorry mike. It was scary, but I survived your inner mind!

  71. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:05 pm

    Being Msfanmike – is that the sequel to Being John Malkovich?

  72. Slats on June 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

    Ouch.

  73. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

    Yes, we definitely need to move those fences inward. No doubt about it. I am sold!

  74. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

    Yeah they need to bring the fences in. In any other park that’d be a home r… oh wait.

  75. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

    Move the fences……OUT!!

  76. nvn8vbryce on June 15th, 2012 9:09 pm

    Think that buffet table might be in danger of not staying upright tonight if the M’s get shut out again….

    The buffet of suckitude will have no problems staying upright…

  77. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:10 pm

    Hey Westy, I Malkoviched you!

  78. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:12 pm

    Hey, I suggested that a few days ago! It would allow for more triples and doubles, maybe even a few inside-the-park’ers

  79. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:14 pm

    That PB was sweet!

    Passes balls: two
    Runs scored: zero

    The fans seem to be getting a bit restless. Must be Giant fans. In case they arent:

    Boooooooooooo!

  80. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:14 pm

    Vargas has pitched well, but he’s done. Must be hard – having to be perfect inning after inning with no room for error. Someone needs to pick these guys up.

  81. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:16 pm

    Did you hear a lot of echoing while you were in there, Mike? Cuz right now I think it’s kind of empty.

  82. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:16 pm

    If the M’a can just make six quick outs, I might be able to get through two movies before going to bed. It’s going to be close, but I have faith they can get it done.

  83. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:20 pm

    Nice AB by Miggy!

  84. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:22 pm

    WHAT What what hat at t?

  85. Slats on June 15th, 2012 9:23 pm

    Grand slam!

  86. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:24 pm

    He’d been reading your comments, Mike… wanted to show you up on movie night!

  87. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:24 pm

    Casper! And now Mascot is in!

    Come on Ichiro…

  88. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:25 pm

    I hate to say it, but Ichiro has not looked very good for some time now.

  89. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:28 pm

    I thought that was a strike.

  90. The Nickster on June 15th, 2012 9:32 pm

    Well, two break on defense = 2 runs on outs. What an offensive powerhouse.

  91. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:33 pm

    First of all, no reason to run for Wells. He runs very well. So Jaso or Muni could have been used to pinch hit for Gutierrez.

    Second of all, how big are those two base running gaffes now?

  92. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:34 pm

    Passes balls: two
    Runs scored: two

    That settles it, we need at least two PB’s this inning, Miggy.

  93. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:38 pm

    Maybe Wedge’s mental game needs some work, too.

  94. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:39 pm

    I did not understand the Muni pinch running decision at all, either. Unless it was to get Muni warmed up to go out and play defense, it did not make a lot of sense. Wells has good speed. Wedge just burned an extra potential pinch hitter without having to. Then again, maybe he wanted to prevent everyone from having to see Muni hit until it was absolutely necessary.

  95. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:40 pm

    Really stupid fan there…

  96. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:41 pm

    And tomorrow – a guy who looks like he’s about 15, facing off against a guy who looks like he’s about 50.

  97. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:42 pm

    Does that fan get a night in jail for going after that foul ball? If yes, How hammered do you need to be to be willing to do that.

  98. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:43 pm

    No kidding, if you’re going to charge the field for a ball, let your own swing free & lose the clothes!

  99. WTF_Ms on June 15th, 2012 9:45 pm

    Frack…how many balls does Olivo have to miss before he’s gone?

  100. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:46 pm

    I am a little more worried – than normal – about you now, Steve.

    There are laws in this Country, pal. Where do you think you are, Brasil?

  101. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:50 pm

    Wedge doesn’t seem to think ahead – flies by the seat of his pants. I’d rather have Saunders in CF and Wells in left with a lefty getting a crack at that clutch AB in the 8th. Gutierrez just did not figure to get a hit.

    Montero just missed that pitch!

  102. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:53 pm

    Damn the laws… It’s about making the most of it, if you’re going to willingly get yourself into trouble! For the record, I’m not calling for a Carnaval.

  103. ninjasintheoutfield on June 15th, 2012 9:54 pm

    whow O_o this casilla dude is pure filth

  104. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 9:55 pm

    This team puts the “fun” into fungus.

    And it’s spreading.

  105. Westside guy on June 15th, 2012 9:56 pm

    Well, the Mariners struggled – but Coach is right. Those baserunning errors may have cost us dearly.

  106. OffensivelyChallenged on June 15th, 2012 9:56 pm

    This team is ass.

  107. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Insult to injury…. the trade pieces we have, are also struggling, so their value is declining as fast as this offense.

  108. vetted_coach on June 15th, 2012 9:58 pm

    Two base running errors are a huge story. Two guys in scoring position making high school mistakes. That’s just not acceptable at this level. Wedge needs to get a handle on all this.

  109. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 10:00 pm

    ^ funniest line of the night. You win.

    Movie timeI

  110. msfanmike on June 15th, 2012 10:07 pm

    Thia team is ass. I am still laughing. I must have needed it.

    If last years mid season trade and if the Smoak acquisition from 2010 – are representative samples of mid season trading expertise, it might be better to not trade anybody. The extra draft picks might carry more value. Trade chips going down in value might be a good thing

    Bizarro world!

    Seinfeld reference, and just in the nick of time.

  111. jephdood on June 15th, 2012 10:08 pm

    Once again, puke.

    Removing “Mariners” from my DVR. Not only are they not worth my time watching live (that ship sailed LONG ago), they’re no longer worth the hard drive space and battery juice to fast-forward through all the blunders, gaffes, and ineptitude to inevitably see the opposing team high-fiving on our infield.

    Wake me when this season is over.

  112. darndy on June 15th, 2012 11:31 pm

    Again…F*CK teal.

  113. stevemotivateir on June 15th, 2012 11:40 pm

    I’ve seen worse than a 4 game losing streak with a handful of runs scored. Keyword: streak. Remember what I was saying earlier, Mike? I just might be onto somethan.

  114. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 6:06 am

    Well, looking at the coverage from the local fishwrap, it seems that the stage is being set for Ichiro’s departure from Seattle after this season…

    A crowd of 29,818 saw Ichiro pop out with two on and one out in the third inning of a 1-0 game. He was then fortunate to get even one run home on a bases-loaded, none-out chopper to the mound in the eighth that was deflected and led to only one out instead of a double play.

    Ichiro’s batting average fell to .259 with a .286 on-base percentage.

    “We need more from him, it’s as simple as that,” Wedge said. “We need him to do more. He’s obviously our most veteran guy and when he has those opportunities to step up. You can’t always put it on the kids.”

    Pretty clear that the sportswriter was asking about him (and he’s made his opinion known about Ichiro for a long time), and Wedge was happy to oblige.

    Truth be told, I almost think it would be for the best. Ichiro should get the sendoff to his fantastic career in Japan like Johjima has, and all the haters can figure out that Ichiro’s not the problem with this franchise.

  115. MrZDevotee on June 16th, 2012 6:28 am

    Postive news mention:

    Mariner’s 1st round pick Mike Zunino wins the “College Player of the Year” award.

    He is the honorary “Z” in my “MrZDevotee” for the day. Good looking ballplayer as I’ve looked more into his playing. Hardworking, down-in-the-dirt kind of player. Probably a big league catcher within 2 years.

  116. vetted_coach on June 16th, 2012 7:47 am

    Eponymous: it’s too easy to write off criticism of Ichiro as “…haters…”. For cryin out loud, the guy has fallen off his game, and the slide has been pretty extreme. He produces virtually nothing at a position that is key. If signing him for another two years prevents a guy like Wells from having an opportunity to make an impact, then it is bad for the team. Not only are his numbers down, but he consistently shows an annoying tendency for lack of aggression. Pushing the ball the other way instead of opening up with men in scoring position late in games, hesitancy to steal a base, bunting with runners at third and less than two outs. What? Politics aside, his stellar career has apparently ended. The past is irrelevant when assessing the variables for the future of the club.

  117. vetted_coach on June 16th, 2012 7:54 am

    Ergo…he should be dramatically moved in the batting order, from lead off to seventh or eighth, perhaps even ninth. There are a number of benefits. More potential at the bottom, for one. And as a lead off hitter, he is hurting the team. IMO

  118. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 7:58 am

    He produces virtually nothing at a position that is key.

    He’s actually fine if you use metrics like WAR. Defense matters.

    If signing him for another two years prevents a guy like Wells from having an opportunity to make an impact, then it is bad for the team.

    Wells has next to zero chance to be much more than a decent player- which is about what Ichiro is right now.

    That being said, this team doesn’t need to be handing out $20 million to 39 year old OFers in their decline phase. The problem is that this organization is short good OFers (and yes, Ichiro is one of the few that they have). Letting him walk isn’t going to improve the team. They are basically hamstrung by several of GMZ’s trades (Smoak, Wells) turning out to be not particularly effective at solving any problems, the minor league system not producing a very good OFer (Saunders is OK, but just OK), and tight salary making free agency a non-option.

    The past is irrelevant when assessing the variables for the future of the club.

    I agree, and that’s why I said that I think it will all be best if he ends up in Japan.

    If you look at the payroll figures here:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SEA/2012-roster.shtml

    You’ll see that 2013′s projected to be at ~$70 million when it’s all said and done. Assuming the M’s don’t actually CUT from their ~$80 million payroll in 2012 (which I could see them doing if this goes on- we’ve gone way into the toliet on attendance/game, and being crappy like this isn’t going to help), that leaves you with 10 million for FA signings, including Ichiro. I have a feeling offering Ichiro a $5 million dollar one year salary isn’t going to make a lot of sense for either party.

  119. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 8:12 am

    My guess is Ichiro goes to Japan for his swan song and plays a year or two there effectively, and the M’s in 2013… well… an OF of Guti/Wells/Carp/Saunders/whatever gets dredged up from the minors isn’t going to be an answer, especially since Smoak isn’t really the answer at 1B.

    Realistically, the answer is looking more and more like “push the reset button on the franchise, try to turn Felix into a megahaul of talent and use the young arms coming up from the minors to replace him”. We’re barely beating out Cleveland in attendance anyways, so who cares if you basically tell the fan base “we’re punting until 2015″?

  120. MrZDevotee on June 16th, 2012 8:48 am

    I really don’t think it’s quite to “Push the reset button” time…

    Longterm, we’re 2 OF (alongside Saunders & Guty) and a SS (post Ryan) from a pretty decent team.

    C Montero/Jaso
    1B Smoak/Montero
    2B Ackley
    3B Seager
    SS ______
    LF Saunders/_____
    CF Guty/Saunders
    RF ______

    Or, if the right opportunity presents itself this offseason, perhaps a 3B instead of one of those outfielders, and Ackley moves to the outfield, Seager to 2B… We have options and fewer needs than the past few years. It’s not slap-you-in-the-face progress, sure, but definitely a foundation.

    If we stick to our “the past doesn’t mean a thing” theory, well then the M’s inability to sign decent outfielders has no play on the fact that it’s the easiest position to fill (albeit the “prototypical” RF masher/megaarm isn’t as easy, but with Seager/Saunders/Ackley filling the Ichiro-esque aspects of the team, just about any decent RF with some pop will be an offensive upgrade).

    It’s an ugly team at the moment, because we’re a cast of support characters (and/or youth) without the few key elements. But a veteran DH, LF and RF somewhere in the .280-.290 area, with .750-ish OPS and we’re a playoff contender. And yes, that’s not easy to just make happen, but it’s not like we’re still lightyears away from contention.

    As some GM likes to say “it’s a process… we have a plan and we’re sticking to it.” And Jack has consistently said the way to build a team is to grow it yourself and then add a few key, high end elements via trades/free agency.

    That’s where we’re at heading into next year.

    No punting, please.

  121. eponymous coward on June 16th, 2012 9:41 am

    “But a veteran DH, LF and RF somewhere in the .280-.290 area, with .750-ish OPS and we’re a playoff contender. ”

    Where’s the money to do this in 2013 going to come from at the M’s current salary levels?

    To put this another way: the M’s in 2013 aren’t really going to have any more “free” salary to make FA pickups than Oakland has in THEIR typical offseason. Realistically, the team might have enough money to do a $5-10 million dollar deal for The Name Free Agent in the offseason, like how Oakland’s done this kind of move, like Cespedes… but remember, the last time we tried those kinds of moves, we got Chone Figgins and Miguel Olivo, and then a bunch of Kevin Millwood/George Sherrill/Large Item Pickup Day kinds of moves of low-salary veterans to fill the roster out.

    Also, Smoak really isn’t a longterm answer at 1B as far as I can see, any more than Mike Carp is. We’re at 1100+ MLB PAs and counting with him, and he still spends weeks at a time hitting like Mario Mendoza. At this point, he is what he is (and what’s he’s done so far) until he proves otherwise: a below-average 1B who deserves time as a fringe player in MLB, but he isn’t a full-time, long-term 1B on any team that’s serious about contending. The M’s have spent enough time evaluating him; they should be looking at improving 1B from what Smoak has given so far.

    So really, what you’re talking about here is finding talent at 1B, DH AND corner OF. That’s really a lot to do in one offseason, and without a lot of money to do it with… unless you’re willing to move Felix’s 19-20 million a year as part of the picture. That probably improves your flexibility to do things with payroll dramatically.

    And it’s not like there’s a lot else to move, anyway. Felix, Vargas and Ryan are about it.

  122. jjracoon on June 16th, 2012 12:37 pm

    Maybe it is time to shutdown Smoak as a switch hitter for awhile. Just have him face the righty’s for awhile and concentrate on the swing on one side of the plate. Then use someone like Olivo (since he seems to need to play) at first against leftys (keeps him away from catcher). Smoak seems to be trying to pull too much and his opposite field power is okay so get back to the basics. Cant see giving up on him yet though.

    Looking at this team and it seems like every player is inconsistent at this point. Almost makes it look like the only one that deserves All Star consideration is Luetge and then only because of his 0.00 ERA.

  123. stevemotivateir on June 16th, 2012 4:48 pm

    Smoak & Carp not working out at first is less of a concern for me. The outfield, however, is alarming.

    Whether you like Ichiro or not (and I do), it’s another hole to fill (if he goes), at a position that we seriously lack depth. Wells probably isn’t more than a 4th outfielder. Guti’s health is still an issue and it’s uncertain if he can be an everyday starter. Can you imagine if Saunders hadn’t rebounded this year?!

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