Game 87, Mariners at Athletics

marc w · July 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Felix Hernandez vs. Bartolo Colon, 1:05pm

Happy Felix Day! It actually has the potential to be relatively happy, as the M’s could win their final series of the first half today. While that’s a pretty lame consolation prize after the slog that was the first half. More than taking two of three from the second-worst team in the division, another offensive performance like last night’s might help us imagine that the second half won’t be as impotent and frustrating as the first. That’s not strictly rational or anything – the M’s have already knocked Bartolo Colon around once this year and it didn’t portend anything – in fact, Colon came back and shut the down the following week. But it would be nice, and a nice moment or two is all we can ask for in a season like this.

Bartolo Colon’s making his fourth start of the year against Seattle, though after making his first three starts of the year against the M’s, it’ll be his first since April. After some poor games in May and a skipped start or two, Colon’s performed fairly in recent starts. As we’re well aware now, Colon’s now a strike throwing machine who’s basically abandoned breaking balls/offspeed pitches in favor of mixing a four- and two-seam fastball. The sample isn’t huge, but this approach seems to result in some large-ish platoon splits. After a nearly .100 point gap in wOBA between lefties and righties in 2011, he’s at .101 this year (the sample’s around 500 PAs for both over 2011-12). Honestly, this is probably the best possible situation for Carlos Peguero, so….he sits while Jaso DHs (nods) and Olivo catches (sigh).

1: Ackley
2: Ichiro
3: Saunders
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Seager
6: Wells
7: Smoak
8: Olivo
9: Ryan
SP: King Felix

Best of luck to Taijuan Walker in today’s Futures Game.

Comments

133 Responses to “Game 87, Mariners at Athletics”

  1. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 12:55 pm

    I don’t disagree about Peguero – but I can also see why Wedge might give him a break after five strikeouts in his first two games. Wedge does try to protect his players… at least until he gets to the point where he’s totally disgusted with them (which we should all be able to relate to!).

  2. Kyle Miller on July 8th, 2012 1:00 pm

    Is it just me, or is Montero not playing this whole series indicative of the M’s sending him to AAA after the break?

  3. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 1:08 pm

    I think it’s more indicative of the team protecting a player who’s had a mild concussion.

  4. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 1:10 pm

    Ackley!

    Hey didn’t we just see these uniforms a couple weeks ago?

  5. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 1:24 pm

    Great play by Ryan to prevent a run. That is twice now that Weeks’ speed has hurt us this inning. I love watching guys who can motor.

  6. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 1:28 pm

    One run. No big deal. Would have been two if not for Ryan’s great defensive play.

  7. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 1:34 pm

    I assume the team has made multiple sets of Rainiers uniforms for Smoak. He should make good us of them for the next 7 weeks.

    Futures game begins at 2:00. Any idea when Hultzen and Walker might pitch? There is also a CF from the Diamondbacks names Adam Eaton who might be worth watching. He is hitting .390 in AAA (Reno – however). He is a 5’8″ fire plug and I hope to see him play. He might be the reason why Arizona is apparently willing to trade Upton. Not sure, just speculating. I assume he will be in today’s Futures game.

  8. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 1:45 pm

    Ooh, Lincecum’s troubles continue. 13-2, Pirates!

  9. thurston24 on July 8th, 2012 1:46 pm

    Is Walker starting the Futures Game or is he just pitching at some point?

  10. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 1:53 pm

    I just checked … No Adam Eaton in the futures game – an it appears that Odorizzi is the starting pitcher for the US squad

    Man, someone has to put a stop to those 3 pitch at bats by Ackley where he stands there watching strike 3. I wish someone would take charge and make sure that does not continue to happen. It makes me puke on my shoes and I am running out of shoes.

  11. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 1:58 pm

    The solution is to wear rubber boots, Mike, and just keep the hose nearby.

  12. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:01 pm

    I just blew up the boots, too – with that six pitch, three out inning.

    Good tip, though.

  13. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:08 pm

    Hultzen is scheduled to pitch the third inning. Walker will pitch the seventh inning.

  14. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:14 pm

    Every single two strike pitch – Colon is going hunting for that inside corner with a tailing fastball. How many times are these dumb asses going to watch it?

  15. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 2:31 pm

    Every time, Mike. They’re looking for the curve ball low and outside. That’s what they’re programmed to swing at.

  16. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:31 pm

    Well, at least Ackley knows how to hit Colon.

  17. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:32 pm

    I think Ichiro expected that to go foul.

  18. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:33 pm

    Sweet – an Ichiro parachute flair.

    Lets tie it up, now.

  19. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:33 pm

    Condor!

  20. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:35 pm

    Woo hoo! Two out rally.

    Btw: Hultzen is going to pitch the top of the third … In approx 5 minutes.

  21. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:36 pm

    I would’ve liked to see a wide-angle view of Ichiro’s hit. It appeared, out of the box, he wasn’t really running (because he thought it was going foul, perhaps).

    I’m just wondering if he could’ve been on second if he’d busted out of the box.

  22. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:39 pm

    Man, Fielder has gotten even fatter.

  23. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:41 pm

    OW OW OW… right in the balls.

  24. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:43 pm

    He might not have seen the ball right away, but if he did and if he was running hard, he might have made it to 2B … And then he would have scored on the Saunders hit.

    Hultzen is on the mound now.

  25. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:43 pm

    Olivo is an old Indian word for “steal nuts” … So not to worry.

  26. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2012 2:45 pm

    Let’s hope Hultzen does better than Cole did. That was sorta funny. *Fluff, Fluff* from that announcers, then BOOM, homerun.

  27. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:45 pm

    Good job by Seager running hard there.

  28. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:46 pm

    I really don’t like that bunt there. We’ve got our weakest hitters coming up.

  29. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:49 pm

    Gave up Wells to let Smoak and Olivo hit,, huh.

    Excellent

  30. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 2:51 pm

    Hultzen gave up a run, but a MLB shortstop probably prevents that lead off hitter from reaching and he gets out of the inning. A couple hard hit balls after that, though.

  31. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 2:54 pm

    It seems likely we won’t see Hultzen until September (and only maybe then).

    Some of us were hoping he’d tear through AAA from day one… but that’s not happening.

  32. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 3:00 pm

    Billy Hamilton is freaking fast.

  33. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:01 pm

    No need to rush Hultzen. If he gets a callup this year, fine. If not, that’s fine too. They have rushed enough guys already. Too much rushing leads to too much flushing. Hultzen has only had two starts in AAA, right?

  34. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:05 pm

    Nice hit Eech … Need a SB, now.

  35. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:08 pm

    Dylan Bundy on the mound, now.

  36. r-gordon-7 on July 8th, 2012 3:10 pm

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m rooting for an M’s win in extra innings – long extra innings. My wife wants me to join her working in the garden when the game is over – and it’s hot out there…!

  37. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:21 pm

    I will say a prayer for you – rgordon.

    After this game, I am going to go cook some eggs on our driveway.

    With all these “stress pitches” – I doubt we will be seeing Felix pitch on Tuesday.

  38. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 3:24 pm

    I’m surprised Felix stayed that long. I figured Wedge would go to the pen in the beginning of the 8th. Good to see Ack get a few hits.

  39. r-gordon-7 on July 8th, 2012 3:28 pm

    Thanks, Mike. BTW, shouldn’t all these “turn back the clock” uniforms have stirrup socks – or at least “stirrup-looking” socks…?

  40. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:28 pm

    Haha, rgordon you should state where you are. If you’re west of the mountains like I am, Mike might not have any sympathy for you – his place is probably 15 degrees hotter.

  41. r-gordon-7 on July 8th, 2012 3:32 pm

    Right here in Seattle. But heat is a relative thing (not unlike a Jamie Moyer fastball/change-up) – and let’s face it, here in Seattle, we’re spoiled. I hope Mike enjoys the post-game eggs as much as I’ll enjoy the post game weeding… ;-)

  42. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:35 pm

    Smoak!

    For a second there I was afraid that 3rd-base bozo would wave Seager in.

  43. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:35 pm

    The tri cities may rival the center of the earths core, presently. Lava should be flowing down the street any minute. Certainly by tomorrows projected 108 degrees – it will be.

    To make me feel better, my wife looked up the temperature in Peoria, AZ today. It didn’t really work, though.

    Oh my God – where there’s lava there’s Smoak. A gapper. He stayed above Mendoza.

  44. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:36 pm

    I thought it was Wells at first – I couldn’t imagine a crucial hit by Smoak!

  45. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2012 3:36 pm

    Olivo up. Extra innings for sure. Unless the A’s do a walkoff in the bottom of the 9th.

  46. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 3:36 pm

    Westy, an example of a time the third base bozo did the right thing in a prudential sense, but Seager would have scored on the throw if he’d gone.

  47. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:38 pm

    Yeah, Breadbaker, plus I had forgotten Olivo was up next.

    (please, please prove me wrong Miguel)

  48. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:39 pm

    That ball wasn’t even close, Miguel.

  49. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 3:39 pm

    Wedge: I’d like to see the accountability for Olivo for that at bat.

  50. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:40 pm

    How do you describe that shitty god awful fucking excuse for an at bat by the wondrously flailing third strike waving crappy excuse for a hitter?

  51. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 3:43 pm

    He did take the third pitch. Of course, he swung at the fourth one that was in the same place.

  52. nvn8vbryce on July 8th, 2012 3:46 pm

    Tell us how you really feel, Mike. (although I almost threw my phone in the garbage when I saw Oliv – oh no! was batting…

  53. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:47 pm

    Rgordon: you’re golden.

    Aregolden for short.

  54. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:49 pm

    What are the mariners doing for their all star break: Hmmm, Jen Mueller, hopefully they are taking perpetual BP.

  55. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2012 3:50 pm

    And some are going to down to Tacoma, I assume.

  56. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Wow, Hendu – the Mariners are “going to have to play some defense here”?

    Really? Are you sure?

    I guess most of the time they can just lounge around out there.

  57. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Big out.

  58. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 3:59 pm

    Somewhere, Billy Beane is busily throwing furniture around the room.

  59. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:00 pm

    Sweet!

  60. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:04 pm

    WHAT THE HECK??

  61. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:04 pm

    He’s got a mental block with intentional walks. He just flat out puckers up.

  62. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2012 4:04 pm

    I bet Eric Wedge is coming out of the dugout. Like a firecracker’s in his ass.

  63. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:04 pm

    Oakland’s gonna try a suicide squeeze, just watch.

  64. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 4:05 pm

    Olivo can’t even catch an intentional walk pitch. What is still doing on this teams payroll?

    And Charlie didn’t help him out there either.

  65. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:05 pm

    He’s like the Steve Sax of intentional walks. Remember how he worked Olivo over the other day?

  66. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:06 pm

    Hmm… I am confused, apparently! ehehehe

  67. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:07 pm

    Not Olivo’s fault. Furbush threw it to the backstop.

  68. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:07 pm

    Yeah Mike, I do remember that! I thought it was Furbush, but figured I was mistaken…

  69. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:09 pm

    Well Westy, a squeeze with 2 outs would definitely take us by surprise :)

  70. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:10 pm

    Although I don’t see why you couldn’t try it with two outs – you’d want a fast guy at the dish, for sure.

    It’d be like bunting for a base hit, but with the guy on third running. ;-)

  71. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:12 pm

    Taijuan Walker pitching soon – in the futures game

  72. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:17 pm

    Saunders struck out on a 5-2 count. He misses ball 6.

  73. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:20 pm

    Overmatched! That lefty was nasty.

  74. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:26 pm

    So he was a converted first baseman, huh? Maybe we can salvage Smoak… ;-)

  75. juneau_fan on July 8th, 2012 4:26 pm

    This is when I wish I had the TV feed. Ackley’s battling the sun and birds and Ichiro comes leaping out of right field to make the catch? That must have been funny to see.

  76. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:27 pm

    Juneau, Ichiro demonstrated all the grace of Carlos Peguero when making that catch.

    Although Peggy looks like that on easy plays – on the hard ones he just flat-out misses.

  77. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Come ON, Smoak – do it!

  78. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 4:33 pm

    Easy inning for Walker.

  79. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 4:35 pm

    Wow….I sure would like to see Smoak do that in AAA.

  80. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:35 pm

    SMOAK?! What the heck were you swinging at?

  81. Breadbaker on July 8th, 2012 4:36 pm

    Olivo: didn’t hit into a double play.

  82. Swungonandbelted on July 8th, 2012 4:36 pm

    Nice hack at that pitch there Smoak… >.<

  83. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:42 pm

    Fortunately Wedge has a lot of pitchers available today.

  84. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:44 pm

    Walker looked good. Fast ball was 95-97 and smooth … And at the knees for the most part. It is perfectly straight, though. It might not have time for horizontal movement. I think he only threw one breaking ball and it missed badly. 19 years old and throwing a smooth 97. Nice.

  85. nvn8vbryce on July 8th, 2012 4:44 pm

    I was thinking the same thing Westy… Glad we have the AS break coming up, cause the ‘pen is gonna need it !

  86. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:50 pm

    That beard is just bizarre.

  87. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 4:52 pm

    That at-bat by Ackley was horrible, and Ichi swings at the first pitch. I hope they do something with this line-up during the break.

  88. pgreyy on July 8th, 2012 4:53 pm

    THIS GAME WILL NEVER END!

  89. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:53 pm

    YEAH! A BREAK!

  90. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 4:55 pm

    Westy, we called that a “Taliban” beard in Afghanistan….that was the first thing I thought when I saw it.

  91. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:55 pm

    Hope watching the game doesn’t cause flashbacks for you, WTF. :-D

  92. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:56 pm

    This game is a metaphor for itself.

  93. WTF_Ms on July 8th, 2012 4:56 pm

    No prob Westy! :)

  94. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 4:58 pm

    hehe Mike

  95. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 4:59 pm

    Pete, when are you playing in the tri-cities, next.

    If it is anytime soon, bring your air conditioned microphone.

  96. pgreyy on July 8th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Nope. I was wrong.

  97. Westside guy on July 8th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Ah, crap.

  98. r-gordon-7 on July 8th, 2012 5:03 pm

    Damn. Well, to quote Joni, “back to the garden”… See y’all in the second half…

  99. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 5:05 pm

    I would like to begin the annual second half of the season ritual, early – and start discussing who we might draft next June.

  100. pgreyy on July 8th, 2012 5:06 pm

    And Mike, my calendar is depressingly thin at the moment–just like the number of M’s All-Stars this year, I have just one show coming up–that’s at the Tulalip Casino in August.

    It’s been too long since I’ve been to Joker’s/Atomic Bowl…if I can make that happen, I’ll holler. (Hopefully, it won’t be 108 when that happens.)

  101. Power of orange on July 8th, 2012 5:10 pm

    It is mighty embarrassing to be worse than a team pinching pennies for a new stadium. God I hate this. I’d like to have some hope.

  102. henryv on July 8th, 2012 5:18 pm

    Has anyone made the joke that it is appropriate that the M’s were wearing Rainiers unis today, given that most of this team will be in AAA soon enough?

  103. henryv on July 8th, 2012 5:20 pm

    Eric Wedge in the post-game: “F–k it, I quit. I don’t care. Call Daren Brown for all I care. I’ll be down at the hotel bar.”

  104. Power of orange on July 8th, 2012 5:23 pm

    We will drink along with him.

  105. henryv on July 8th, 2012 5:30 pm

    I was trying to find the Kent Brockman reference for that, but can’t. It’s the one where it keeps showing the video of the goat drinking milk.

    This, but there is more.

  106. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 5:39 pm

    We had a weekend series with bookend 1-run games. This team will do whatever it has to do in order to average 3 runs per game – pretty much regardless of where it plays.

    The organization might have to call in a world renowned Gastroenterologist in order to “flush” away its problems. This team is currently the Sigmoid Colon of the baseball world.

  107. bookbook on July 8th, 2012 7:17 pm

    AA pitchers are figuring out Stefan Romero. He dipped below the double Mendoza line a couple days ago.

  108. dantheman on July 8th, 2012 8:03 pm

    And you can all keep whining and moaning until you are blue in the face because this organization will continue to morph into the Kansas City Royals – perennial losers but,hey, next year will be different because we are doing it “right” by developing young talent – until the fan base says we have had enough of Lincoln and Armstrong and want change.

  109. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2012 8:20 pm

    The fan base has zero power to change who owns the team. The owners are who get to decide who runs the team.

  110. groundzero55 on July 8th, 2012 8:38 pm

    If Ichiro leaves or retires, does that make it any more likely that the owners finally sell the team to someone better?

  111. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2012 9:34 pm

    Why would it make it more likely? Ichiro wasn’t on the team when the current owners bought it.

  112. nvn8vbryce on July 8th, 2012 9:44 pm

    Eponymous, Nintendo has owned the Mariners since 1992. Given that Ichiro started in 2001, I’m thinking that the same ownership is involved.

  113. groundzero55 on July 8th, 2012 10:05 pm

    Because I really get the feeling that the ownership doesn’t give two shits about the performance of the team, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of a front office trying to field a successful team. While they were here first, maybe Ichiro leaving would be the final straw and Nintendo would finally wash their hands of the matter.

  114. msfanmike on July 8th, 2012 10:41 pm

    Book book: check those Stefan Romero numbers again. He is hitting .397 in AA.

    I think you got his stats confused with someone else. He has only struck out 6 times in 16 games – and is tearing things up as well as anyone could ask in a small sample size

  115. eponymous coward on July 8th, 2012 11:10 pm

    Eponymous, Nintendo has owned the Mariners since 1992. Given that Ichiro started in 2001, I’m thinking that the same ownership is involved.

    I’m thinking I probably knew that, and was pointing out that Japanese ownership predates any Japanese players being on the team, so losing a Japanese player, even one of Ichiro’s stature, would be an irrelevancy as far as ownership’s attitudes on wanting to own a baseball team.

    Because I really get the feeling that the ownership doesn’t give two shits about the performance of the team, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of a front office trying to field a successful team.

    Same ownership as in 1995 and 2001, incidentally. Oh, and Lincoln and Armstrong were around then, too.

    So, were all those wins just a fluke?

    While they were here first, maybe Ichiro leaving would be the final straw and Nintendo would finally wash their hands of the matte

    What makes you think an ownership change would actually change anything positively? Edward Bennett Williams sold the Orioles to Peter Angelos. How’d that work out? Has David Glass made things better for the Royals since taking over for Ewing Kauffman? Or maybe we’d luck out and sell to our version of Clay Bennett! I’m sure that couldn’t backfire, right?

    The problems have multiple levels:

    - the team has cut a third of their salary over the past 4 years. Yes, I know, you can win without writing huge paychecks to every FA on the market. The problem is that this has meant that any screwup on the FA market (Figgins, Olivo) is fatal when you are cutting budget all the time, and we’ve ended up with players like Ichiro sucking up a bunch of salary, who don’t really fit in with a Cleveland-style rebuild.
    - the team’s been bad at talent identification (drafts) and retention (stupid Bavasi trades) for some time in the past, so there’s been very little in the way of reasonably priced talent in the pipeline. Thus you get bad teams when combined with point 1 (salary cuts making even good deals out of reach, meaning you have to play Large Item Pickup Day all the time).
    - our GM isn’t the ZOMG BETTER THAN BILLY BEANE guy we thought he would be. He’s been an improvement for sure, but there have been some pretty serious bumps on the road where things haven’t gone right, which when combined with points 1 and 2, means the organization is still scuffling along. And no, “hey, it’s OK, they’re on a Glorious Five Year Rebuilding Plan” is a load of crap. Three 90-95 loss years in a row? Please find me some good GMs who have three bad years like that during their career.
    - the organization is still bringing in stiffs like Wedge, and is still doing things like “playing the hot hand”. They have Tom Tango, but they aren’t using him correctly. If this is Armstrong and Lincoln’s influence from being stuck in the 1980′s-1990′s… -shrug- Whatever it is, it’s unlikely that we’re going to get past it soon.

    There isn’t anything horribly wrong with this team that injections of talent won’t fix (hey, even Pittsburgh is winning these days), but the organization needs to do some reflection on where they are. Won’t be here for the USSM event, but I imagine you might want to ask some pointed questions along the lines of “so, we’ve seen Zduriencik for a few years now and the losses are still there: what needs to change and what are you learning from your failure?”

    If Billy Beane can put together .500 teams from spit, duct tape and bailing wire, then I think it’s well past time for Zduriencik to start showing he’s that caliber of GM. No more excuses. Put up or shut up. I don’t want to hear how smart he is until there’s a decent team on the field. At some point, if your process isn’t yielding results, you need to re-evaluate your process.

  116. NV M's fan on July 9th, 2012 12:00 am

    How can u let Olivo hit in the 9th? How can u let Olivo hit in the 9th? How can u let Olivo hit in the 9th?!!

  117. bookbook on July 9th, 2012 1:46 am

    Mike, the double Mendoza line would be twice the .200 of a normal Mendoza line. I had an irrational moment of disappointment last night when I saw he’d slipped below .400 (despite going 3 for 5 in the latest game.

  118. vetted_coach on July 9th, 2012 9:52 am

    I’ve been around baseball since 1962 and, yes, that includes observant years as an adolescent paying close attention to franchise changes and management styles that included the demise of the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City Athletics. Who knows what resonated culturally in the 1890′s and 1920′s? But we do have an inkling of what worked and what didn’t.

    I’ve been close to the Seattle Mariner ownership since Danny Kaye and company ushered them into the city in 1977. I saw the opener with Diego Segui and bounced around the press box chatting with various execs. (I even contributed to the pursuit of free agent Jeff Burroughs in the 80′s…a non-event as it turned out.)

    For whatever reasons and through several ownership changes and one stadium change, my position is that while rooting vigorously for a successful baseball club and getting to know a fair number of participants both on and off the field, the Seattle Mariner organization since 1977 has been perhaps the poorest front office in the history of “modern” major league baseball in the area of producing a winning product on the field. They haven’t known how to to do it, they have never achieved any prolonged success in doing it, and what is the very worst indictment, they haven’t in my estimation done anything to convince me that they are truly committed to doing it.

    Chuck Armstrong is said to be a genuinely nice man, but judging him purely on what he has said publiclly, and the decisions he has made regarding the team, he doesn’t seem to know much about how to create a winning franchise. The same could be claimed about Howard Lincoln. It would be a stretch to imagine that the overall perception of long-time Seattle baseball fans of these two is much different than mine.

    The list of botched trades, free-agent signings, player personnel decisions and questionable hires (Piniella excepted) is readily available for all to judge.

    They have waded their way through 4-6 hall of fame calibre players – all of whom have been released, traded, or lost to free agency. They have accumulated a list of “former Mariners” that would assemble on its own a fairly admirable 25-man roster, beginning with Ruppert Jones in the 70s, extending through the likes of Omar Vizquel, Tino Martinez, the infamous big-three, all-stars such as Raul Ibanez and Jason Veritek, and nearly a dozen or so who are succeeding today. (The popular rejoinder that “this happens with every franchise” is a bunch of bunk. You cannot create a list for any other team dating back to 1977 that comes close to the embarrassing inventory of our own.). Sadly, it appears as if the Felix Hernandez window will close without the front office having been able to assemble anything competitive enough to take advantage of his presence before 2014.

    What remains at the all-star break of 2012 is a tragic collection of players who together do not represent anything close to a formidable or even representative major league roster. It’s anybody’s guess how much the present front office really cares on a level that comes anywhere near approaching urgency. It’s less of a guess as to what degree they are even equipped to execute the feat.

    Sad for Mariner fans – but true.

  119. msfanmike on July 9th, 2012 10:37 am

    Ahh, thank you bookbook. New vernacular: “Double Mendoza Line.” It means exactly what it says. Twice the fun for the same price.

    Gotcha.

  120. eponymous coward on July 9th, 2012 3:01 pm

    For whatever reasons and through several ownership changes and one stadium change, my position is that while rooting vigorously for a successful baseball club and getting to know a fair number of participants both on and off the field, the Seattle Mariner organization since 1977 has been perhaps the poorest front office in the history of “modern” major league baseball in the area of producing a winning product on the field.

    Seriously?

    Remind me, when was Kansas City’s last playoff game? How about Pittsburgh’s? Washington or Montreal?

    And like it or not, the stretch from 1995-2003 was pretty decent. No, they didn’t bring home hardware, but some of that is just flukey, unless you think the Marlins were one of the best organization in baseball over that time, what with multiple titles…

    I think the more interesting question is “what’s different”? And one of the answers to that is pretty much incontrovertibly “almost no production from the draft compared to the rest of baseball, which hasn’t been balanced out with the non-draft FAs like Ichiro and Felix”. Contrast with the Mariners of the early 1990′s under Jongewaard.

    They have accumulated a list of “former Mariners” that would assemble on its own a fairly admirable 25-man roster, beginning with Ruppert Jones in the 70s, extending through the likes of Omar Vizquel, Tino Martinez, the infamous big-three, all-stars such as Raul Ibanez and Jason Veritek, and nearly a dozen or so who are succeeding today. (The popular rejoinder that “this happens with every franchise” is a bunch of bunk. You cannot create a list for any other team dating back to 1977 that comes close to the embarrassing inventory of our own.).

    No, actually, you can.

  121. dantheman on July 9th, 2012 7:02 pm

    “Same ownership as in 1995 and 2001, incidentally. Oh, and Lincoln and Armstrong were around then, too.
    So, were all those wins just a fluke?”

    You can’t seriously think that Armstrong and Lincoln are good at what they do and that the team’s record of utter incompetence for a decade merits keeping them. The very fact that you have to go back 11 years to cite any example of good performance speaks volumes.

    “Remind me, when was Kansas City’s last playoff game? How about Pittsburgh’s? Washington or Montreal?”

    That’s the test for success? How a franchise that had, until the incompetence of the front office, tremendous revenue (with a brand spanking new $500 million ballpark) measures up against KC, Pittsburgh and Washington? You’ve been watching very bad baseball for far too long if that’s your standard.

  122. dantheman on July 9th, 2012 7:11 pm

    “…the Seattle Mariner organization since 1977 has been perhaps the poorest front office in the history of “modern” major league baseball in the area of producing a winning product on the field.”

    So true. I guess you have to be one of us old-timers to appreciate just how bad this franchise has been run.

  123. eponymous coward on July 10th, 2012 4:00 am

    You can’t seriously think that Armstrong and Lincoln are good at what they do and that the team’s record of utter incompetence for a decade merits keeping them.

    Didn’t say that, but thanks for the strawman.

    The assertion that I was responding to, if we want to roll the tape, was:

    the Seattle Mariner organization since 1977 has been perhaps the poorest front office in the history of “modern” major league baseball

    That is clearly, obviously not true, since part of that record was 1995-2003.

    That’s the test for success?

    You sure like strawmen.

    Again, the most obvious problem with the team has been production from the draft and farm system. We can add other things onto that, but the fact that Felix is about it for an entire decade plus is more than enough to run the team into a ditch.

  124. dantheman on July 10th, 2012 8:04 am

    “That is clearly, obviously not true, since part of that record was 1995-2003″.

    Why is that “obviously not true”? What is the standard? Overall won-loss record? Playoff and World Series appearances?

  125. eponymous coward on July 10th, 2012 9:42 am

    Why is that “obviously not true”?

    We have some examples of teams that I’ve pointed out as counterexamples.

    If you’re making an argument that the Mariners are historically awful and always have been, it helps to actually explain the actual history, including the sustained period where they weren’t actually terrible, and in fact were pretty good (including a year where they got a MLB record for regular season wins). Were Lincoln and Armstrong locked in a closet by Piniella and Woodward from around 1993 to 2003, and Bavasi let them out?

    And before you can bring up the straw man I suspect you’re dying to bring up: I’m capable of being convinced that Armstrong and Lincoln are past their pull date as MLB executives, in fact, that’s perfectly plausible, given the last decade and some of the hires I’ve seen. But an argument of “they always sucked” flies in the face of the actual history.

    My interpretation is Lincoln mostly focuses on dollars, and Armstrong, like a MLB manager, isn’t deadly if surrounded by adequate talent on the roster and at GM. What’s killing this team is the dearth of talent from the past, and some mistakes by the present GM, plus a dash of bad luck.

    The problem is that the guy who’s likely to take it on the chin if it’s time for the Yearly Safeco Field Executive Ejection is Zduriencik (and there’s an argument that this churn in the organization is part of the problem)- Lincoln and Armstrong are likely to be safe until they retire. So should our goal be “wait for them to retire”, “find a better GM and hope we can recreate a period when it didn’t matter that Chuck Armstrong was a Mariner executive’, when it see”, or “hold on, Zduriencik’s got a lot of manure to shovel, give him more time”? What’s your argument? (I’m somewhere in between the second and the third right now.)

  126. eponymous coward on July 10th, 2012 9:57 am

    Make that:

    “find a better GM and hope we can recreate a period when it didn’t matter that Chuck Armstrong was a Mariner executive, when it seems we survived having him in our front office”

    My thinking is this team’s downfall has been talent: dumb moves with it, and conforming to some MLB “good old boys” thinking. There’s been progress under Zduriencik, but not enough (*cough*Olivo*cough*Wedge*cough*).

    I’m not sure how much of that to throw in the direction of Lincoln/Armstrong, though I suspect they had a hand in the Wakamatsu/Griffey debacle and in Wedge’s hiring, and they surely had a big role in hiring Bavasi. The problem is if they fire Zduriencik, who knows, maybe we end up with Cam Bonifay…

  127. stevemotivateir on July 10th, 2012 10:10 am

    If you feel a team has had an unsuccessful season because they failed to reach the playoffs, or World Series, you’re in for a lot of disappointment, no matter what team you follow.

  128. dantheman on July 10th, 2012 8:37 pm

    “Armstrong, like a MLB manager, isn’t deadly if surrounded by adequate talent on the roster and at GM.”

    Maybe we should aim a bit higher than “isn’t deadly”.

    While complaining about straw men, you have evaded the fundamental question – what is the standard by which we should judge how successful – or how bad – a franchise is? Most franchises have periods where they do better than at other times. The Mariners have had some “good” years (NONE of which got them to the World Series and how many other teams can say that?) and many, many bad ones. The fact the Mariners had some “good” years doesn’t tell us anything about how they compare to other teams over the same period of time. So give us the basis on which you can conclude that any other team has a worse front office than the Mariners have had since 1977 – which is what you said was “obviously untrue”. Is it won-loss record? Is it a formula based on won-loss record taking into account payroll and/or revenue? (It’s one thing for a team to lose 100 games and quite another to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll). Simply arguing that Armstrong isn’t an idiot (and lots of us would disagree with that) doesn’t refute the proposition that the Mariners have had the worst front office in baseball since 1977.

  129. dantheman on July 10th, 2012 9:10 pm

    If you check Baseball Reference you will find that there are only two teams with franchise won-loss records that are worse than the Mariners: San Diego and Tampa. San Diego’s record is much better than the Mariners since 1977 but of course that doesn’t take into account its first 8 years as an expansion team. Tampa has only been in existence since 1998 (but has already been in the playoffs 3 times and made it to the World Series). Does anyone think Tampa’s won loss record, after 35 seasons, will be worse than the Mariners’ record from 1977 to the present? Or that Tampa will make the playoffs only 1 more time (to equal the number of times the Mariners have made it to the playoffs in 35 years) in the next 21 seasons? So why is it “obviously untrue” that the Mariners have had the worst front office in baseball?

  130. eponymous coward on July 11th, 2012 9:08 am

    So give us the basis on which you can conclude that any other team has a worse front office than the Mariners have had since 1977

    So, the Mariners haven’t changed any owners or front office executives since 1977?

    If you’re going to argue that everything since 1977 has to be evaluated as a group, without any distinction between front offices that had success and ones that did not, with a common factor that links why this franchise is historically bad, what does the 1977 team have in common with the 2012 team, other than a miserable win-loss record, and they both play in Seattle? They’re owned by different corporate entities, have different players, have different staff in the front office.

    So please, continue: what links the 1977 team with the 2012 team other than the name on the uniform the city they play in, and the crappy baseball?

    My argument’s this: I don’t think the 1977 and 2012 Mariner teams are connected past the name on the uniform, the city they play in, and the crappy baseball; the mistakes that each made are owned by the people responsible. To paraphrase Dostoyevsky, bad baseball franchises that are separated by decades are crappy in their own way. This is why I’m perfectly happy to say that the 1995-2003 teams were successful. Seasons get evaluated on their own basis, and the M’s figured things out for a while… and then lost the plot.

    As for what makes the teams successful: winning games. Duh. The problem is the reasons why the 1977 team didn’t win games, the 1982 team didn’t win games, the 1998 team didn’t win games, and the 2012 team didn’t win games were all somewhat different (with a common factor of Mistakes Were Made™). Just like you can’t say that Jeremy Reed was the same person as Junior, you can’t say that Danny Kaye is the same person as Hiroshi Yamauchi. Roger Jongewaard is not the same person as Bill Bavasi.

  131. dantheman on July 12th, 2012 7:54 am

    “So please, continue: what links the 1977 team with the 2012 team other than the name on the uniform the city they play in, and the crappy baseball?”

    Well, that’s a bit misleading. Armstrong was in charge from 1981-1989 and then from 1993 to the present. So there’s a lot more continuity to the incompetent front office decisions than you suggest.

  132. dantheman on July 12th, 2012 8:01 am

    I would add a second point. The original poster didn’t claim that the same front office has made all the bad decisions since 1977 – only that the Mariners have had the worst front office (however many people have participated) since 1977. You said it was “obviously untrue” but your only defense seems to be that the Mariners have had lots of different incompetent front office personnel over 35 years, not that the team hasn’t been the worst run franchise over that period of time. In fact, the numbers back up the original poster’s assertion.

  133. stevemotivateir on July 12th, 2012 8:57 pm

    Do you really not get it, Dan? The point, which was perfectly clear, is that there have been many people involved over the years, and each are responsible for their own actions. There have been many bad years, bad personal, but there was a very good stretch as well, with good personal. And eponymous gave you examples of teams worse off. Can you drop it now?

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