Mariners Call Up Mike Zunino

Dave · June 11, 2013 at 11:51 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Well, here’s act one of the “I Don’t Want To Get Fired” playbook; the Mariners have decided to call up Mike Zunino from Tacoma, according to Larry Stone, and he’ll join the team in Seattle in time for today’s game. You can bet that Brandon Bantz will be DFA’d to make room for him on both the 25 and 40 man rosters, and they’re not calling Zunino up to sit on the bench; he’s going to take over as at least the semi-full time catcher.

On one hand, you can justify this as a “need” move, since Kelly Shoppach has been carrying far too heavy of a workload and Brandon Bantz is a minor league player who is only in Seattle because of injuries. However, it wouldn’t have been that difficult to find a suitable part-time Major League catcher to give Shoppach a break. For instance, the Padres just DFA’d John Baker yesterday, so he’s available for basically nothing. If the Mariners wanted a veteran big leaguer to take some of Shoppach’s load, they could have acquired one at minimal or no cost.

Instead, this is a hail mary to try and save some jobs. Both Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge are in the final year of their contracts, and they almost certainly know that they need to show some progress in the second half of the year in order to get another contract. The team isn’t performing well, the young core hasn’t lived up to expectations, and right now, there’s no good argument either one can make that they should be retained. If they catch lightning in a bottle with Mike Zunino and he has a monster second half, he might just provide the kind of hope and faith in the rebuilding effort that both men need in order to keep themselves employed with the Mariners.

But, unfortunately, there’s not a lot of reason to think that Zunino is actually ready to provide that hope and faith. He’s leaving Tacoma with a .238/.303/.503 batting line that shows his power potential but also the raw nature of his approach at the plate. Zunino got off to a very strong start to the season, but once he started facing a steady diet of breaking balls, things went south in a hurry. He drew two walks and struck out 26 times in May, posting a .278 on base percentage in the process. The PCL is basically the land of offense, and Zunino’s been the offensive equivalent of Raul Ibanez down there.

The power is real, and if pitchers make the mistake of challenging him with fastballs at the big league level, he’s going to hit some home runs. He’s also going to make a lot of outs, and look pretty silly in the process, because Zunino isn’t ready to hit big league pitching yet. Plain and simple, he’s being rushed.

People have often pointed to the Buster Posey comparison as a young catcher who rocketed through the minors, but Zunino hasn’t accomplished anything close to what Posey did as a minor leaguer. In 359 plate appearances at the Triple-A level — 150 more than Zunino has — Posey hit .337/.421/.535 with a 45/53 BB/K ratio. He didn’t have quite the same amount of raw power as Zunino does at this stage, but he was a much more advanced hitter, and the Giants let him go through two full spring trainings as a professional before handing him the starting job.

A year ago, Zunino was preparing for the College World Series. Now, the Mariners are going to ask him to perform well enough to save some jobs. That’s not fair to the kid, and it’s not in the organization’s long term interests. He might be talented enough to learn on the job and make it work well enough to not be a disaster, but there’s no reason the Mariners should be prioritizing the present over the future.

Here’s the reality – the Mariners are 12th in the American League in winning percentage and 14th in run differential. This is not a good team that has just underperformed for a few months and needs a boost to make a playoff run. This is the second or third worst team in the American League. Contending in 2013 is a pipe dream, and anyone trying to convince you otherwise either has an agenda or is bad at math. The people in charge might not want to hear this, but they built a stinker of a roster, and they’re now lying in the bed they made. That bed is probably going to get them fired, but now they’re rushing the team’s best prospect to the big leagues to try and undo their mistakes.

This is what bad organizations do. The chain of events that led to this decision is just littered with poor decision making leading to obvious failures. This move, and the reasons why the team is making this move, is a prime example of why the Mariners need new leadership.

Comments

126 Responses to “Mariners Call Up Mike Zunino”

  1. californiamariner on June 11th, 2013 11:55 am

    This was my first reaction as well. Seems like a desperation move for sure. I just wonder what the plan will be with Sucre when he’s ready to play again? Does Shoppach go? Does Zunino go back to AAA? Does Sucre go back to AAA? None of the 3 catchers stand out to me as obvious keepers for the rest of the season. It seems to me like they wouldn’t call Zunino up for one week just to send him back when Sucre is ready.

  2. Dave on June 11th, 2013 11:57 am

    If this was only a temporary move until Sucre was healthy, then it’s a waste of a 40 man roster spot. You don’t call up your top prospect and use a 40 man spot just to have a different back-up catcher for a week.

  3. californiamariner on June 11th, 2013 11:59 am

    Yeah that’s what I was thinking. So do you think they will let Shoppach go? It seemed like Sucre had kind of surpassed him. I think Sucre had started like 8 out of 12 games before his injury.

  4. GhostofMarinersPast on June 11th, 2013 12:04 pm

    Dammit dammit dammit. The bed they made is on fire and they are trying to extinguish the flames with a prized flask of water that was harvested from one of Jupiter’s moons! Don’t use the moon water! It’s too valuable! And there isn’t nearly enough to put out that fire! You damn dirty apes!!! Arrrghhhh!!!!!!

  5. Ibuprofen on June 11th, 2013 12:06 pm

    Interim general manager time, please. I legitimately think this is an inexcusable move.

  6. lalo on June 11th, 2013 12:11 pm

    Jack Z needs to go. He said he wouldn´t risk the future of the franchise in order to save his job. He has been doing that the last 4 months.

  7. terryoftacoma on June 11th, 2013 12:11 pm

    The manager doesn’t make these types of moves. This is all Z’s doing. Although, Wedge may have had input.

  8. jordan on June 11th, 2013 12:12 pm

    wtf

    Let’s go ahead and ruin another prospect.

  9. wetzelcoatl on June 11th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Moves like this are the reason I think you should fire your manager and GM as soon as possible and not give them time running the team as lame ducks.

  10. djw on June 11th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Ugh Ugh Ugh.

    I thought you made a good argument that there’s no real reason to fire Wedge and Zduriencik now rather than later, but I’m starting to disagree. This is just awful.

  11. terryoftacoma on June 11th, 2013 12:15 pm

    In my opinion all our propects have been rushed. Only Seager(and maybe Franklin) have handled it, well.

  12. dang on June 11th, 2013 12:16 pm

    Jack Z. has turned out to be a major failure. Think about it. Two of the five major league offenses he has put together have been historically bad – that is to say the two worst offenses in the designated hitter era. Two of the other three finished last or near last in the American League. It would be hard to produce that type of ineptness if one were trying to. The Mariners, offensively, would have been better in the Z era if they had played their Triple A team. He’s a stiff and a bust!

  13. hansk on June 11th, 2013 12:19 pm

    Do you think David Forst is available, or will he not leave because he’s being groomed to replace Beane?

  14. billT on June 11th, 2013 12:19 pm

    … and yet most people reading this site and posting here are still fans and will be watching the game tonight. You’re suckers. The Mariners know it and they don’t care. The fact that they’ve been one of the worst – if not the worst – run franchises for their entire history does nothing to dissuade you. Seriously – find a different team to root for. You’ll be much happier.

  15. Mike Snow on June 11th, 2013 12:23 pm

    Well, as far as desperation moves go, it’s better than trading Adam Jones for Erik Bedard.

  16. scraps on June 11th, 2013 12:24 pm

    Incredibly, some people will defend this. Probably here in this thread. Or Geoff Baker; all he needs is Dave firmly taking a stance.

    I really hope Zunino gets past this with his confidence intact.

  17. The_Waco_Kid on June 11th, 2013 12:27 pm

    Don’t know what to make of this. Probably won’t ruin Zunino, but many of our prospects who hit WELL in AAA are struggling. Clearly a desperation move. Ironically, it’s almost fair to Z, since he gets to have Zunino and Franklin play before they decide to fire him. I know, bad process, but if this does work, he’ll get deserved credit for drafting well. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If it fails, he’s gone for sure.

  18. vertigoman on June 11th, 2013 12:28 pm

    Well at least he won’t have to try and hit in Tacoma anymore.

    While I totally agree with Dave that this is a hale Mary (or at least I agree it seems to be) I don’t think it’s a waste of a 40 man spot. Essentially takes Bantz’s seat.

    And that’s gonna suck for Bantz if getting called up, playing one ML game costs him his job and paycheck.

  19. kfrei2 on June 11th, 2013 12:29 pm

    This is really depressing. It’s not enough that Z has failed to rebuild the team, but now he’s actively making the situation worse for his successor. I held out hope for Z longer than most, but I’m done. The draft is over. That’s what Z does best, now show him the door.

    I liked Dave’s post from a month or so ago about how firing everybody now won’t really accomplish anything, and at the time, I agreed. But firing everybody now and hiring an intermediate GM would probably prevent Bavasi-esq panic moves like this. It’s sad that it’s come to this.

    I hope Zunino can handle the way he’s being mistreated.

  20. scraps on June 11th, 2013 12:30 pm

    billT, I assuming you’re not a troll, for now.

    I’m a Mariners fan. Right now I’m not paying money in, true. But Z and Wedge will be gone, soon. And I remember the good times. They’ll come back.

  21. Power of orange on June 11th, 2013 12:30 pm

    This isn’t necessarily a Zunino related question – more of a player development question. Why in baseball do we insist that they go through a minor league system when they have had the same four years of college that football players go through. Shoot, a lot of basketball players get one developmental year before going to the NBA. It’s hard to watch Russell Wilson and many, many other NFL players be drafted and ready to go straightaway but here we are debating on whether or not to wait another year on Zunino – makes no sense to me.

  22. sawsatch on June 11th, 2013 12:31 pm

    Indefensable.

  23. Athanasius on June 11th, 2013 12:32 pm

    What I find interesting is that until this offseason, rebuilding through prospects (at the expense of any major free agent signings) was advocated as the primary way to build a sustained winner on this blog. That tune changed this offseason, due in part to the appararant “change in philosophy” from the front office. While it’s true that there has been turnover in the front office, unless I’m mistaken, unless one is a part of the organization, it is a tenuous position to say there has been a change in philosphy. After, the old, “good” philosophy did hire Eric Wedge.

    At any rate, now that most of the prospects have failed, Z has been thrown under the bus and is being told that he was wrong all along. I find this to make for some interesting and convenient revisionist reading.

    Dave, I would suggest reading Jeff’s post below, “the utility of shrugging” before you write anything. You have no idea what the intention of this front office is, even if you disagree with the decision. To say otherwise is overly simplistic analysis.

  24. RJD on June 11th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I’ve never posted before. I’ve been a season ticket holder for years.

    This is the absolute worst, most selfish, most desperate move I have ever seen.

    Sometimes I agree with Dave’s posts and opinions, and sometimes I do not. This time, I could not agree more. Fire Zduriencik immediately. He is not doing this for the betterment of the franchise, obviously. He’s simply doing it to try and save his own backside! My 9 year old son would make better personnel moves than Z is making now. And that is disparaging me 9 year old son!

  25. Ianyo21 on June 11th, 2013 12:37 pm

    Talk about overreactions again.

    They don’t have a serviceable catcher on the roster besides Shoppach. Bantz is and never will be a major leaguer. This move doesn’t mean Zunino comes up and gets the starting job right out of the gate. I think it means he gets a game here and a game there to give Shoppach a rest. If he completely bombs, he gets sent back down and they find someone else.

    There’s definitely downside to this move but I doubt he sees enough time for it to permanently harm Zunino and if he does, it’s because he’s actually producing and may actually deserve the promotion.

    I’m betting he’s back in Tacoma when Sucre is back. If not, he’s absolutely killing it in the majors. If he’s kept up when Sucre returns and isn’t producing, then we cry foul. Until them, I see it as a break for Shoppach.

  26. groundzero55 on June 11th, 2013 12:41 pm

    “You don’t call up your top prospect and use a 40 man spot just to have a different back-up catcher for a week.”
    Isn’t that similar to the Bonderman/Catricala situation? The M’s already did that, I wouldn’t necessarily put this past them.

    “And that’s gonna suck for Bantz if getting called up, playing one ML game costs him his job and paycheck.”
    He’ll be DFA’d, end up back in the minors as organizational depth. He’s not getting released, and he has a nice little bonus to show for his ML stint.

  27. steve_lse on June 11th, 2013 12:42 pm

    To be fair to Zduriencik he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Nobody would give him credit for not bringing up Zunino, even if it’s the right thing to do. There’s perhaps some minute chance that Zunino proves everyone wrong and hits the ground running and that’s all Zduriencik has at this point. He either rolls the dice or goes down with a whimper.

  28. billT on June 11th, 2013 12:42 pm

    scraps – not a troll. Grew up in Seattle, was a fan for a long time. Interestingly, it was reading this blog and some of the other metrics-inclined sites that made me stop being a fan by constantly pointing out what a horrible franchise this is.

    I’ll still occasionally watch a Felix start, or tune in to see a prospect make his debut, but that’s nothing more than I do for any other team in the league.

    When they team you’re a fan of consistently makes you frustrated and you only occasionally get enjoyment out of your fandom, it’s time to reevaluate. I did, I suggest everyone else do the same. Nothing this franchise has done in their history (other than getting lucky by having the first draft pick in the right years and ending up on the right side of a few trades) would suggest that they have any idea how to put a winning product on the field. Until they demonstrate that they do, they don’t DESERVE your fandom.

  29. thurston24 on June 11th, 2013 12:42 pm

    The Power of Orange,

    Baseball is a much more skilled sport than the NBA or NFL. It takes a lot of work to recognize a good breaking ball, let alone hit one. Hitting takes a lot of practice, your basically trying to hit a pitch with an area the size of a dime on a wood bat. Once you add, movement and high veloicty it’s even harder. So that’s why it takes so long to develop. For pithcers, learning to locate secondary pitches is very hard. It’s really hard to throw a good curveball, let alone locate it precisely.

  30. absolutsyd on June 11th, 2013 12:42 pm

    The Cowlitz Black Bears started last week, and the Hillsboro Hops start this Friday. That’s where I’ll be spending any baseball related money for the rest of the year. Sorry Mariners. Hell, I’m back on the mlb2pdx bandwagon at this point. We get a team down here, and I’ll jump ship that day.

  31. absolutsyd on June 11th, 2013 12:44 pm

    What is there to make you think the good times will return? Outside of an 8 year window of being pretty good, this franchise has 4 winning season in 25 years. They are a complete joke, one of the worst teams in pro sports plain and simple.

  32. rtk on June 11th, 2013 12:44 pm

    I’ve never commented before on this site, but was moved by this decision. Apparently all the anti-Z sentiment has not been misplaced. This is disgusting, not disgusting enough to get me to stop watching or caring too much, but wow. Is consistency too much to ask for?

  33. sawsatch on June 11th, 2013 12:50 pm

    No, we don’t know what the intention of the front office is. True, we are not MLB players or scouts or developers.
    But fans do have a certain knowledge base and this combined with the actual results of a team gives fans a right to a not entirely uneducated opinion.
    A team can’t have it both ways. If the fan base is involved and passionate about a team, then that base’s opinions should be respected.
    At the very least, if our opinions are entirely incorrect, then management should tell us why this is so.
    Give us a good reason not to assume that the primary function of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Armstrong is to make money for the owner.
    Give us a good reason not to believe that this call up is a job saving attempt.

  34. Bodhizefa on June 11th, 2013 12:51 pm

    I love that the Mariners are busy calling up Zunino (who isn’t ready at all yet) and haven’t bothered calling up a guy like Erasmo Ramirez so they can shore up their rotation. Sometimes I hate this org (okay okay… a LOT of times I hate this org.)

    Maybe Brad Miller is next. If they don’t care about a prospect being ready offensively, maybe they also don’t care about defense!

  35. kinickers77 on June 11th, 2013 12:52 pm

    Gah! Will this hurt Zunino in the long-term? I don’t care if he doesn’t help the Ms in the short-term because it’s a lost cause already, but if this damages them in the long-term by stunting Zunino’s development, fans should be outraged.

    Jobs should be lost just for making these decisions, regardless of their outcome.

  36. cougarcountry on June 11th, 2013 12:52 pm

    why not rush another prospect…it’s worked out well so far….

  37. Bip on June 11th, 2013 12:57 pm

    How does this affect Zunino’s arbitration status? I thought part of the draw to keeping Zunino in the minors (outside of the obvious need for development) was to avoid him being a Super 2 player. Does this ensure he is one, if he sticks? Terrible timing in so many ways…

  38. billT on June 11th, 2013 1:01 pm

    cougarcountry – who have they rushed, though? Ackley was dominating AAA. Smoak possibly, though he was already in the majors with another organization. Montero was ‘ready’ to hit, though not as a catcher. Saunders was described on this very site as having nothing more to learn in AAA. Maurer? There’s an argument there, but he pitched well in AA last year and will probably end up hurt again, so might as well see what you’ve got. And they sent him back down when it was clear he wasn’t ready.

    Really, they most ‘rushed’ prospect was the one who actually turned out to be an ok player – Seager.

    The problem with those other guys is more likely that they aren’t any good.

  39. murf on June 11th, 2013 1:04 pm

    “The idea that catching up here a few games, or even a week or two, would somehow irreparably harm Zunino is somewhat laughable. These guys may be prospects, but their psyches aren’t totally made of glass. Or shouldn’t be. If Zunino falls flat, send him back down in a couple of weeks once Jesus Sucre is healthy”

    Don’t always agree with G Baker, but he is spot on here.

  40. billT on June 11th, 2013 1:10 pm

    “Don’t always agree with G Baker, but he is spot on here.”

    Maybe, but I’ve seen him make the complete opposite argument in trying to explain why prospects are sitting on the bench or in the minors. He’s just padding his word count, and views I assume, by mocking people who read blogs like this.

  41. GhostofMarinersPast on June 11th, 2013 1:23 pm

    *billT*

    The problem with your philosophy is that you clearly don’t have a love for the game that most people who post on this type of site do. I am 30 years old, and this franchise has punched me in the balls more often than it has kissed my neck, but every April we get back together to go through it again. Being a fan means suffering with them through loooong dark times. Some of those times last longer for certain teams, including us. But man, someday, if and hopefully when the Mariners win it all…..its going to be so much sweeter than any joy you’ll ever receive watching sports. We’ll be dancing in the streets while you catch it on sportscenter and it resonates in the same way that it would if the tigers or the rays won it all. But not us brother. I’ll be there with my son shouting, laughing and crying. in the immortal words of Bart Scott…..CAN’T WAIT.

    Now back to suffering in silence……..

  42. djw on June 11th, 2013 1:30 pm

    murf,

    No one claimed calling up Zunino for a few weeks would do irreparable harm to his development. That would indeed be a laughable position, had anyone actually taken it. That statement takes a reasonable argument, transforms it into an unreasonable one to make it easier to knock down. It’s a textbook example of the strawman fallacy.

  43. Westside guy on June 11th, 2013 1:32 pm

    Apparently GB thinks a week or two is enough time to make a decision on somebody.

    Oh wait – I was trying to be snarky, but it’s actually true. He used the word “laughable” earlier this season, after Michael Morse had hit 6 home runs in 8 games. He tweeted that it was laughable that anyone would even argue for Jaso over Morse (his words), apparently because he thought Morse was going to hit 130 homers this year. Since that point, we’ve gotten a much better idea of Morse’s true worth. Some people would still argue for him, while others would argue for Jaso; but to claim that the latter group is “laughable” is absurd.

  44. msfanmike on June 11th, 2013 1:35 pm

    Does this mean we might have a chance to see DJ Peterson in September?

    Gosh, I sure hope so.

  45. murf on June 11th, 2013 1:36 pm

    “Zunino is a high makeup player, suggesting a short stint in the majors, even if he fails, won’t ruin him, and there’s a chance he has a handful of good at-bats and his numbers survive over a few weeks. The long-term move is an enormous risk, however, and likely one made in attempt to show the suits that there is enough to lean on for 2014 to keep the current front office group around another year”

    From someone I respect a lot. J. Churchill

    Note: “enormous risk”

  46. ripperlv on June 11th, 2013 1:38 pm

    The chain of events that led to this decision is just littered with poor decision making leading to obvious failures.

    I would like to disagree with you about Zunino and JZ, but I can’t. To me, I made up my mind after we signed , Saunders, Garland, Bonderman, Bay, Morse and Ibanez and aquired Harang- they don’t add up, they don’t compliment. It just doesn’t make sense. Reminds me of the old Devil Rays or Pirates. At least we aren’t trading off the youngsters for broken down veterans – yet.

  47. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Everything always gets analyzed in the grand, huge scheme of things– but this might be a LOT simpler than that…

    Bantz can’t catch at the major league level, and Zunino is the closest we have to somebody capable.

    Yeah, we could have picked up somebody new, but that still leaves Shoppach overworked until the new guy gets his feet under him with this pitching staff.

    And if Shoppach gets hurt, well then we have the new guy AND Zunino.

    If this is purely a result of injuries than sure, bring Zunino up, when Sucre is ready, send Zunino back down.

    Not a big deal. But because we suck, and it’s the last year of contracts for management, and he’s our #1 prospect, this is getting a WAY bigger analysis than necessary.

    Sure it’s Zunino, but it’s still just another “meh” move of a depressing season. They tried avoiding it by bringing up Bantz, and evidently enough folks with the Mariners saw the message that “this guy can’t catch in the majors”.

    I wish we didn’t have to bring Zunino up. And it’s DEFINITELY NOT GOOD for his development. But, again, this is the roster the Mariners built. They took chances in the outfield and behind the plate– and injuries have made BOTH those positions look ridiculous already.

    C’est la Shit Vie.

  48. island city denis on June 11th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Think about it. He is the best catcher the Mariners have, he is being paid millions, he is intelligent and he is not being thrown into a pressure packed situation. Perhaps, the best possible experience Zunino could ever realize. Plus, it will make the Mariners more fun and interesting to watch. The Mariners do not need Sucre, Shoppach, Blantz or even Baker……

  49. Athanasius on June 11th, 2013 1:47 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with this move and having an opinion. Based on how other recent prospects have fared once promoted, I think there is a good argument to be had against this move (if it stunts still needed development).

    However, I think it is utterly simplistic argumentation to state that this is a bad move because of the intention on which it is founded. Dave’s post is not an “eduated guess” on the intention of this move, it is an emotive condemnation of calling up Zunino based on a motive that he doesn’t know with any certainty and as a result, has no business railing against based on that premise.

  50. ChrisFB on June 11th, 2013 1:49 pm

    I’m sure he can just take off in the Majors, look at how rushed Seager was and he did fine. It’s not like the M’s have a history of wrecking prospects or not knowing how to teach hitters or anything.

    …anyway. It’s not going to wreck his development and doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about the M’s management. We have a new toy to watch for a week or two. Who knows, maybe he’ll catch fire and Franklin will continue to surprise us and the M’s could paw their way to .500 by the break and be vaguely watchable. I’m tired of tearing out what’s left of my hair over the worst case scenario. I’d like to cheer Zunino on and have him surprise us.

    Yes, in the abstract, on paper, of course he’s up too early. Of course this is a weird move based on a flimsy roster (sure would have been nice to have Jaso around) and not on Zunino’s own merits. Yes it’s likely he’ll look like Peguero trying to hit But even some temporary flailing beats rooting for the team to hurry up and tank so that the people that need firing get fired. Again.

  51. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 1:49 pm

    MsFanMike-
    re: DJ Peterson

    If Wedge is still here in September I think it’ll be Austin Wilson instead– he’s more “gritty” in a Peguero-y way.

  52. SonOfZavaras on June 11th, 2013 2:01 pm

    I have to agree here.

    As much as I’ve been wanting to see Zunino, a .245-ish average in the PCL is no indicator of ready at all.

    He needs 150-200 more AAA at-bats before he’s ready to audition. And screw the Posey comp. The Giants gave him all the time he needed and he was up when he was ready.

    Zunino’s not ready, so near as I can tell.

    I’ve been trying to stave off the idea that my favorite ballclub is a badly-run organization, but the cracks are getting plentiful and the thinking is loaded with obvious desperation.

  53. georgmi on June 11th, 2013 2:03 pm

    I don’t think anybody’s saying that a short stint in the bigs right now is going to hurt Zunino.

    The problem is, a LONG stint in the bigs right now is likely to be harmful if he doesn’t hit well. His AAA performance suggests that he will probably not hit well. And if this were going to be a short-term move, Zunino would have been called up earlier, instead of Bantz. If this were about having a warm body to sit on the bench and catch on those occasions when Shoppach physically can’t go out there, then Bantz would still be here.

    Everything about this move suggests that Zunino’s going to be thrown into the fire, and it’s intended to be semi-permanent.

  54. SonOfZavaras on June 11th, 2013 2:04 pm

    We could’ve had Chris Snyder or John Baker to lighten the load, and didn’t need to put Bantz in the position we did. (I mean, did you see the Bantz ABs? Poor kid looked like he had absolutely no idea how he was going to try and get a hit at all.)

    We could’ve BOUGHT a dang AAA catcher’s contract from another org.

    Mariners. Mariners. Mariners.

  55. rick m on June 11th, 2013 2:10 pm

    Lou Piniella called up ARod at age 18 and 19, and I don’t remember him ever worrying about his job. Managers want the best ballplayers available to them. If he’s not ready, you send him back down. He’s better for the experience. It’ll be OK, people. ARod survived the experience of playing in front of a 3/4 empty major league ballpark. Zunino will as well. In fact, he’ll go back to Tacoma better for the experience.

  56. Ianyo21 on June 11th, 2013 2:16 pm

    “This move, and the reasons why the team is making this move, is a prime example of why the Mariners need new leadership.”

    Have they actually come out and said they’re making this move because they think Zunino is ready?

    No.

    Then why assume they’re doing it out of desperation for their jobs and not just the fact thatbthey have a huge need for a backup catcher?

    This is all unwarranted until we actually see the results of this call up.

  57. cougarcountry on June 11th, 2013 2:17 pm

    what will the results show us about the motivations?

  58. zackr on June 11th, 2013 2:18 pm

    I don’t get it. JZ and Wedge are currently dealing with what happens when you rush a top prospect (Ackley), and are doing it again with Zunino?

    These guys aren’t stupid. They HAVE to have something up their sleeve here.

  59. Ianyo21 on June 11th, 2013 2:20 pm

    “what will the results show us about the motivations?”

    I assume you’re referring to my comment.

    If they call him up and he gets three starts until Sucre comes back, I think that’d tell you right there that their motivations were to get someone in town who can give Shoppach enough rest.

    If Sucre is ready and Zunino is the guy who stays, I’d think they have different motivations.

  60. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 2:26 pm

    “Lou Piniella called up ARod at age 18 and 19, and I don’t remember him ever worrying about his job. Managers want the best ballplayers available to them. If he’s not ready, you send him back down. He’s better for the experience. It’ll be OK, people.”

    Lou Piniella didn’t call anyone up because managers aren’t responsible for roster decisions. There is a distinct piece of information you’re forgetting though: when Alex Rodriguez was brought up, the Mariners were a pretty good team. That cannot be said of the current group. Not even remotely close.

    “ARod survived the experience of playing in front of a 3/4 empty major league ballpark.”

    When did A-Rod play in front of a 3/4ths empty stadium in 1995? When Seattle ignored the playoff hunt? You have a pretty piss-poor memory.

    “Zunino will as well. In fact, he’ll go back to Tacoma better for the experience.”

    Just like Smoak, Ackley, and Montero!

  61. zackr on June 11th, 2013 2:30 pm

    Abrasive much, tourist?

  62. djw on June 11th, 2013 2:36 pm

    Alex Rodriquez had no contact issues or off-speed hitting problems in the minors. Age aside, his game demonstrated that he was ready to start contributing. I don’t understand why anyone would think the comparison is relevant.

  63. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 2:41 pm

    “Abrasive much, tourist?”

    Sometimes I get abrasive when lousy analysis and falsehood are involved. Silly me.

  64. mark s on June 11th, 2013 2:42 pm

    This might be worth a post, at some point.

    If the Front Office is being replaced. Who needs to be replaced? Or to say it in a less personal way. How many jobs need to be re-filled?

    This is sad. I was really hopeful for Jack Z.

  65. rick m on June 11th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Tourist, ARod was called up in 1994 at age 18. We were 36-49 at the time (July 8). I have a piss poor memory, it is true – so I consulted baseball reference. Yes, we sucked: 36-49

    I am quite certain that managers make requests for ballplayers all the time. You are right that managers don’t make roster decisions. They lobby for ballplayers they think will help them win. I am quite certain Lou asked for ARod, just like he probably asked for Chris Snelling in 2002 at the tender age of 20. Wedge don’t want John Baker. He wants someone with talent. And…you know what? I will grant you that he wants Zunino over Baker because he wants to keep his job.

    Yes, Smoak went back to Tacoma, and when he returned, he raked (.900 OPS in September, well over .800 his entire career since the callup last July). Ackley will likely rake when he returns as well. Montero, I have no idea.

  66. rick m on June 11th, 2013 2:47 pm

    djw,

    ARod was NOT READY. His record proved it. I remember watching him. He sucked. It is completely relevant.

    But the thing is, John Baker will suck. That has been established by the Padres. Wedge knows it. Wedge rightly understands that Zunino is today a better bat, as unready as he is.

  67. deflep78 on June 11th, 2013 2:53 pm

    I for one like the move from a pure interest standpoint. Long-term this roster isn’t constructed well. At least now there is something interesting to watch in Zunino and Franklin. The team was getting very boring and depressing.

    There are only 2 position players from this years team that should even be on next years team in Morales and Seager (not including Franklin or Zunino).

    No one else at this point deserves a spot on next years team, so you might as well see if one of these so called prospects pops.

  68. djw on June 11th, 2013 2:55 pm

    Yes, in limited time in 94 and 95 Arod looked like he was in over his head. This, of course, makes the Zunino call up look even more dubious, as Arod had no obvious flaws in his game in the minors, and Zunino has a really big glaring one.

  69. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 2:58 pm

    “Tourist, ARod was called up in 1994 at age 18. We were 36-49 at the time (July 8). I have a piss poor memory, it is true – so I consulted baseball reference. Yes, we sucked: 36-49″

    Record and talent are different things. The 1994 had more talent, by far, than the 2013 Mariners. There are no pitchers I would take from the current roster over the best from ’94 and no hitters I’d take on the current roster over the best ~4 from ’94. The 1994 Mariners had tremendous upside. The 2013 Mariners do not. Therein lies the rub. That and the fact that A-Rod wasn’t being asked to take over a position right out of the getgo on a team that couldn’t hit.

    “I am quite certain that managers make requests for ballplayers all the time. You are right that managers don’t make roster decisions. They lobby for ballplayers they think will help them win. I am quite certain Lou asked for ARod, just like he probably asked for Chris Snelling in 2002 at the tender age of 20. Wedge don’t want John Baker. He wants someone with talent. And…you know what? I will grant you that he wants Zunino over Baker because he wants to keep his job.”

    So then I guess you should’ve stated this first?

    “Yes, Smoak went back to Tacoma, and when he returned, he raked (.900 OPS in September, well over .800 his entire career since the callup last July). Ackley will likely rake when he returns as well. Montero, I have no idea.”

    And we all know how well Smoak has done aside from last September. I hope you’re right about Ackley, but I fear you’re wrong. Time will tell. Either way, A-Rod’s failure wasn’t as bad for him as (a) he was 18 and destroying the minors [and not 22 and not hitting], (b) wasn’t in the spotlight to a degree Zunino will be [there are no current superstars - Zunino will be expected to become that after the offseason hype], and (c) was put onto a team that was hitting very well [so he wasn't NEEDED].

  70. smb on June 11th, 2013 2:58 pm

    Dear Baker,

    You could probably jump off a third story roof and not break both your legs. The idea that your legs are made of glass is somewhat laughable.

  71. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 2:58 pm

    “Yes, in limited time in 94 and 95 Arod looked like he was in over his head. This, of course, makes the Zunino call up look even more dubious, as Arod had no obvious flaws in his game in the minors, and Zunino has a really big glaring one.”

    Exactly.

  72. rick m on June 11th, 2013 3:00 pm

    I am not disagreeing with you that it probably won’t work, djw. What I disagree with is this idea that the callup may destroy the future of Mike Zunino. It won’t – and the success of ARod better illustrates my point than not. Why should Mike Zunino sit back and watch inferior talent take a job he is better prepared for? That’s not fair to Mike Zunino, and in some ways that is a far worse way to run an organization than to protect and baby your prized talent.

  73. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 3:02 pm

    I think to a large degree all the arguing over whether Zunino’s ready with the bat is SMALL STUFF compared to whether he’s ready to work behind the plate in the Major Leagues less than a year removed from college.

    It’s a whole different game, and can have WAY more of an impact on the outcome of games than his bat at 7 or 8 in the order.

    I’m assuming he’ll struggle, but that will probably still be a line similar to what we were already getting with the bat from catchers this season. Struggling for Zunino is probably .200, which is Par on the Pebble Beach of Mariners catching.

    Struggling to handle a pro pitching staff is a whole ‘nother concern. Hardest position to play in major league baseball– mentally. Akin to QB in the NFL.

  74. just a fan on June 11th, 2013 3:10 pm

    There’s a little overreaction going on. Yeah, it sucks that Zunino will probably lose one of his option years for what figures to be a short, overmatched stretch on the roster (assuming that if he sucks, he gets sent back down soon enough).

    But it’s OK! Calm down folks! Players can be over-matched their first turn in the league and still turn out pretty good. Mike Trout was awful his first call up and then the next year, he finished 2nd in the MVP race.

    Zunino can still get more at bats in AAA! A shitty month in the majors will not destroy him! Sometimes it helps a player to know what’s awaiting him at the next level.

  75. just a fan on June 11th, 2013 3:13 pm

    ” There are no pitchers I would take from the current roster over the best from ’94 and no hitters I’d take on the current roster over the best ~4 from ’94. ”

    Yeah I’d definitely take Dave Fleming or whoever the heck was pitching back then over Felix and Iwakuma.

  76. sawsatch on June 11th, 2013 3:14 pm

    We’re going nowhere anyway.

  77. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 3:17 pm

    “Yeah I’d definitely take Dave Fleming or whoever the heck was pitching back then over Felix and Iwakuma.”

    Because Dave Fleming was that 6’10″ dominating ace with a mullet, right?

    Read my statement again. I think you missed a word or two. I’ll write it again for you in simpler terms: I would not take the best pitcher from 2013 [Felix!] over the best pitcher from 1994 [Randy Johnson!]. And that’s the extent of my statement. Never mentioned other starters or relievers. Not once. Nice try, though.

  78. spuuky on June 11th, 2013 3:18 pm

    “There are no pitchers I would take from the current roster over the best from ’94″

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

    Whew, sorry. It was good to get that out there.

    Really, dude? You’re going to go with Age 27 Felix Hernandez over Age 30 Randy Johnson, without the luxury of knowing what Randy Johnson became after that point in his career? Because Felix was much better as a whole up to those points.

    Really, you’re going with Chris Bosio and his 118 ERA+ over Iwakuma and his TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHT ERA+ thus far this year? Or maybe you meant you’d rather have Dave Fleming or Greg Hibbard and their ERAs of well over 6.00 and WHIPs of over 1.80.

    I’d rather have injured Erasmo Ramirez, right now, today, than anyone short of Randy Johnson on that staff, and he’s not one of the two best starters on this team.

    Or maybe you’re just saying you like Bobby Ayala more than Tom Wilhelmson, which is almost defensible until you remember what Bobby Ayala was.

    Obviously, the ’94 team had much better hitters than the Mariners are currently have. But the claim I just pointed out was exceptionally ridiculous.

  79. make_dave_proud on June 11th, 2013 3:18 pm

    I think I found a video that explains the decision-making here and the overall organizational status:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpraJYnbVtE

  80. just a fan on June 11th, 2013 3:19 pm

    tourist, if that’s your point, then maybe next time just say “I wouldn’t take Felix over Randy on the pitching side”. Just looking at that team’s pitching staff (which did include Dave Fleming!), the 2013 Mariners starters are better.

  81. spuuky on June 11th, 2013 3:19 pm

    And really, the fact that you defended that claim by saying “Randy Johnson with the benefit of hindsight became a better pitcher at his peak than Felix Hernandez has been so far” is just as ludicrous.

  82. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 3:30 pm

    “And really, the fact that you defended that claim by saying “Randy Johnson with the benefit of hindsight became a better pitcher at his peak than Felix Hernandez has been so far” is just as ludicrous.”

    Please point out where I said that. I’m curious. Because I just looked. And I didn’t say that at all.

    “tourist, if that’s your point, then maybe next time just say “I wouldn’t take Felix over Randy on the pitching side”. Just looking at that team’s pitching staff (which did include Dave Fleming!), the 2013 Mariners starters are better.”

    All it really takes is correctly reading what someone has written. :shrug:

    Is this really a difficult concept to grasp?

    “There are no pitchers I would take from the current roster over the best from ’94″

    The best pitcher from ’94 doesn’t happen to be the whole staff. The whole staff isn’t the best pitcher from ’94.

    I know, though. The internet is hard and it’s been a long day.

  83. rick m on June 11th, 2013 3:35 pm

    Correction: Smoak’s OPS since his August 2012 callup is .768. Not what we want, but far better than we’d seen to date. Point is, he came back a better hitter than he was when he was demoted.

    Stand by this: 36-49 is bad, and the reason the Kingdome was empty those days. The fans were bored and the team was threatening to move. If it weren’t so bad, they wouldn’t have called up ARod. The talent was better then, but only because hindsight is 20/20. Felix and Iwakuma > Randy + anyone else pitching on that team. And let’s just admit that Lou wasn’t enamoured with Felix Fermin.

  84. just a fan on June 11th, 2013 3:39 pm

    So your vague statement meant you think Randy ’94 was better than Felix ’13. OK, whatever. That’s debatable. But even if you’re right, is the difference so big to think that A-Rod turned out fine with Randy but Zunino will be fucked because he’s stuck with Felix?

    The only difference I can think is that the 1994 M’s weren’t believed to be ruining young hitters. Which perhaps has some relevance. But then if that’s the case, Zunino is ruined anyway so who cares when he’s called up.

    Zunino will survive this call-up, regardless of Zduriencik’s motivations.

  85. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 3:40 pm

    “Felix and Iwakuma > Randy + anyone else on that team.”

    ANYONE else on that team? Because I’d take Randy and Griffey, or Randy and Edgar, or Randy and Buhner, or even Randy and Tino over those guys.

    Really, though, at the end of the day: Alex Rodriguez as a teenager was slaughtering all pitching in the minor leagues while Mike Zunino, as a 22 year old, can’t hit a curve ball in AAA.

  86. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 3:45 pm

    “So your vague statement meant you think Randy ’94 was better than Felix ’13. OK, whatever. That’s debatable. But even if you’re right, is the difference so big to think that A-Rod turned out fine with Randy but Zunino will be fucked because he’s stuck with Felix?”

    Where did I mention a correlation between the hitters and the pitchers? The talent level, which was largely hitters [as you yourself have pointed out], was much higher. I mentioned talent as a whole. It just so happens to turn out that Randy Johnson is a talented individual. But I digress. The team’s talent level was higher. Much much much higher. Ever so much higher. With an exhorbitant amount of hitting talent, there was zero pressure on an 18 year old kid to make an impact right off the bat.

    “The only difference I can think is that the 1994 M’s weren’t believed to be ruining young hitters. Which perhaps has some relevance. But then if that’s the case, Zunino is ruined anyway so who cares when he’s called up.”

    A-Rod, at 18, was murdering minor league pitching. Zunino can’t hit a curve. A-Rod was probably one of the top hitting prospects as an 18 year old. Zunino is not of that pedigree.

    “Zunino will survive this call-up, regardless of Zduriencik’s motivations.”

    I’m sure he’ll survive. I mean, Montero, Smoak and Ackley are all currently still among the living. Because he will continue to live does not mean that he’s dominated his league (as the Mariners have stated a player must do to move up), though.

  87. Typical Idiot Fan on June 11th, 2013 3:48 pm

    “Saving jobs” is an interesting narrative. Any particular reason you went with this one?

    Couldn’t it also just be that they know the season is over, punting it, and putting the kids in to see what they can do? If they’re SO desperate to save their jobs, it seems to me that the more obvious action would be to trade everybody for someone else’s studs. I don’t see how bringing up Zunino in June is any different than bringing up Ackley two years ago in June. Aside from Zunino not being ready, that is.

  88. Ianyo21 on June 11th, 2013 3:59 pm

    If anything, this could be more detrimental to their jobs. Calling up a top prospect when they’re clearly not ready is not a sign of desperation at all. It’s a HUGE risk and anyone walking on eggshells wouldn’t attempt it.

    If that’s the actual reasoning for it, I’m fine with them being run out of town. But I don’t think that is the case at all.

    Lets settle down a bit and wait a while to see how it shakes out. I’m willing to bet he’s sent back down when Sucre comes back.

  89. rick m on June 11th, 2013 4:01 pm

    Tourist, any fair comparison of Zunino’s minor league stats and ARod’s (at the time of his 1994 callup) do not demonstrate in any way that ARod was murdering minor league pitching whereas Zunino hasn’t. Zunino has been “murdering” minor league pitching as well: 14 home runs in 236 AA-AAA at bats. Yes, there are holes. But don’t overlook the impressiveness of this young man’s record to date.

    If anyone thinks the handling of 22 year old Zunino is horrible, then by comparison the handling of ARod was criminal: at age 18, in a single season, he was pushed through low A, AA, AAA and the major leagues.

  90. hailcom on June 11th, 2013 4:04 pm

    I think it is premature to judge this as a desperation move made to save jobs. If Zunino is only up as a stop-gap until Sucre is back because Stoppach is getting worn down and Bantz or another replacement-level catcher is seen as unacceptable for more than a few day stint, it is not that big a deal and suggests very different motivations than stated above. I hope Dave is wrong and Zunino is back in Tacoma in a few weeks. We’ll know pretty soon.

  91. spuuky on June 11th, 2013 4:06 pm

    If you really want me to believe that literally all you meant by the statement was “Randy Johnson in 1994 was better than Felix Hernandez in 2013,” then I believe you’re wrong, and the stats will back that up. But hey, let’s be snarky about it when people can’t parse our the ambiguity of our statements for us, and let’s all say “did I say that?” if anyone points out something we didn’t explicitly, directly state, as if implication isn’t something that exists in language.

    More on-topic, I have no idea if rushing Zunino will hurt or help him. I haven’t seen any studies to indicate the long-term effects of calling up players at different points in their development cycles.

  92. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 4:15 pm

    “Tourist, any fair comparison of Zunino’s minor league stats and ARod’s (at the time of his 1994 callup) do not demonstrate in any way that ARod was murdering minor league pitching whereas Zunino hasn’t. Zunino has been “murdering” minor league pitching as well: 14 home runs in 236 AA-AAA at bats. Yes, there are holes. But don’t overlook the impressiveness of this young man’s record to date.”

    Alex Rodriguez, as an 18 year old, hit .311/.359/.588, while striking out just shy of 20% of the time, in 128 PAs in AAA.

    Mike Zunino, as a 22 year old, has hit .238/.303/.503, while striking out just over 28% of the time, in 208 PAs in AAA.

    A-Rod literally beats Zunino in every offensive category except HR/PA. Which shouldn’t matter much as power is usually one of the last things a good hitter develops, and Alex Rodriguez did that 4 years younger.

    “If anyone thinks the handling of 22 year old Zunino is horrible, then by comparison the handling of ARod was criminal: at age 18, in a single season, he was pushed through low A, AA, AAA and the major leagues.”

    The difference is that Alex Rodriguez literally dominated each level. Mike Zunino, on the other hand, has not.

  93. Will Lofton on June 11th, 2013 4:21 pm

    Sent this article to the M’s ownership group.

  94. the tourist on June 11th, 2013 4:22 pm

    “If you really want me to believe that literally all you meant by the statement was “Randy Johnson in 1994 was better than Felix Hernandez in 2013,” then I believe you’re wrong, and the stats will back that up.”

    I guess that depends on what stats you want to use. ERA is a terrible statistic, of course, as it depends on fielders having range and multiple things that are outside of the control of pitchers.

    Felix 2013

    K/9: 9.4
    BB/9: 1.75
    H/9: 7.6
    HR/9: 0.6

    Randy 1994

    K/9: 10.7
    BB/9: 3.8
    H/9: 6.9
    HR/9: 0.7

    The stats say Randy was more dominant. More K/9, less H/9. Randy also pitched half his games in an environmentally controlled neutral park whereas Felix pitches half his game in a pitcher’s paradise.

  95. eponymous coward on June 11th, 2013 4:27 pm

    What I find interesting is that until this offseason, rebuilding through prospects (at the expense of any major free agent signings) was advocated as the primary way to build a sustained winner on this blog.

    It wouldn’t take too long to find decisions made by Zduriencik in the past that Dave didn’t agree with (hint: go to the search box and type in “Brandon Morrow League”).

    So your argument that somehow Dave has changed overnight from starry-eyed Zduriencik fanboy to hater’s a bit unsupported by actual evidence.

  96. G-Man on June 11th, 2013 4:29 pm

    Using the spot on the 40-man roster is an issue, but he’ll get Bantz’s spot, and he probably would have been up by September, so maybe not a huge deal.

    Let him play the majority of the games for a couple weeks, then evaluate. He’ll probably go back down in favor of Sucre, but he’ll have lost his MLB virginity, so the next time will be a bit easier.

  97. spuuky on June 11th, 2013 4:35 pm

    How about FIP or ERA+ or WAR? Because those all say Felix Hernandez is a better pitcher.

    Strikeouts aren’t the only thing that matters. And even in the realm of fielding-independent outcomes alone (as you’ve listed) I’d much rather have a K/BB ratio of 9.4/1.75 than 10.7/3.8. That’s a substantial difference.

    And if you want to consider track records (because one season isn’t a great judgment, either) then Felix just benefits even more. The big advantage Randy Johnson has over Felix career-wise is all the stuff that happened AFTER 1994. And we have no idea what will happen with Felix after 2013, so we can’t pretend to compare that.

  98. qwerty on June 11th, 2013 4:39 pm

    How confident are we that Jack Z WANTS to save this job?

  99. eponymous coward on June 11th, 2013 4:40 pm

    And yeah, Zunino’s being rushed. Problem is that thanks to the abysmal roster constrction, he’s actually pretty clearly the best choice on the roster.

    I’m not sure this is “OMG MUST SAVE JOB” as opposed to “what the hell, we’re screwed anyways, play the kids”. At this point…why not put Morse on the DL and bring up Peguero?

    http://seattletimes.com/text/2021161624.html

    Yes, I know, Peguero sucks. But can he suck worse than a crippled Mike Morse, who’s not hitting while he’s playing hurt?

    The sad part about the 2013 Mariners is it was pretty obvious this roster was pretty flawed coming into spring training. And wow, who could have known? Well, pretty much everyone.

  100. qwerty on June 11th, 2013 4:53 pm

    I’d rather see Thames myself.

  101. nwade on June 11th, 2013 5:00 pm

    WOW has this comment thread really spiraled out of control…

    FACT: Zunino hasn’t ever been with the Big League club. He’s never worked with the Mariners team during the season. He has no reason to know the pitchers, coaches, or position-players ANY better than some outside veteran that the team could’ve bought for cheap. There’s no reason to believe Zunino could “give Shoppach a break” any faster/sooner than another veteran. Quite the opposite, actually: there’s a heck of a good argument to make that a veteran who’s worked with a lot of Big League pitchers and teams could garner respect/trust a lot quicker than some snot-nosed kid who’s fresh outta College and never done a 162-game grind.

    So I’m sorry; but anyone claiming that Zunino was our “best option” doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
    The Mariners gain NOTHING from having Zunino in the Majors right now, once you realize how inconsequential the cost of a veteran backup-catcher is for a couple of months.

    Put another way: We don’t know what it will or won’t do to Zunino; but you have to admit that there are _possible_ risks and downsides. If you’re a rational person, you weigh those risks against your potential gains. There’s literally NO substantive gains that Zunino provides this season:
    —–
    He can’t change the course of the season
    He doesn’t save the M’s a ton of money over another short-term backup catcher
    He’s not going to draw a ton of fans to the ballpark (until he is a proven performer)
    He doesn’t provide a major skill that cannot be acquired elsewhere
    —–

    Our potential downside is not well-defined, but could be very large. But WHY take the risk, for almost no gain (even in the most ideal of scenarios)? It is just NOT a rational or sensible decision.

  102. bookbook on June 11th, 2013 5:02 pm

    Bad move, but he’ll probably be back in Tacoma in two weeks, having had a chance to experience major league offspeed stuff, and knowing even better what he needs to work on and how critical it is that he do so.

    This won’t break Zunino, though it does strike me as counterproductive.

  103. sawsatch on June 11th, 2013 5:12 pm

    But he gets to play every day in Tacoma; not so here.

  104. qwerty on June 11th, 2013 5:26 pm

    “The Mariners gain NOTHING from having Zunino in the Majors right now, once you realize how inconsequential the cost of a veteran backup-catcher is for a couple of months.”

    So are you saying this decision came because the FO refused to spend more bad money?’

  105. nwade on June 11th, 2013 5:34 pm

    qwerty – Define “bad money”.

    There is a HUGE difference between spending tens-of-millions-of-dollars on the wrong player, and spending a-hundred-thousand-dollars on a temporary fix. A couple of months of major-league salary is a pittance.

    You’ve now got potential service-time issues with Zunino and if he does well he’ll cost you MORE than what you “saved”, when he goes to Arbitration! And if he flames out then you have to spend MORE hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars on another MLB catcher.

    This is in no way a cost-saving move for the organization.

  106. scraps on June 11th, 2013 5:43 pm

    Incredibly, some people will defend this. Probably here in this thread.

    Me, five hours ago. I didn’t anticipate how, well, ludicrous some of their arguments were. It’s discouraging; some of you deserve Z.

    Sigh. Man, I was happily encouraged by Z, through years of losing. Eventually I lost my enthusiasm, and finally realized, sadly, that Z was not right for the Mariners; but I never thought that he, Bavasi-like, would get desperate enough to do this.

    Well, actually, I should have known that Z was desperate when he assembled this outfield. Ah well.

  107. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 5:53 pm

    nwade-
    Except Zunino HAS caught these guys, in Spring, and in Tacoma (Bonderman, assuming Ramirez is coming soon, etc.)… I’m still against the decision, but your point was flawed a bit.

    Zunino can jump right in quicker than someone outside the organization (assuming no prior connection to the M’s)…

    Apples and oranges, and still not a good decision, but like eponymous said (and I said way up above) this decision has more to do with the craptastic way this roster was built than saving jobs, or rushing Zunino.

    And unlike Dave, I think as soon as Sucre is healthy, Zunino goes back to Tacoma.

    He’s playing the role of Bantz, and is better AND more familiar with the crop of pitchers currently on the roster.

    Just get him back to Tacoma, asap, please.

  108. eponymous coward on June 11th, 2013 5:59 pm

    So I’m sorry; but anyone claiming that Zunino was our “best option” doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    “on the roster” =! better than picking up someone who just got DFA’ed like Baker.

    I agree that it’s not a great decision, but the M’s may be in “screw it, play the kids” mode now…

  109. casey on June 11th, 2013 6:08 pm

    Count me as in favour of the move. A fun move – a reason to go to the ballpark, watch the game, root for the home team and players (last night’s lineup was horrible). That’s what baseball is for me – fun, a past time, sport. Russell Wilson worked out pretty good for Seahawks despite the risk of post traumatic stress of playing in the bigs early. He fills a need on many levels – I am pumped to see Zunino play – thumbs up from me.

  110. nwade on June 11th, 2013 6:14 pm

    “Screw it, play the kids” still only makes sense if you think playing the kids NOW will make you better in the long-run.

    Let’s look at the ideal scenario: Zunino comes up and becomes amazing. Is there any reason to suggest that he couldn’t have done the same thing later this season, or next spring? Is some small amount of extra MLB experience for Zunino _now_ at this very moment in history supposed to somehow make up for the extra money he’s going to cost the team (in that ideal scenario) when his service-time clock counts down sooner?

    Tell me how Zunino benefits MORE from occasional/part-time MLB playing time over his everyday duties in AAA.

  111. nwade on June 11th, 2013 6:19 pm

    casey – You’re talking about changing 1 man on the entire roster (OK, two if you count the DFA). Its not going to make the M’s much more-likely to win. In effect, you’re rooting for a bad team with occasional hope. And not hope because of a _good_ player being brought in; merely hope because that player is _unknown_.

    And in this case, like Felix starts, he’s probably only going to contribute once or twice a week; which means your odds of seeing a shitty game at the ballpark are still VERY high.

    I understand your emotional reaction, I do… But wouldn’t you rather have a team that was improving as a whole and was winning more often on a consistent basis – so that when you DO go to the ballpark you’re likely to see and enjoy a win? Aren’t games more fun when guys are getting on base and scoring runs with regularity?

  112. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 6:27 pm

    And if we want REALLY comical, off that charts shithouse luck with this lineup, we currently have no 1B in our midst…

    Morales is a late scratch for tonight. Alex Liddi is our 1B.

    No starting Major League catcher…
    No starting Major League center fielder…
    1/2 a starting Major League shortstop…
    No starting Major League first basemen…
    2/5′s of a Major League rotation…

    How did we get here?

    Yay Mariners.

  113. MrZDevotee on June 11th, 2013 6:28 pm

    nwade-
    “getting on base and scoring runs with regularity?”

    You’ll have to explain this statement… It makes no sense. Does this actually happen for other teams?

  114. JG on June 11th, 2013 6:40 pm

    Great. Wedge will have another opportunity to destroy a young bat. The front office and Wedge need to go.

  115. bookbook on June 11th, 2013 6:44 pm

    If they don’t start him five times a week, here, then they should be fired for that offense, alone.

  116. Bryce on June 11th, 2013 7:20 pm

    As an aside to all of the ARod talk in this thread, I seem to remember that part of his first contract with the M’s was that they agreed to major league call ups when rosters expanded. I don’t think the first year his call up to the big club had anything to do with his minor league performance. I think the M’s were contractually obligated to do it, whether he was hitting .200 or .400. So I’d hesitate to read anything in to what they did with him vs. Zunino.

    I freely admit that as I slide towards 40, my memory is probably failing along with everything else, but does anybody else remember this?

  117. vertigoman on June 11th, 2013 7:33 pm

    After reading Z’s comments I’m off the ledge. He did nothing but speak to the future and temper expectations for Zunino. Not exactly trying to sell tickets here.

    Halicom, Gman I’m right there with you. Square in the middle.

    Baker and Co is trying to make this about their ongoing war with everything Bloggy. Shut up and go back to preaching to the choir.
    Dave is probably over reacting a bit due to the overall context of the roster issue. Which Dave is 100% right about. I just don’t think this is about job security. They did call up Sucre first remember. also, GmZ actually made it sound like its temporary. So hopefully we can all chill out ( myself included) and enjoy watching Zunino K 3 times tomorrow instead of Shoppach.

    And honestly, who wants to go to a game and watch Brantz catch in Tacoma much less Seattle?

  118. scraps on June 11th, 2013 8:01 pm

    Baker “and Co”? You mean somebody has signed up as Baker’s Me-Too?

  119. NorahW on June 11th, 2013 8:23 pm

    Bryce, FWIW, Baseball Reference says A-Rod’s first MLB game was July 8, 1994. I think he was just doing so well at the AAA level that they felt the best thing they could do was to call him up. I don’t recall if he stayed the whole rest of the year though–also that was the season that was cut short by the strike.

  120. Breadbaker on June 11th, 2013 8:41 pm

    I don’t think ARod’s call up was contractually obligated. What I recall is that he was put on the 40 man from the get go. That’s a difference from Zunino right there. So any ARod call did not have any meaningful roster effect.

  121. eponymous coward on June 11th, 2013 8:51 pm

    Tell me how Zunino benefits MORE from occasional/part-time MLB playing time over his everyday duties in AAA.

    What part of “I agree that it’s not a great decision” and “Zunino’s being rushed” is not sinking in? Do I need to do this in Braille? Sanskrit? Interpretive dance?

    Let’s be clear: I DON’T THINK ZUNINO SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED UP. THE MARINERS SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING ELSE. YES, I AM SHOUTING BECAUSE APPARENTLY THIS MIGHT GET THROUGH SINCE NOTHING ELSE IS.

  122. vertigoman on June 11th, 2013 8:51 pm

    Scraps
    While I haven’t set eyes on his blog or “columns” in over a year I can guarantee the flock is still as spirited as ever.

    Lots of people that start or end posts with “sigh”. Never read the comments, words of wisdom from twitter of all places.

  123. nvn8vbryce on June 11th, 2013 8:59 pm

    MrZ, I can tell you how we got where we are, but it involves an anatomical
    procreative impossibility regarding Wedge and GmZ.

  124. Bryce on June 11th, 2013 9:46 pm

    I found what I was looking for after googling. Boras negotiated a provision into ARod’s first contact that required the Mariners to call him up to the majors by September 1994. I suspect it had something to do with starting his service time clock. So the bottom line is they called him up because they had to, not necessarily because it was the right thing to do. They probably pushed the timetable up because they knew the strike was coming.

    I’m glad I haven’t completely lost my memory.

  125. nwade on June 11th, 2013 9:55 pm

    Sorry, eponymous – I read your previous comment about “screw it, play the kids now” as a defense of the move/decision-making process.

  126. scraps on June 11th, 2013 10:43 pm

    vertigoman: Oh, i see where that comment about “Baker and Co” was, then. Baker’s Minions. I can’t believe there are people who look up to him. So he has published another wimp-filled attack on USSMariner, and the result is a temporary lowering the tone here to Times-land?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.