Taijuan Walker To Make Life More Interesting

Jeff Sullivan · August 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I remember an awful lot about Felix Hernandez’s major-league debut in 2005. I hardly remember anything from conversations I had with people literally just last night, but Felix’s debut is crystal clear. I remember exactly how I felt, exactly how excited I was all morning long. I remember exactly where I was when I tuned in, and I remember almost exactly how I explained it to my boss, since I was at work. I remember exactly what I said when MLB.tv loaded up for the matinee in Detroit: “just what the **** is up with this camera angle?” And I remember dealing with that camera angle, willingly, because I didn’t have a choice, but more because, whoa, Felix.

Taijuan Walker is not Felix Hernandez. He’s not that level of prospect, and he probably won’t become that level of pitcher (today be damned) (seriously) (like, damned, literally). But Walker is one of the very best pitching prospects in baseball, and he’s Mariners property, and he’s going to make his big-league debut this coming Friday against the Astros, taking Aaron Harang’s place in the rotation. Walker’s debut, then, won’t come with the anticipation preceding Felix’s debut, but we’re all collectively more desperate now, and I remember what it was like when we first got glimpses of Michael Pineda. This should be kind of like that. Walker is that kind of electric.

And incomplete. They’re all always some degree of incomplete, and Walker’s definitely still got work to do. Pineda didn’t yet have a good changeup. Walker doesn’t yet have a consistent pitch below the high-80s. All the Mariners’ pitching prospects are flawed, and they could’ve played it safe by giving Friday’s start to, hell, I don’t know, Blake Beavan. Hector Noesi. Someone uninteresting but someone we wouldn’t have to pay close attention to, someone who could suck without it mattering. It’s going to be Walker, though — there’s a press release and everything — and there’s a buzz. If nothing else, the news is a convenient distraction from the fact that the Mariners suck again.

As usual, I could approach this with a negative perspective if I so desired. There’s a good argument to be made that Walker shouldn’t be coming up yet. After throwing a bunch of strikes early on with Tacoma, more recently Walker has struggled with his location. Everything but his fastball has been inconsistent, and he doesn’t have the wipeout slider that Pineda was able to rely on. Walker, also, will gather a month’s worth of big-league service time, making it more likely the Mariners won’t bother caring about that potential seventh year of control. This feels like it’s a pattern for them — it’s noble, arguably, but it’s also business-inefficient. This can be messy to discuss.

And Walker isn’t on the 40-man roster. He’s about to be. The Mariners have open slots, so they won’t have to dump anyone, but they didn’t need to give a spot to Walker yet. They could’ve used that spot elsewhere, say, on a talented waiver claim or what have you. Dave has written in the past about the value of 40-man roster flexibility, and it’s not irrelevant. It’s one of those things that matters a little bit, and if you put together a bunch of things that matter a little bit, you can end up with one towering pile of beans.

But I can’t summon the energy to actually be down about this. Sure, it’s not the best move the Mariners could make, and they haven’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt, but, it’s happening, and the upside is that Walker is neat. So maybe he’s not ready. He could benefit from the brief experience, and Friday he’ll just have to go through the Astros instead of a real team with real players on it. The Mariners probably weren’t going to utilize any service-time shenanigans. And the Mariners probably weren’t going to use their 40-man roster flexibility all clever-like. And there are players on the roster who probably don’t need to be, and how often do waiver claims end up mattering? Oddly, this would be a more questionable move were it made by a sharper organization. This being the Mariners, it feels like less is lost. They aren’t going to be brilliant about things, so now they’ll be non-brilliant while paying Walker more money.

And at the end of the day, Taijuan Walker is going to make life more interesting. Not for long, not in 2013 — he’s approaching an innings limit. But he gives people something to care about, at a time when it’s otherwise terrifyingly easy to forget the Mariners exist. With guys like Nick Franklin and Brad Miller and Mike Zunino, it’s fun to catch glimpses of a possible future in which they’re solid regulars. Walker could and should offer glimpses of more than that — sometimes, Walker’s going to look like an ace, and people love potential aces. Potential aces allow people to daydream, and if Walker does well, people will be illustrating futures with Felix and Walker at the front of the rotation. Hell, if Walker’s really good, right away, on his own he could make people think 2014 could be a special year. One player, of course, can’t make that kind of difference, but there are people desperate to grasp, and Walker’s talent is eminently graspable.

This feels like an opportunity to not have the season end on a sour note. If Walker pitches well, people will get ahead of themselves. If he doesn’t, at least people will have seen his fastball and his cutter and his curve and the rest, and they’ll imagine a more controlled, harnessed future. Nothing tickles the baseball fan quite like pure stuff, and Walker’s got it. He’s also got the look and the personality, so already he’s likable, without having ever thrown a pitch in Seattle. Taijuan Walker’s promotion is a thing to care about.

The Mariners haven’t been interesting. People thought they would be, when they introduced the youth infusion, but bad baseball is bad baseball, no matter who’s performing it. One way to make baseball more interesting is to play better at it. Another way is to add more youth. More youth is being added, and even though it’s probably not a terrific decision on the organization’s part, it’s by no means crippling, and all we want as Mariners fans is to be able to give a crap about the Mariners. Every last one of us can give a crap about Taijuan Walker.

Comments

54 Responses to “Taijuan Walker To Make Life More Interesting”

  1. Westside guy on August 28th, 2013 10:09 pm

    I am looking forward to seeing him pitch.

    Having said that – I think we’ve seen Jack Zduriencik make a number of moves this season that are not in the club’s longer term interest but are done with an eye towards improving his own short term job security. Some, like Franklin, may actually backfire in that regard. Miller and Zunino may have helped his standing with his bosses. But in any case this smells like another one of them.

  2. Dobbs on August 28th, 2013 10:13 pm

    If we don’t have a guy who can measure talent effectively at the big-league level, it’s just hard to continue caring/watching when life is so busy with so many other things to do.

  3. CAMariner on August 28th, 2013 10:24 pm

    This is exciting news to say the least. A glimpse to what this team can be. The Mariners will eventually be able to create a nice group of young core players and I hope that everything works out for them.

  4. californiamariner on August 28th, 2013 10:53 pm

    At this point, I’m just excited to see him pitch. I don’t necessarily agree with the decision at this point, but I’m not going to worry about what I can’t control. Might as well enjoy him and hope for the best.

  5. killeverything on August 28th, 2013 11:21 pm

    Well said, Westside.

  6. PackBob on August 28th, 2013 11:33 pm

    I suppose there is a perfect time to bring up a prospect, and if there is it would be tailored individually. Each guy has a different level of raw talent that got him where he is, and each guy has different aspects of his game that are more ML-ready than others. I have no idea how ready Walker is, but I’ll be waiting with some good hindsight analysis.

  7. henryv on August 29th, 2013 12:08 am

    I’ve kinda given up on the whole hope thing. Felix sucking had really taken all the joy out of m’s baseball. Come he’ll our high water, we had Felix. Now we are back to wish in one hand and shit in the other.

  8. djw on August 29th, 2013 4:53 am

    You’re more forgiving than I. Pissing away 40 man flexibility to start a not-ready pitcher who should probably be shut down soon in a desperate marketing gimmick pisses me off.

  9. rick m on August 29th, 2013 5:06 am

    You can’t keep trotting out your organization’s second or third level talent because the your best talent “isn’t ready”. Walker is more ready than everyone except maybe three starters in our organization. Brad Miiller was more ready than anyone in our organization for shortstop. Nick Franklin was more ready for second base than anyone in our organization, unless you wanted to create a hole at third. Zunino, same thing.

    First step for any organization, smart or stupid, is to play the guys who are most deserving and ready to contribute. Fans are going to Safeco to watch service clocks.

  10. rick m on August 29th, 2013 5:55 am

    Fans AREN’T going to Safeco to watch service clocks.

  11. ivan on August 29th, 2013 6:11 am

    I’m with rick m. I just tune out all this shit about service clocks. It’s a pitcher, for crying out loud. Any pitcher could blow out a rotator cuff at any time.

    When I was a kid, in 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers brought up a left-hander from the Texas League (AA then, as now) in September. His name was Karl Spooner. First start: Three-hit shutout, 15Ks. Second start: Four hit shutout, 12Ks. The Dodgers and their fans were ecstatic. Next spring, Spooner blew out his arm, and that was all she wrote.

    It’s just plain ridiculous to go on and on and on ad infinitum, ad nauseam, about service clocks, 6-7 years from now, when dealing with pitchers. You mention it once. It has a value greater than zero. But people elevate it to a major consideration. Get a clue. It isn’t.

  12. terryoftacoma on August 29th, 2013 7:10 am

    There are some here that have reached the point that any decision by this management group, no matter what it is, is wrong. Once the believers lose faith it can get pretty bitter around here.

    I would argue against this move because I don’t think he’s ready. I didn’t think Pineda was ready, either.

    Service clock and roster flexiblity are bogus points. This is a pitcher. We have no idea if he will be good or bad in 6-7 years or if he’ll even be pitching by then. As to roster flexiblity, adding him changes nothing. He replaces Harang and we still have 3 empty spots on our 40 man roster.

    I for one look forward to seeing him pitch on Friday.

  13. terryoftacoma on August 29th, 2013 7:21 am

    I miscounted that should be 2 empty roster spots and I might add we have some dead wood filling some of those.

  14. stevemotivateir on August 29th, 2013 7:31 am

    Yes, he makes things more interesting. I’d simply rather see him make things more interesting when he’s actually ready.

    Regarding service clock and roster space, it’s ridiculous for people to pass that off as meaningless, just because he’s a pitcher and there’s currently room.

    Everything should be taken into consideration. Little things like those can effect the team negatively, and it’s not like this team has flexibility for much error.

    This does appear to be more of an act of desperation for a GM on the bubble.

  15. WestyHerr on August 29th, 2013 7:37 am

    Welcome Taijuan! Prepare mentally for 2-1 losses.

  16. Sports on a Shtick on August 29th, 2013 7:38 am

    It isn’t about service clocks, it’s about development. A lot of fans wish the M’s would stop fucking with a player’s development.

    Maybe bringing up all these prospects earlier than they probably belong in the majors will pay off, perhaps it won’t. But if a great sports team is supposed to trust in the process and not the result… then the 2013 Mariners have done a pretty shitty job so far.

  17. eponymous coward on August 29th, 2013 7:39 am

    Pissing away 40 man flexibility to start a not-ready pitcher who should probably be shut down soon in a desperate marketing gimmick pisses me off.

    It’s not marketing. It’s trying to save Wedge’s and Zduriencik’s jobs. A year that was supposed to be “progress” is really “regress” so far- a demonstrably worse team that looks like it could easily do what last year’s team did, and mail it in the last month (the 2012 M’s were 11-18 after September 1).

    The part where all the kids are being thrown into the breach is sadly reminiscent of Bavasi and Brandon Morrow…

  18. stevemotivateir on August 29th, 2013 8:12 am

    ^Perfect comparison, eerily similar.

  19. ivan on August 29th, 2013 8:32 am

    “Yes, he makes things more interesting. I’d simply rather see him make things more interesting when he’s actually ready.

    Regarding service clock and roster space, it’s ridiculous for people to pass that off as meaningless, just because he’s a pitcher and there’s currently room.”

    Two things in response. (1) You don’t KNOW that he’s not ready, and neither do I, and neither does he. That’s why they they play the games. Whether a player is “ready” or not depends on the player. Pineda was ready. Zunino was ready. Maurer was not ready. It’s about what players actually DO, not about what we THINK. Nobody knows for sure before the fact.

    (2) I never said service time was meaningless. I said it had a value greater than zero, but that all other factors considered, it was ridiculous to blow it up into a major issue.

  20. casey on August 29th, 2013 8:36 am

    unfortunate that DJ Peterson has his jaw wired shut – he could be starting in LF for the month of September. Hmmm – maybe an improvement even with the little jaw thing…

  21. casey on August 29th, 2013 9:19 am

    I wasn’t thinking so much Morrow – more the 2005 Bavasi Mariners calling up Felix after only 14 starts at AAA as a 19 year old and Mariners dead last in AL West.

  22. ivan on August 29th, 2013 9:28 am

    Well, how about this? Michael Morse to the Orioles on waivers?

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/29/orioles-claim-michael-morse-off-revocable-waivers/

  23. heyoka on August 29th, 2013 9:37 am

    Minor issue: didn’t brush teeth last night.
    Major issue: didn’t brush teeth for years.

    Minor issues add up. It takes a lot to be disciplined and, this year, the M’s brass has shown little discipline

    However, this minor move may not be wrong even when you over-analyze it. Put simply, the Mariners got rid of an under-performing pitcher and replaced him with the best available option (ready or not). Sometimes the simplest baseball moves are the right ones.

  24. heyoka on August 29th, 2013 9:41 am

    Morse to the Orioles? yes please.
    If that happens, he’ll hit 20 more home runs this season, be healthy, and go on to a Hall of Fame career.

  25. Chasbo on August 29th, 2013 9:41 am

    FREE FELIX

  26. jephdood on August 29th, 2013 9:45 am

    Hopefully the M’s don’t just pull Morse back. I can’t stand to see him (or Raul) in the OF anymore.

  27. drw on August 29th, 2013 10:42 am

    On the 40 man issue, would the team have been obligated to add Walker to the 40 man over the winter? Isn’t that the relevant time when we need flexibility? In other words, isn’t the “40 man roster cost” question whom he bumps then as opposed to whom he bumps now?

  28. currcoug on August 29th, 2013 10:52 am

    Thank God we don’t have to watch Walker make his MLB debut…for the Diamondbacks.

    Deal Morse, bench Ibanez, and call up Almonte. IMHO, Almonte has earned a call-up. Almonte boasts a 1.012 OPS for August, with 5 HR’s, 2 triples, 6 doubles, and 5 SB’s…and a 1.228 OPS in his last 40 AB’s.

  29. eponymous coward on August 29th, 2013 11:22 am

    I wasn’t thinking so much Morrow – more the 2005 Bavasi Mariners calling up Felix after only 14 starts at AAA as a 19 year old and Mariners dead last in AL West.

    Felix wasn’t getting close to his pitch limit when he got called up in midseason. It’s a bit different.

    Deal Morse, bench Ibanez, and call up Almonte. IMHO, Almonte has earned a call-up. Almonte boasts a 1.012 OPS for August, with 5 HR’s, 2 triples, 6 doubles, and 5 SB’s…and a 1.228 OPS in his last 40 AB’s

    Small sample size, and the sample includes a significant number of games in Tuscon, Round Rock, and Albuquerque (read: those places inflate stats in the heat and/or altitude).

  30. casey on August 29th, 2013 11:26 am

    Morrow had pitched only 8 minor league games and none of them above A ball when he was made a middle reliever with the M’s out of spring training. That seems quite different too.

  31. rick m on August 29th, 2013 11:29 am

    Devious Jack Z: trying to save his job by calling up AAA studs, who time and again demonstrate they are the best players available. Who does this guy think he is? Rushing ballplayers who are succeeding in the Pacific Coast League. More Blake Beavan Please! And Robert Andino. Where’s Kelly Shoppach!

  32. casey on August 29th, 2013 11:32 am

    Taijuan Walker turned 21 years old in August. I looked at the top 20 pitchers of all time (based upon career WAR)(and non-active today and who started their careers after 1950). 12 of 20 made their MLB debuts at 21 or younger. So only 8 of 20 waited til they were 22 or older to make their debuts.

    This of course would have been true for Walker if he waited til 2014 to make his debut. Also of note not very many of these pitchers were very good as 21 year olds in the majors.

  33. VivaAyala on August 29th, 2013 11:52 am

    “Small sample size, and the sample includes a significant number of games in Tuscon, Round Rock, and Albuquerque (read: those places inflate stats in the heat and/or altitude).”

    While that’s true, it appears that Almonte has the third-best wOBA and wRC+ among qualified batters this year in the PCL, the latter accounting for the parks that Almonte has played in. http://www.fangraphs.com/minorleaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=4&qual=y&type=1&season=2013&team=0&players=0&sort=17,d

    There are no glaring weaknesses in his offensive game (plate discipline seems solid, as does power, and good speed too).

    It seems like he’s earned a cup of coffee, and I would be curious if he’s turned into anything.

  34. currcoug on August 29th, 2013 12:56 pm

    You nailed it Viva.

    I would also point out that Almonte has pretty much outhit everyone else on the Rainiers’ current roster…and they also play in “Tuscon, Round Rock, and Albuquerque”. Moreover, Almonte’s home/away split is .874/.906.

    Almonte has been solid for Tacoma for most of the year, which is a fairly significant sample size (335 AB’s).

  35. smb on August 29th, 2013 1:28 pm

    I’d love to go watch Tai pitch in person, but I won’t be donating to this charity case organization in the form of a ticket purchase until they show me something worth caring about in a cumulative sense. How we ended up worse than last year I don’t know…but it sucks.

  36. scraps on August 29th, 2013 2:29 pm

    First:

    There are some here that have reached the point that any decision by this management group, no matter what it is, is wrong. Once the believers lose faith it can get pretty bitter around here.

    Can we stop with all the mind-reading? People disagree. We ought to do that without mind-reading. Otherwise arguments get hot really fast, with no reason.

    Second:

    Fans AREN’T going to Safeco to watch service clocks.

    So? Sometimes fans are wrong. That’s why management is there. Again, we can argue, but if we start standing up for the fans, well, anyone can do that.

  37. scraps on August 29th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Also, sometimes fans know about service clocks. Like the ones here.

  38. stevemotivateir on August 29th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Two things in response. (1) You don’t KNOW that he’s not ready, and neither do I, and neither does he. That’s why they they play the games. Whether a player is “ready” or not depends on the player. Pineda was ready. Zunino was ready. Maurer was not ready. It’s about what players actually DO, not about what we THINK. Nobody knows for sure before the fact.

    (2) I never said service time was meaningless. I said it had a value greater than zero, but that all other factors considered, it was ridiculous to blow it up into a major issue.

    First, 57 innings in Tacoma with just 11 starts and already near his innings limit, to go along with a total of 12 walks in 3 straight games (prior to his last) in just 16 innings, tells me he isn’t ready. Could I be wrong? Sure. But decisions should be made looking carefully at the numbers and taking everything into consideration–and it certainly doesn’t appear that they’re doing that. Maybe Jack has his own method, though? Kidding. He’s desperate.

    Second, I wasn’t trying to single you out. But I was right, regardless. Sorry if that stung.

  39. rick m on August 29th, 2013 3:50 pm

    No, Scraps. The customer is always right, and I hope and expect that he has an expectation to see the best players in the organization on the field. If the Mariners started Blake Beavan tomorrow, not because he earned the start over everyone else, but because Walker’s service clock makes 2019 problematic, then the fan is being cheated. Big time.

    And you know who else is being cheated? Taijuan Walker.

    And it doesn’t matter really if Walker in your or my mind “isn’t ready” – the fact is, he’s more ready than Aaron Harang, Blake Beavan, and Hector Noesi. And that makes Taijuan Walker “ready”.

  40. scraps on August 29th, 2013 3:57 pm

    “The customer is always right”? You’re offering up a bromide is place of an actual argument? If that’s your style of reasoning, you’re welcome to it.

  41. rick m on August 29th, 2013 5:56 pm

    By all means Scraps, take your girl to a movie tomorrow night, and insist that it be an inferior one. Go see Planes, because even though it sucks, Disney will make money and with it they’ll make a better one that you can watch in five years.

  42. djw on August 29th, 2013 6:31 pm

    Zunino was ready

    WTF? He hadn’t yet learned to cope with AAA off-speed pitches, so he was ready for the majors?

    Obviously Miller was a perfectly defensible call-up. I thought Franklin was defensible at the time, but now I’m wondering. But the Zunino call-up was not remotely justified by his performance. His contact rate wasn’t nearly high enough to be a successful hitter in AAA, and it went down in the majors. It was a dumb move, pure and simple. His OPS was not good, but not obviously terrible, but look under the hood and you see someone who is, clearly, not a big league hitter yet. He obviously still had a lot to learn in AAA. The Walker call-up is dumb, but it’s way more defensible than Zunino.

  43. djw on August 29th, 2013 6:34 pm

    rick m, you seem to be arguing that no team should ever, under any circumstances, prioritize the future over the present when making roster decisions. You can’t possibly mean that, can you?

  44. rick m on August 29th, 2013 7:59 pm

    Djw: At the time of his injury, Zunino had an OPS+ of 91, and rising. Shoppach left at 86 and dropping. Zunino was an upgrade, and whenever you can upgrade the position, the player is “ready”. If you are waiting for all weaknesses to be smoothed out before promotions, you are unnecessarily hurting your club. All players have weaknesses. The main question is and should always be: are you a better team with this player in the lineup, or that player?

    Young players can learn in the major leagues, and still work on their weaknesses, just like veterans can. Stop thinking of players as either “minor leaguers” or ” major leaguers” and think of them as “baseball players.”

    Should a team never consider the service clock? No. Neither should they be a slave to it. To me, it comes down PRIMARILY to this: which player gives the team the best opportunity to win? That should be foremost..

    Pete Carroll encourages competition at all positions all,the time, and the best player plays. That’s most fair to both kids and veterans, and is conducive to promoting excellence throughout the organization.

    And btw, yes, being up Almonte. The dude is raking AAA, and in fact has raked all year.

  45. casey on August 29th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Rick – very nicely written – couldn’t agree more.

    No doubt Walker would continue to learn at Tacoma but think 3 starts for the M’s this year will be more beneficial long term for him and M’s as he prepares to join the Major League club rotation permanently for 2014.

    looking forward to watching tomorrow night’s game.

  46. stevemotivateir on August 29th, 2013 9:34 pm

    Zunino was an upgrade, and whenever you can upgrade the position, the player is “ready”.

    Uh, no. It doesn’t work that way. And you completely ignored the fact that there were available stop gaps on waivers that were more ready than Zunino and his 68% contact rate.

    Young players can learn in the major leagues, and still work on their weaknesses, just like veterans can. Stop thinking of players as either “minor leaguers” or ” major leaguers” and think of them as “baseball players.”

    Right, because the differences are so subtle, and guys like Smoak, Ackley, and Montero all showed how easy it is to figure things out at this level.

    No doubt Walker would continue to learn at Tacoma but think 3 starts for the M’s this year will be more beneficial long term for him and M’s as he prepares to join the Major League club rotation permanently for 2014.

    Three starts would be beneficial? And with at least one of them coming against Houston. That’s probably a stretch.

    I look forward to watching him pitch as well, but this move certainly wasn’t necessary.

  47. ivan on August 29th, 2013 11:20 pm

    “Second, I wasn’t trying to single you out. But I was right, regardless. Sorry if that stung.”

    You’ll have to do better than that to sting me bro. Your argument remains unconvincing.

  48. rick m on August 30th, 2013 1:37 pm

    Steve the Motivator: Ackley kicked ass his rookie season. Whatever problems he’s had since then, it is highly suspect an additional full season or two in Tacoma destroying that league would have been more beneficial than the very excellent season he had in the majors instead. Ackley can’t be challenged in AAA the way he is now.

    Zunino was playing better than any stopgap available out there, unless you want to name somebody else out there who was going to hit better than Shoppach, which Zunino did, while providing better defense, which Zunino did as well.

    And Montero had already spent two full seasons in AAA. His rookie season was actually pretty good. Smoak was not ready when the Rangers and then the Mariners rushed him up, even according to Z himself looking back. He was rushed – and barely had any time in AAA.

    Young players will hit a wall after the major leaguers adjust to their strengths and exploit their weaknesses. But I seriously doubt that when these players demonstrated their superiority at AAA, they were going to get tested the way they did at the major league level. And wouldn’t you prefer, if you are looking at the long road, that these guys get their struggling adjustment periods over as soon as possible, so they can settle in to be the big leaguers everyone expects as soon as possible? If Z thinks 3-4 starts this September will better prepare Walker for 2014, and move the clock to regular success (not to contractural desires) for a successful 2014 season. then this is a very smart move.

    I definitely see a flaw in forcing a kid through the system like Bavasi liked to so. But Z isn’t doing that. He isn’t jumping kids in from A or even AA ball. They are tasting success at the highest minor league level, and usually he lets them struggle there as well before promoting him.

    Walker has shown he is very successful at AAA. Maurer, otoh, was rushed from AA. Like I have said about 5 times already, IF HE IS THE BEST PLAYER AT THAT POSITION IN THE ORGANIZATION AND GIVES THE TEAM ITS BEST SHOT AT WINNING WHEN HE IS PLAYING AT THAT POSITION then it makes perfect logical and motivational sense to play him there. If he isn’t – then I don’t care how exciting a future he has, someone else should be playing there until he is. I don’t want to see, e.g., Almonte playing right field only because I am sick of watching Mike Morse there. I want Almonte because he is a better option AT THIS TIME.

    This is where I separate from Jeff – who admitted he was sick and tired of watching Ibanez, even when Ibanez was doing his Ted Williams impersonation. I thoroughly enjoyed Raul’s Ted Williams impersonation, and even if his glove sucked (and it actually wasn’t that bad during that time, he made some very good plays that saved runs) he was giving his team the best shot at winning by playing regularly. At this time, however, I think Almonte may be better.

  49. greentunic on August 30th, 2013 4:47 pm

    Nothing tickles the baseball fan quite like pure stuff.

    So true. Imagine if Charlie Sheen’s character in Major League had great control and bad stuff, instead of great stuff and bad control?

  50. stevemotivateir on August 30th, 2013 8:40 pm

    You’ll have to do better than that to sting me bro. Your argument remains unconvincing.

    Your response suggested you were offended. And I honestly wasn’t trying to be an ass, which was why I said.

    But I really don’t care if I convince you of anything. Just threw out my view on it.

    Steve the Motivator: Ackley kicked ass his rookie season.

    I’ll be honest, I only read the first two sentences of that novel and I have no interest if putting myself to sleep with the rest.

    But to address that first statement, Ackley’s rookie season was a short one. Small sample size. Maybe you took note of the people here comparing Franklin with him? And whatever you wrote, the bottom line is that, with exception to his first couple of months, he struggled pretty steadily for the better part of two seasons.

  51. Hunter S. Thompson on August 30th, 2013 11:52 pm

    rich m, I’d say don’t feed the troll, but I believe you are earnest in you statements. I strongly disagree with most of what you say, and I’ll try to lay out my case.

    As for the customer is always right. Common phrase in general true, but not always. As a customer I want to pay $1 for a box seat and $1 for a jag bomb at ballpark. I can’t get those, because why the M’s should care what I want they should also pay attention to basic economics and supply and demand. Thus as a smart club they should balance trying to put the best team on the field now, against what is best for the future of the team.
    You are right service time is overvalued, but it has value, a 40 man spot has even more value, but these values change depending on the team and its standing.
    If the M’s were 2 to 3 wins away from the wildcard I’d say yes bringing up a promising catcher when he can’t hit AAA pitching because he’s better then what you have, I’d agree. But in a year when the season is lost it a bad choice. He wasn’t ready and we could have saved the 40 man until he was ready to actualy help not just be not crappy at the MLB level.
    As for Walker great first start, but he’s walking over 4.25 per nine at AAA, Paxon that man who has control problems is walking 3.5 per nine in AAA. Service clocks are improtant to some but for me these are two players on the forty man that we did not need to add. It’s two players we can’t take a flyer on or two more we need to cut. We have given up too many free players to simpley give away 40 man slots.

  52. rick m on August 31st, 2013 7:49 am

    Hunter, I think much of what you say makes sense, and I suspect that if there was a big wig Mariner meeting over this decision, yours and Steve’s and Dave’s viewpoints were well represented – at least I hope they were. But at the end of the meeting, Z makes the call, and when I say say ” the customer is always right” or “best player plays” these may sound like bromides to one, but are more like principles that help guide an organization’s head decider when its really close. And this call is really close.

    As for the 40 man roster, I look over it and I see a lot of guys I simply would not lose sleep over if we sent them off. A lot. Now, one or two of them may come back to bite us, but the same Z who turned fodder into Jaso (and Jaso into fodder, let’s be honest) will pull someone else’s discards into a major league player.

    More importantly, a decision needs to be made whether Walker will be a building block going forward, or trade bait. I would imagine Z would like to see a few starts at the big league level to help him make that call.

  53. rick m on August 31st, 2013 7:56 am

    One other thing, Hunter: when you said, “don’t feed the troll” you instinctively went to a boiled down principle. But you correctly interpreted the situation here as one that may need to go beyond that quick an easily stated principle, and engaged me instead. I commend you for practicing what you preach (there I go again).

  54. stevemotivateir on September 1st, 2013 7:52 am

    rich m, I’d say don’t feed the troll, but I believe you are earnest in you statements.

    Troll? Really?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.