Steve Cishek and the Framing Effect

marc w · December 14, 2015 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Righty reliever Darren O’Day recently inked a four-year deal to remain with Baltimore which will earn him $31 million over four years. O’Day throws side-arm and often struggles to push his fastball past 86, but he’s undeniably one of the toughest relievers to hit in MLB right now. O’Day combines high strikeout rates with moderate walks, but as you’d expect from a soft-tossing righty, his success depends in part on his ability to generate weak contact. O’Day isn’t a ground-ball pitcher, but his funky arm angle and ability to back-door his slider to left-handed bats not only allows him to produce fly balls without too many HRs, it allows him to avoid the platoon splits that you’d figure given his pitches and how he throws them. Even a few years ago, giving a 4-year deal to anyone but an absolute no-doubt, lock-down closer would’ve been frowned upon (“they’re too volatile!” “You can just grow your own!”), and after Rafael Soriano and, to a lesser extent, Jonathan Papelbon’s deals went south, you’d be forgiven if you thought we wouldn’t see more such deals for anyone below the Chapman/Kimbrel/Jansen class, or lower AAV deals buying out free agency years for the likes of Ken Giles and Dellin Betances.

Obviously, the deal O’Day just signed – and the supportive reaction it’s received – is in part a sign of baseball’s financial health and the recognition not only that a shut-down bullpen can be critical to team success, but that some relievers really do seem to have the ability to “beat” their fielding-independent stats. That is, O’Day’s appearances come in highly leveraged situations, and he seems to have the ability to strand runners both due to his K rate and the whole infield-pops and opposite-field-texas-leaguers thing. Some may still quibble with this; giving $31m to a 33 year old seems risky, and if all relievers are volatile, the ones in their mid-30s who throw 85-88 might seem to be especially prone to it. Still, there’s no question that the market is more and more comfortable giving longer contracts to relievers. Relievers are getting more guaranteed money, over longer contracts – call it the Royals effect, after Kansas City’s bullpen-fueled run to consecutive AL Pennants and a WS Title, or chalk it up to the rising tide of MLBAM revenues or whatever, but it’s real, and it’s going to continue.

Carson Smith, as I’m sure you’ll recall, was the centerpiece in a trade for a young, cost-controlled *starting* pitcher this offseason, but you can *still* make the case he was undervalued. Smith’s 2.1 fWAR ranked 5th in baseball in 2015, the product of a great K rate and another kind of contact management: a freakish GB rate. His platoon splits, like O’Day’s, should be a problem despite the fact he throws 93, not 86: he’s a sinker/slider guy, two pitches that are generally the worst offenders in platoon split problems. Smith doesn’t backdoor his slider to lefties, he throws it in the same spot he throws it to righties, but the break and his deceptive delivery mean lefties just roll it over. Sure, sure, righties roll it over too, but lefties do so even more, and the *idea* of it – of defending against a weird slider you’re having trouble picking up out of Smith’s hand – makes his sinker more effective. Smith does it in a very different way to O’Day, but Smith too is able to pitch effectively against lefties: no lefty has homered off of Smith yet.

The Astros recently completed a trade with Philadelphia that sent young fireballing reliever Ken Giles to Houston. The Astros gave up young, hard throwing SP Vincent Velasquez (who K’d 25% of the batters he faced in the majors, and *35%* in AA last year), recently-drafted control artist Thomas Eshelman, and fly-balling back-of-the-rotation workhorse Brett Oberholtzer. Late last week, we learned that Philadelphia would *also* receive former #1 overall draft pick Mark Appel from Houston. The Phillies got quite a haul for Ken Giles, is what I’m saying. I think Wade Miley is a perfectly good #3-#4, and given his contract, that’s not a bad return, but the Giles package is categorically different. I think it’s possible that Giles may have drawn more interest from teams given his velocity, but again: Smith’s K rate was *better* despite pitching in the AL. You can hate fWAR for relievers all you want – Smith’s *FDP-WAR* was great too. Better than noted contact-manager Joaquin Benoit’s the last two years, better than Giles’, and on par with Andrew Miller’s – the guy who signed a 4-year, $36m deal last year. Smith is clearly in that Miller/O’Day class, but he makes the league minimum and, whether he wants to be or not, under the control of the Red Sox for 4+ years.

Ok, that’s a long-winded introduction to a post that’s supposed to be about Steve Cishek. The point here should be clear, but I’ll spell it out: how you feel about the M’s signing ex-Marlins closer Steve Cishek to a 2-year, $10m deal probably has a lot to do with your frame of reference for the move. On the one hand, Cishek looks an awfully lot like Darren O’Day, from the funky side-winding delivery to the domination of left-handed bats to the elevated strikeout rate. And hey, due to what may have been due to BABIP-luck and a weird but ultimately meaningless tired arm early in the year, he’ll have to take a *fraction* of what O’Day’s getting from the Orioles. The M’s bought low, and get a high-quality reliever’s bounce-back years for very little. From the other point of view, O’Day deal is completely irrelevant. The M’s needed a reliever to replace Carson Smith, and they got one, only older and with some serious red flags (Cishek’s velocity dropped by between 1-2 MPH last year), and signed him to a contract that’ll pay him roughly *10 times* what Smith would earn.

Advocates for seeing this as a great buy-low move might point out that given reliever volatility, shopping for relievers coming off of down years should be a clear arbitrage opportunity, and a way to add impact talent to the 2016 roster instead of waiting around for the overhauled system to produce another pre-arb-but-great reliever. The Smith fans would say that you can’t argue that reliever salaries are skyrocketing, or that relievers are increasingly seen as critical to team success, to justify the Cishek signing *AND* accepting “just” Miley and Aro in the Smith deal. The M’s would say that they used Smith to get something the team needed – starting pitching that would help the club in 2016 – and then replaced the bullpen hole by dumpster diving for an undervaled Cishek. Others counter that you can’t get a ton of credit for filling a hole that you’d just made after not accurately assessing how the league currently values relief pitchers.

That’s a lot of hypothetical arguing, and as is my wont, I’m not really interested in weighing in on one side or the other. If you read this blog at all over the past few years, you know I’m perhaps irrationally exuberant about Carson Smith, so I’ll say it was not a great imaginative leap for me to write from that side. But there’s definitely a case to be made that given salary inflation in general, a cheap starter and a cheap-but-great bullpen arm is worth more than a really cheap Carson Smith, some implied cash savings, and shopping for starters on the open market.*

Thus far, we’ve talked a lot about value and markets and not much about Steve Cishek, new Seattle Mariner. Let’s rectify that. Cishek has a very low arm angle, like O’Day’s, and has a similar pitch-mix: he throws 50-55% fastballs (overwhelmingly sinkers) and 45-50% sliders, with a handful of change-ups (a splitter, in Cishek’s case) mixed in. Like O’Day, Cishek throws his slider to lefties a lot, and like O’Day, he likes to keep his slider *away* from lefties. This has a couple of ramifications. For one, it allows him to grab some strikes-looking, and for another, it gets lefties to hit soft fly balls. Why? Because fly balls are more likely than GBs to be hit to the opposite field. The development of this backdoor slider resulted in both better K rates AND better results overall against lefties. Combined with a slight change in his approach with his fastball, and Cishek’s GB rate plunged in 2014 while his K rate rose.

This is essentially Darren O’Day’s approach. Despite the low arm-angle and the flurry of sinkers, O’Day is a *flyball* pitcher. Like Cishek, lefties hit fewer grounders against him than righties, but neither hits that many. O’Day shows the sinker early, then gets whiffs with his (slow) four-seamer by throwing it later in the count after batters, especially lefties, have seen his slider and sinker. Cishek *used* to do this, but hasn’t thrown his four-seamer much at all in recent years. Brooks has his throwing zero in 2015, but that’s likely a classification error – but that only highlights that Cishek wasn’t able to make his pitches distinct last year. O’Day’s command allows him to post walk rates that are much better than league average, but even so, he’s careful with lefties – he doesn’t pound the zone against them as much as he invites them to swing at pitcher’s pitches, only some of which are strikes. That was Cishek’s plan in 2014, but it fell apart in 2015. Last year, he walked/plunked 18 lefties, while striking out…18. Coupled with the somewhat alarming velocity loss, there are very good reasons why Cishek was first traded for a minor prospect midway through the year and then available cheaply in December.

Still, Cishek had a four-year track record in Florida that compares well with plenty of good relievers. The year after that run wasn’t great, but even with the lower velo and control problems, Cishek missed some bats and kept the ball in the park. After moving to St. Louis, the BABIP pendulum swung all the way back. While BABIP luck isn’t how you make your case for a new signing, it at least suggests that his ability to avoid barrels wasn’t entirely lost. It’s not so much that his BABIP was low in St. Louis as that the absurdly high rates in Miami weren’t indicative of his true talent.

Another player who has a similar approach and is even signed to a similar deal is the Astros’ Pat Neshek. Neshek has a funky arm angle, but, like Carson Smith, ends up delivering the ball higher than O’Day/Cishek. Neshek is something of an extreme fly-ball guy, and again, lefties hit more flies than righties do thanks in part to his delivery hiding the ball. He throws 90-91, or in between O’Day and Cishek, and his command is probably the best of the three. Late last year, Neshek started losing some velocity and he ended up scuffling badly down the stretch, though of course his Astros teammates were all playing poorly. Still, Neshek’s an example of someone with the same basic repertoire who’s able to succeed (mostly) at 90-91.

If he isn’t hurt, Cishek should add some value to the M’s pen, though exactly how much is hard to say. Steamer isn’t bullish, with a FIP/ERA in the David Rollins range. If he’s all the way back to his 2013-14 peak, he could add 1.5-2 FDP-WAR over the course of the deal. At this point, the M’s are handing him the closer’s job, so if he *is* effective, the innings he pitches figure to be pretty important ones.

* Yes, I realize the omission here is any discussion of Roenis Elias. If you think he’s got some value (and some of the projection systems do), then the M’s POV is harder to understand. If you don’t, and there are likewise many who’d agree with you, he’s simply not good enough to change the shopping list very much.

** This is just a random aside, and I thank you for reading all of this just to get some random thoughts that don’t quite fit the rest of the post, but here goes: the wisdom of the “buy low” FA signing seems well-studied and supported and all of that, but how often do RELIEVERS lose it for a year or two and then bounce back? I mean, we say relievers are volatile, but are we really saying that a successful reliever has only one way to go? Look at a list of great relievers from 2012-2014, and sure, many of them fared poorly in 2015, though injuries had a lot to do with that. Who are the guys who were great, then struggled, then turned good again? I hate to bring it up, but does Fernando Rodney count? I think Joaquin Benoit probably does, as does Joe Nathan. Mark Melancon’s 2011-2012-2013 looks purely, violently volatile, but while Glen Perkins’ 2015 was better than his 2014, but it wasn’t anything like his 2012-13. Anyone know of any studies on this?


38 Responses to “Steve Cishek and the Framing Effect”

  1. Longgeorge1 on December 14th, 2015 6:36 pm

    Wouldn’t a guy like Day, who doesn’t have velocity to start with be more likely to retain his effectiveness than a guy who has relied on velocity? I think Jamie Moyer is an example of a guy who once he learned how to pitch, remained effective. I can think of “junkballers” going all the way back to Hoyt Willhelm that pitched forever. There have been few Nolan Ryans and Randy Johnsons.

  2. bseblfevr on December 14th, 2015 9:38 pm

    Thanks for reminding me how totally sick I was in giving up Smith AND Roenis!…and giving up 4 years of team control made it worse. This was a Bavasi trade. We are now older and paying out more money…don’t even start on Lind and his poor defense. Never thought I’d want Smoak back…just to see what Edgar could do with him. Gosh he was so good with the glove, even LOMO wasn’t too bad.

  3. ck on December 14th, 2015 11:17 pm

    Where is the frakin’ Framing Effect ? Nevermind. You mentioned, Moyer, Jamie, practicioner, and past part of the next big thing…Undervalued mental approach. Something Dipoto wants, with the Sevais and McKay signings, the M’s new horizon / frontier.

  4. Mike Snow on December 14th, 2015 11:18 pm

    From the title of the post, I initially assumed this was going to be all about how Cishek’s catchers (past, future, or both) either are or aren’t helping his ability to get strikes. So I really wasn’t that surprised if the post took a while before it got to talking about Cishek himself. It’s just that the extended lead-in turned out to be a whole different kind of analysis than I expected.

  5. bookbook on December 15th, 2015 4:18 am

    Gentle readers, the concept of “framing” is much older than the current obsession/fad with catchers framing pitches. For an illustration of what it means, read the first few paragraphs of the piece above.

  6. eponymous coward on December 15th, 2015 6:30 am

    Never thought I’d want Smoak back…just to see what Edgar could do with him. Gosh he was so good with the glove, even LOMO wasn’t too bad.

    Justin Smoak has never posted positive defensive run numbers on Fangraphs.

    He’s not as bad as Lind, but Lind is much better with the bat.

    It makes sense, they’re both slow, low-range guys. We’re not talking Keith Hernandez playing halfway to second here.

    What makes you think that Edgar’s going to be magic baseball career-improving beans for Smoak but not for Lind- is Edgar’s magic as a batting coach only applicable to guys you like? Dude’s pushing 30. He’s had 2500+ PAs. He’s a finished product.

  7. Rengaw on December 15th, 2015 7:15 am

    Dipoto had few alternatives on how he was going to build the team giving he wasn’t going to send Cruz, Cano, Seiger, or Felix down the road for prospects/youth.
    With time constraints and a limited budget, he set out to find players that would fit his vision of how he foresaw the Mariners playing. No player he signed was the perfect solution but, in my opinion, he gives the M’s a chance to be a competitive ball club if the majority of his moves pan out. If the Mariners can win a few games over.500, I would consider that a turnaround and a start in the right direction. Of course, Dipoto is going to make significant changes once he sees how this team is going to pan out on the field. I just hope he doesn’t listen to the likes of us (arm chair GM’s) when he decides it is time to move Felix, Cruz, or other fan favorites.

  8. casey on December 15th, 2015 8:09 am

    thinking Edgar should save his magic dust for Zunino before we start thinking about all the other guy’s careers he could save. Personally I think we way overrate Edgar’s coaching magic but hoping to be proved wrong.

  9. MrZDevotee on December 15th, 2015 10:27 am

    Along with what Casey and eponymous said– If Edgar Martinez could magically fix bad hitting, we wouldn’t have needed to blow up the roster and rebuild it. You’d basically need to believe that coaching is what kept the Mariners from winning last season. I think he probably has some great ideas and concepts to offer, in the sense of helping guys have a proverbial “idea of what they want to do” during at bats, but asking for a miracle is not exactly fair to Edgar. We know who most of these players are. I’m tired of relying on voodoo spells to try to get “maximum” performance out of below average players. Lind is a fine defender with bad range (pretty much like Smoak), but a definite upgrade at putting the ball in play and getting on base.

  10. globalalpha on December 15th, 2015 10:53 am

    Great article. Just an aside question on this statement: “I think it’s possible that Giles may have drawn more interest from teams given his velocity, but again: Smith’s K rate was *better* despite pitching in the AL”.

    I understand NL *starting* pitchers get an easier time of it as they face the pitcher while AL pitchers go up against a DH. But does that apply to relievers? Generally they’ll face a PH most of the time, won’t they? Is there another reason why NL pitchers have an easier time, or is that mostly it? I suppose most PHs probably aren’t quite as good as the average AL DH (Mariners 2008-2014 notwithstanding), so that’s still something. But should the mental adjustment be significantly softer for relievers than for a starting pitcher?

  11. Notfromboise on December 15th, 2015 11:15 am

    Rengaw – The brewers got 3 teenagers for the final year of Lind’s contract. I *assure* you that the above sentence proves we’d never, ever get any value whatsoever in trading Cruz or Cano’s massive contracts. There is no rebuild, its a ‘win now’ mentality across the board. You are right in that its a ‘scorched earth’ approach, and we don’t have much to rebuild with, both in the farm system and on the major league roster.

    As for Jamie Moyer, I remember his days on the Cubs and Rangers. Outside of the bible, his emergence from laughingstock of the league into a perpetual threat to win 20 games a year, was indeed the greatest story ever told. Modern day equivalent would be Hector Noesi never having the season he had last year and bouncing around the league another 5 years posting 5+ ERAs in middle relief… then catching fire in 2020 and posting 4 WAR seasons into his 40s.

    I almost used Montero as the example but could not because at one point people thought Montero was a prospect and could hit. No one ever believed in Moyer.

  12. Hutch on December 15th, 2015 1:48 pm

    I’m trying my best to wear rose-colored glasses with both the Smith deal and the Cishek signing, but it’s tough. Brooks Baseball shows that he began nibbling more and more with the FB/SI/CT/hard stuff as its gone down in velocity. Aside from a change/split show-me pitch, he’s never really had a third weapon to rely on like Neshek or shown the ability to outperform his FIP, limit hard contact or work with lower velocity like O’Day. I’m assuming that Dipoto and Co. have some plan in mind for a mechanical tweak that can get some of that velocity back, because he’s pretty worthless otherwise. Call me skeptical – velocity is a young man’s game.

    I actually like Miley (and his contract) a lot in the context of the market for comparable pitchers like Mike Leake, but if I were presented with a choice between Miley/Aro and the package that Giles fetched, I’d take the Giles package every day of the week, 2016 be damned.

    It’s generally kind of frustrating to watch your new GM have to do his best Billy Beane impression during one of the best free agent classes in recent memory.

  13. Rengaw on December 15th, 2015 9:28 pm

    I seem to recall Cishek in an interview saying he struggled early last season trying to find his usual arm angle. Could this be significant enough to drop some velocity off his pitches?

  14. Notfromboise on December 15th, 2015 10:26 pm

    Arm angle issues would lend itself moreso to breaking pitches and keeping the ball down/up. No way they signed Cishek expecting him to regain velocity, they are merely expecting him to miss more bats and/or generate weaker contact.

    Mariners now being linked to Jay Bruce, fwiw. Honestly after Dipotos prodigious offseason, if I was a beat writer I’d link the Mariners to anyone on the market, too. Bruce’s .222/.289/.406 slash line the last two seasons couples with a -0.3 WAR is pretty horrific. I can’t imagine the Mariners having much interest there.

  15. Dennisss on December 17th, 2015 9:58 am

    Man, if we can still sign Kuma, this team could look so much better.

  16. ck on December 17th, 2015 12:05 pm

    MLB Trade Rumor update states Dodgers are, “…reworking …” their deal with Iwakuma.

  17. Westside guy on December 17th, 2015 12:28 pm

    Yeah, if the third year was the hold-up and now the Dodgers are worried about his physical… a guy can dream, anyway!

    But I agree – it would be nice to not be reliant on two young pitchers both coming through, as well as a average-y veteran who’s main skill is staying healthy (note that I’m not discounting the innate value of 200 dependable but average innings).

  18. Dennisss on December 17th, 2015 12:34 pm

    Exactly Westside — to me, “reworking” means there is no agreement in place. I would not be surprised if Iwakuma’s agent has placed a call to Jerry Dipoto (or the other way around) just in case.

  19. Notfromboise on December 17th, 2015 12:50 pm

    King, Iwakuma, Miley, Walker, Paxton.. Dear lord, that would make Paxton the 5th starter. Thats a super deep rotation.

    I don’t hold out much hope, but wow that would be simply incredible.

    I refuse to live in a world where the Dodgers balk at paying Zack Greinke into his age 37 season, yet pull the trigger on Iwakuma into age 37 days later.

    Ok, typing that out, suddenly I’m not even sure what makes sense anymore. Did the Dodgers hire JackZ? Did I miss a memo? Thats batspit insane.

  20. MrZDevotee on December 17th, 2015 1:40 pm

    re: Iwakuma
    The Dodger deal is gone according to a couple Japanese sources, after the failed physical. They may well try to sign him to a shorter, more team friendly deal… But the door is officially open for him to sign other deals.


  21. Eastside Crank on December 17th, 2015 6:48 pm

    The Iwakuma deal was dead once the Dodgers’ faithful reacted to trading the best pitcher in baseball for the one most likely to break down. The Dodgers are trying to save face and at least find a younger pitcher with promise. We will see how other teams value Iwakuma over the next week. My guess is that the Mariners offered him the best deal he will receive.

  22. Westside guy on December 17th, 2015 9:26 pm

    Divish thinks Kuma’s price probably came way down after that news broke – so he might be a lot less expensive now. I’m sure Dipoto is talking to his agent, as are probably quite a few other GMs.

  23. Westside guy on December 17th, 2015 9:36 pm

    THEY GOT HIM!!!!

  24. Notfromboise on December 17th, 2015 9:50 pm

    Holy cow.. was doing laundry and fell asleep on the couch.. woke up to an official tweet… Hoping its real and we actually got Iwakuma..

    WE GOT HIM! (ps dont pinch me)

  25. mrakbaseball on December 17th, 2015 9:53 pm

    It’s like he never left, weird.

  26. Notfromboise on December 17th, 2015 10:01 pm

    Is our off-season officially over now? The only crazier thing I could have seen on my twitter updates would be ‘Mariners get Smith back from Red Sox for player to be named later: Willie Bloomquist”

  27. ck on December 17th, 2015 10:45 pm

    GM Dipoto proved getting Hisashi Iwakuma re-signed was a Mariners priority. Truth be told!
    If these new, improved Mariners stay healthy, 2016 will be the best Season to enjoy in a very long time.

  28. Westside guy on December 17th, 2015 10:49 pm

    I realize there are political aspects to the wording on official announcements, but it does sound like perhaps the owners were willing to give Dipoto some budget leeway to move fast on Kuma when the opening appeared.

    It gives me hope.

  29. Notfromboise on December 17th, 2015 11:06 pm

    Next obvious question:

    Hernandez, Iwakuma, Miley, Wallker, Paxton, Karns.

    We got 6 starters. Whats next on the horizon? Ozuna or Puig? Seriously, we have 6 MLB-level starting pitchers….

    This has been the most fun I’ve had in a mariner offseason, like, ever.

  30. Westside guy on December 18th, 2015 12:34 am

    Well, as Greg Johns pointed out… lets wait until it’s Spring Training and we’ve got 6 healthy starting pitchers before we start worrying about what to do with them all.

    Kuma, Walker, and Paxton all have track records involving time missed due to health concerns.

  31. Notfromboise on December 18th, 2015 1:24 am

    Good point. Though we also have Nuno and Montgomery in the system/pen.

    Dipoto’s not going to break camp with 6 legit starters and still needing a platoon split for Lind and extra OF/DH options. Intuition just tells me we can actually watch the result of a sluggish offseason market for outfielders with a little more interest, thats all. Or another solid arm in the pen.

    Honestly I never expected us to have a complete, improved roster.. And to have assets to spare is just simply overachieving.

  32. Dennisss on December 18th, 2015 7:01 am

    This certainly puts a big punctuation mark on an already-interesting off-season. Amazing that Dipoto’s biggest move so far came after we thought the dealing was pretty much done and this particular move was no longer possible.

    I’m starting to like this guy.

  33. MrZDevotee on December 18th, 2015 8:32 am

    This gives me warm fuzzy feelings about ‘Kuma… He was chasing the money the Dodgers threw him, which I don’t begrudge him one bit, but once he wasn’t going to get overpaid (meaning a guaranteed 3rd year), he decided to sign where he really wanted to be…

    With us.


  34. eponymous coward on December 18th, 2015 8:41 am

    Good point. Though we also have Nuno and Montgomery in the system/pen.

    And based on last year, keep them there unless we need a spot start or three.

    Having to actually FIGHT your way into the bottom part of the rotation instead of having a rotation spot handed to you by default is an amazing luxury we should be happy to have, especially since three of those guys have injury history. We can lose one and it’s not much of a speed bump.

  35. MrZDevotee on December 18th, 2015 8:42 am

    Also, I don’t think we have too many starters at all… I think good teams need at least 7-8 legitimate starters to make it through a season. Like most good teams, you have a competition for the starting rotation, and then add depth to your bullpen. Paxton needs to show he can pitch and stay healthy… So I could see a scenario where Paxton and Hultzen (DiPoto wants to see him stay healthy in a bullpen role, and he’s a lefty!) both bring depth/solidity to the bullpen, and can spot start when needed (assuming the stories of Hultzen being healed are true).

    Karns or Paxton

    Karns or Paxton
    Sanchez (Rule 5)
    Rollins (or?)

    ps- I realize the Hultzen thing is some dreamcasting on my part, but he has the talent if he can stay healthy to be a nice bullpen lefty. I like the M’s idea of transitioning him there and think he can flourish if he accepts that role for himself.

  36. eponymous coward on December 18th, 2015 8:46 am

    Also, I don’t see anything wrong with using Montero as the 1B/DH platoon option for some of the lefty bats on the team. This team is old, comparatively speaking, given that its core is another year older and we’ve swapped guys like Zunino for Iannetta and LoMo for Lind. We should have some younger players in some roles on it. It’s reasonable to see if he can take another step from his AAA season last year.

  37. MrZDevotee on December 18th, 2015 10:14 am

    I think Montero is a perfect bench/platoon guy, who can possibly play himself into a bigger role. Always nice to have RH power on the bench, or for tough lefties… His stats last year say he has nothing left to prove in AAA. Sink or swim time. If they didn’t see something in him, he seems like EXACTLY the type of guy Dipoto would have traded away by now.

  38. Rengaw on December 18th, 2015 1:47 pm

    Even if one disagrees with a few specific deals Dipoto did this off season, you can’t help praise him for “getting the job done” in remaking this ballclub. The Kuma deal was icing on the cake for Dipoto. One would certainly think, Notfromboise, the off season is officially over, but Dipoto doesn’t seem to know when to stop.
    A Mariner fan who sentimentally adheres to the status quo and doesn’t relish roster changes, may not care much for how Dipoto runs the show. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Jerry D. had a little sit down with Pete Carroll and Company. The M’s are in such good shape with the starting pitching now. We have players legitimately competing for a starter’s spot.

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