Game 159, Mariners at Athletics – Final Getaway Day of 2017

marc w · September 27, 2017 at 12:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Erasmo Ramirez vs. Kendall Graveman, 12:35pm

Following on from yesterday’s weird post, I want to talk briefly about the Mariners of 2006. That year, the M’s went 78-84, and signs of a rebuild following the nadir of 2004 abounded. At the same time, it’s kind of easy to spot a focus on a particular kind of pitcher that they used to bridge the gap between the 99-loss team of 2004 and the next great M’s club. The next year they won 88 games and made the in-hindsight-disastrous decision to go all in for 2008, but that’s besides the point. My point was that the M’s of 2006 were at a similar point as the 2017 group’s evolution, and apparently that stage comes with a ton of command/control pitchers. In both 2006 and 2017, the M’s traded some of their prospects for immediate help, and in neither season did that help make a material difference. In both cases, the front offices were a couple of years into their tenure, and while spotty, you could make the case that player development was improving.

Adam Jones had just gone from “I can’t believe the dumb M’s took him as SS and not as a RHP” to one of the most intriguing and valuable CF prospects in the game. Asdrubal Cabrera was 20 as well and expendable given the M’s glut of SS talent, kind of like Tyler O’Neill could go because there wasn’t a clear spot for him to play in Seattle. Ryan Feierabend was the beta version of Marco Gonzales, or maybe Bobby Livingston was? Maybe Clint Nageotte = Andrew Moore. Richie Sexson was still an effective slugger, like a younger, worse Nellie Cruz, and both clubs had great 3Bs locked up for a while. Both teams even had a frustratingly mediocre Felix Hernandez. This isn’t to say that this year’s M’s club is destined to wander the baseball wilderness for another decade, or that Marco Gonzales’ only chance at a long career will be in the KBO (though seriously, good on you, Ryan Feierabend). This isn’t to say that the M’s will rue the day they traded O’Neill the way the Choo and Cabrera deals still sting. It’s just an observation, a feeling of deja vu. The problem with 2006 was that the M’s made a bunch of decisions that ultimately crippled them, false dawn of 2007 aside. I’d argue the 2006 M’s had more talent to fritter away, and fritter it they did. The 2017 M’s won’t make the same mistakes, because they can’t. But they need to think carefully about next year, and what it’s going to take to compete with the Astros. The 2006 M’s saw a rising Angels club, a club that would beat the crap out of the M’s for the next several years, and sacrificed everything to try and keep up. The M’s need to learn the lesson of the Astros’ rise, AND the lesson of 2006 – real help needs to come from the bottom up. Thanks to the second wild card, you can buy a sort of contention. But you can’t buy (in talent or FA dollars) your way to parity with Houston/Cleveland.

1: Gamel, LF
2: Haniger, RF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Vogelbach, 1B
7: Motter, SS
8: Marjama, C
9: Hannemann
SP: Erasmooooo

Kendall Graveman came to the A’s in the Josh Donaldson deal as a low-spin, pitch-to-contact ground ball guy. Since that time, he’s added two ticks to his sinker and it’s now a HIGH spin pitch (even after accounting for the velo increase). After all of these fairly large changes, he remains pretty much *exactly* the same as he was in 2015. He showed flashes of becoming a high-K guy early in the year, but this year’s season line looks nearly identical to 2015’s. Which looks pretty much the same as 2016’s. He’s changed his pitch mix, his velocity, even how the pitches fly through the aid, but there remains an essential Kendall Graveman-ness to him that keeps him in the low-K, 50% GB, FIP and ERA in the mid-4s zone.


2 Responses to “Game 159, Mariners at Athletics – Final Getaway Day of 2017”

  1. mrakbaseball on September 27th, 2017 1:24 pm

    Bill Bavasi currently works as director of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. Oh, to be blessed with a last name.

  2. Westside guy on September 29th, 2017 9:47 am

    To be fair to Bavasi – just because you’re a terrible GM doesn’t mean you’re not good at all baseball tasks.

    Jack Z was seemingly pretty good at identifying draft-able young talent… he just unfortunately sucked at literally every other aspect of being a GM – including developing the young talent he’d acquired.

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