One Hundred Sixteen
Featuring Mariners-related rants, raves, and analysis.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
One last post before packing: I'm a little puzzled at some bloggers slamming Melvin for putting Myers out there in the ninth; yeah, a bad outcome, but here are the lines against lefties for the last three years:
Pitcher Average OBP SLG OPS
-------- ------- ---- ---- ----
Hasegawa .252 .326 .351 .677
Myers .236 .326 .366 .692
Yup, Myers and Shiggy had an identical OBP against lefties; it doesn't get any closer, folks, and given that Myers hadn't had any work yet, I say put him in. Anderson was also 0-for-8 lifetime against Myers--small sample, but I wouldn't ignore it.
The real problem is that I don't think Melvin gives a hoot about the numbers, he wanted a lefty/lefty matchup because it's "by the book", and was going to put a lefty out there even if they guy has a 1.200 OPS against and four broken fingers. I fully expect Melvin to make as many blunders as you would expect from a member of the Baseball Flat Earth Society; but I don't think this was one of them.
I was just starting to write a post about how great Freddie must have done (I was having to guess by the box score since I can't get MLB.tv to work at work either) when the wheels started coming off. I was okay with bringing in Myers to start the inning against Garrett Anderson. But then..did this really just happen? It's way too early in the season to be as depressed as I am.
If there is a silver lining today it belongs to Freddy, but other than that one positive development, this first series has mostly confirmed my fears.
Expect sporadic posts over the next week as I'm off to Arizona. D-Backs are mostly out of town so I'll have to make fun of Bank One Ballpark from a distance. I'll start now: imagine the Kingdome with the sunroof option.
As we await Ichiro's alleged new found plate discipline, I found this over at Clutch Hits:
Darrell May pitches to Frank Thomas
Pitch 1: Foul
Pitch 2: Ball 1
Pitch 3: Ball 2
Pitch 4: Ball 3
Pitch 5: Foul
Pitch 6: Foul
Pitch 7: Foul
Pitch 8: Foul
Pitch 9: Foul
Pitch 10: Foul
Pitch 11: Foul
Pitch 12: Foul
Pitch 13: Foul
Pitch 14: Foul
Pitch 15: Foul
Pitch 16: Foul
Pitch 17: Ball 4
F. Thomas walked. M. Ordonez to second
Good eye, Frank.
Not that anyone's counting yet, but the M's team OBP is .316, Ichiro's .300, Dave Hansen's .750. Hansen has 2 walks, a single and a strikeout.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
It was a glorious day for baseball, and not even a lopsided loss could ruin the excitement of opening day with the sun shining, the roof open, and playing hooky for a while.
I'm not going to get too hung up on losing one game, but it was hard to avoid two conclusions from the kickoff today.
First, Glaus can hit. I had read David Cameron's assessment of his budding power only a few hours before:
I have this feeling that he's going to take the Carlos Delgado leap from good player with big time power to dominant, offensive wrecking ball.
...and it took me by surprise. I always thought of Glaus as steady but unspectacular. A little while later, he had crushed two of the longest balls I've seen sail (414 and 421 feet) over straight-away center.
Second, Safeco field fans were exposed to something they hadn't seen in a while: bad defense. Remember that feeling of "automatic-ness" with hard grounders to short or fly balls to left- or right-center? It's gone now, and the fans greeted the change with the enthusiasm usually reserved for warm $8 beers. You won't get a true sense of Aurelia's flubs from the box score. The first Angel's hit was a liner that bounced about 5 feet from where Aurelia was set. He made it to the general area, and admittedly it was not an easy play, but he did not get a glove on it. Then came his officially scored error that should have been a two-ball. Then he missed a one-hop throw from Ichiro that had a shot at cutting down Kennedy stretching a single. Again, not an easy play since the runner was blocking his view of the ball, but he didn't get a glove on it. After this, at least one fan was booing, and I heard one scream nastily, "That's three, you [expletive]!!" Wow, and I thought bloggers were tough. Finally, there was a fly to left-center near the wall that fell between Winn and Ibanez, leading about 100 people in my section to say simultaneously, "Cameron would have gotten that!"
Nothing happened today to change my opinion of how the season will progress. With some luck (and help at the deadline), we have a shot at the division title. I wish Aurelia got off to a better start and was thrilled for him when he hit his double. He needed that, and I'll chalk up his shaky defense to first-game jitters.
After shopping for a medical opinion for over a week, Spezio found one he liked. Bottom line, he's out three weeks.
Monday, April 05, 2004
On this opening-day eve, I want to congratulate my fellow bloggers and other M's fans on making it through an awfully tough off-season. There were no Bavasi-related suicides as far as we know, although blood pressure levels have been alarmingly high. But right now, I am happy and relaxed, for I will be attending the opening day game tomorrow. For the first time ever.
The forecast is for Mostly Sunny, high of 60 degrees. The roof, my friends, will be open.
I'm disappointed we didn't get Bradley, but according to Baseball America the Dodgers paid handsomely by giving up top prospect Frank Gutierrez and a PTBNL:
Gutierrez, 21, had a breakthrough of his own last year. Signed out of Venezuela in 2000, he homered six times in six games to open 2003 at high Class A Vero Beach. He hit .287/.350/.524 with 24 homers, 80 RBIs and 20 steals in 128 games between Vero Beach and Double-A Jacksonville. Ranked 31st on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, Gutierrez is a legitimate five-tool outfielder. His power is his most obvious skill, but he also can hit for average, steal bases, cover enough ground to play center field and throw well enough to play right.
Once the player to be named has been identified, we'll analyze him as well. The Indians reportedly can choose from a list of three solid prospects, and have until June 30 to make their decision.
Although Bradley is a bargain this year at about $1.7 million, he is arbitration-eligible next season.
The M's picked up Jolbert Cabrera. As often happens, USSM has deconstructed this in a way that would be hard to improve on, but I do have three thoughts on the subject based on my recent experience in the MBSBL.
1) I drafted Cabrera in the next-to-last round of the MBSBL for the same reason the M's picked him up: the guy is a swiss army knife, eligible in the Diamond Mind program to play every position but pitcher and catcher. Versatility is more important in the simulation, where hard-and-fast rules wouldn't allow, for example, Bloomquist to play centerfield (yeah, I say that like it's a BAD thing.) But nevertheless, there is some value to this versatility that doesn't show up in the stats, especially on the far reaches of the bench.
2) He had his best year last year, putting a up a line of .282/.332/.438/.770 compared with career numbers of .253/.303/.353/.656. This is really all you know to know in a simulation, but only one piece of the puzzle in real life. I don't get too excited about a guy getting out 67% of the time, but as David points out, he's the best option on our bench right now.
3) Now for the tragic coda: Cabrera went 1-for-26 in the MBSBL before I dropped him in favor of another spare part, the Diamondback's Matt Kata. Kata played much better than Cabrera but only at one position, shortstop.
Overall, this is not the worst move Bavasi's ever made, although it may feel that way given that DePodesta's weekend also included being the first guy in line for the Milton Bradley fire sale. Generally, I wish Bavasi would just stay away from trades with DePodesta, Beane, and the other objective GM's. A man's got to know his limitations.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
As is their custom, the Mariners deny they are interested in Milton Bradley.
Friday, April 02, 2004
Welcome to the The Milton Bradley Link-o-rama:
Cleveland Plain Dealer (zip code required. easy.)
key quote: "I'm bitterly disappointed we've reached this point with Milton," said Shapiro.
More Cleveland Plain Dealer
key quote: Bradley has not had a great spring. He was sidelined early in camp with a strained oblique muscle and is hitting .216 (8-for-37).
Akron Beacon Journal
key quote: "While Bradley is talented, he has yet to establish himself as a star. He has been on the disabled list four times in two years, causing him to miss 125 games in that span."
Gleeman weighs in
key quote: "...prior to last year's outstanding hitting, Bradley was a career .234/.301/.364 hitter in 217 major league games."
The esteemed game-maker, now part of Hasbro
key quote: Press down on the ants, make them jump into the pants!
When I look back at the above, I realize I selected mostly negative quotes, but I still think going after Bradley is a rare opportunity and a good idea. Cleveland apparently has lots of outfield talent, and had agonized, Bocachica-like, through the spring about whether youngsters like Coco Crisp (who names these guys?) would make the roster. It now appears he will, which also means Cleveland won't have any use for Randy Winn. So just as interesting as the "which pitching prospects are on the table?" question is the issue of how we recast the outfield. Options include:
--Trading Winn for prospects or just, Guillen-like, dumping his salary. I would hope they'd get something in return since Winn's contract is reasonable.
--Platoon Ibanez (.856 OPS vs. RHP) and Winn (.859 against lefties), gaining almost 0.060 of OPS and 0.025 of OBP compared to Ibanez alone. Kinda expensive, but improvement is improvement. Unfortunately, moving Ibanez to first against lefties produces almost no improvement over Olerud, but at least Johnnie would get some rest. Possible extra credit for dumping spring training phenom Q. McCracken.