The Mariners won last night. The Mariners beat a playoff bound team. The Mariners were entertaining last night. But not as entertaining as visit site to read more]
So as you know I’ve had a lot about defense on the mind lately. Talking a lot about gathering fly ball data and that whole crappy project that I’m sure other people have done and will end up being another one of my more futile efforts. But it’s got my brain working and spinning and thinking of things that are fun and interesting. Such as did you know according to Fangraphs and UZR that the Mariners were saved 85 runs by their defense alone in 2009.
That’s a lot of runs. It’s the most by any team in the past decade going as far back as UZR goes all the way back to the simpler time of 2002. Yes, I remember those days. My baggy jeans, graduating high school, listening to the new and “popular” Bad Religion album while being over joyed by the latest Ben Afflect movie. Don’t judge me we all do stupid things in our youth.
The point is that the 2009 Mariners, led not just by Franklin Gutierrez (+30) but a whole cast of defensive wizards. Ichiro (+8), Adrian Beltre (+14), a left field that was solid behind a +21 combined run saving performances of Michael Saunders, Endy Chavez, Ryan Langerhans and even surprise Wladimar Balentine.
Tags: Adrian Beltre, brendan ryan, Casey Kotchman, Casper Wells, Chone Figgins, Darren Ford, dustin ackley, endy chavez, Eric Byrnes, franklin gutierrez, Jesus Montero, John Jaso, Jose Lopez, justin smoak, Mariners General, Matt Tuiasosopo, miguel olivo, Mike Carp, Mike Saunders, Ryan Langerhans, spring training
So after a discussion on twitter the other night, which started out with Colin O’Keefe of Proball NW asking a legtimate question on Twitter: “What was the last free-agent signing that worked out?”, I started doing some digging on Baseball-Reference. This was supposed to be one of those interesting exercises that makes you go “Oh, I remember that” or “Good times”… let me tell you I uttered none of those things doing this process.
This was an extremely depressing endevor and I’ll just give a little warning here: this isn’t for the faint of heart. I knew there was certainly going to be some bad memories but I thought that it of course would be mixed in with some good ones. Not so.
I tried to include free-agents of some type of notirity. I left off guys such as Arthur Rhodes and Mark McLemore as they weren’t paid much and weren’t hearld much in terms of fan base excitement.
Tags: Aaron Sele, Adrian Beltre, Brett Boone, Carlos Silva, Chone Figgins, Eddie Guardado, James Baldwin, jarrod washburn, Jeff Weaver, John Olerud, Mariner Memories, miguel batista, miguel olivo, Raul Ibanez, Richie Sexson, Ruben Sierra, russell branyan, scott spiezio
Over the weekend I wrote an article about Investing vs. Selling in relation to the Mariners 2011 season. Last night the Mariners won again and there is a lot of enthusiasm being spread about as to where this season could go. Now, I’m cautiously optimistic and think that with the division issues the Mariners could be headed for a third or even with luck a second place finish.
But the reality is they don’t have the present pieces to win the division. REPEAT AFTER ME: “The Mariners don’t have a real shot to win the division this year”. But as I wrote yesterday there is an opportunity.
If the Mariners want to take advantage of the situation presented they need to act quickly. While the Mariners are returning some key pieces to the 25-man roster in Franklin Gutierrez (this past week), Shawn Kelly (sometime soon) and will eventually see the arrival of prized prospect Dustin Ackley this team is still in need of upgrades in order to have a legit chance to win the division this year.
Jason Churchill wrote about this late last night/early this morning. I agree with his premise in that there is a pretense that the Mariners aren’t 80+ win team right now. But, there lies the potential to grab a few pieces and in enough time those pieces could make the difference between the Mariners winning 77 – 80 games to 85+ games.
I like a few of the names on Churchill’s list (Kubel/Ludwick/Nix) for a variety of different reasons.
The problem that I see with going after the possible upgrades in left are that Carlos Peguero has been making good progression at the major league level. This season was suppose to be about giving the young guys a chance and he has been hitting things extremely hard, taking walks and not striking out too much. While it’s a small sample size and he has been swinging way (WAY) too much at pitches out side the zone there is still potential there. I’m more for giving it time than going for any .
As for upgrading third base and Chone Figgins there isn’t much out in the league that works here. Sure you could go for an Aramis Ramirez but he costs prospects and the Cubs aren’t going to give up one of their “perceived” big bats for nothing. That said I’d feel uncomfortable about acquiring him at this point. While he’s a fit for someone like the Indians, Athletics or Blue Jays (should they stay in the mix) his skill set isn’t very conducive to Safeco. It’d be a repeat of Adrian Beltre, only in my mind worse.
Instead of acquiring someone I would either attempt to trade Figgins or just bench him in lieu of Luis Rodriguez. I think Rodriguez could potentially offer some upside that is cheap being internal and he is also a switch hitter. There has been a growing “#FreeLuisRodriguez” hash on twitter and I suspect it will only continue at this point. It also allows the Mariners to use Adam Kennedy as a pinch hitter for Brendan Ryan/Jack Wilson.
As Jason Churchill explained in his article there are a few reasons to hold onto Jack Cust. While he isn’t hitting home runs he’s not a black hole either and is still producing. I personally hold onto him. Maybe he comes around and you don’t have to make a move.
After I said that the Mariners have to act quickly it doesn’t seem like I think there are a lot of moves to make, right? Well, if the Mariners wanted to make a move these are two that I support.
Prior to the jump understand that I preface this with that fact I’m in favor of holding pat seeing what happens. I’d prefer to get something for Bedard and try not to push guys like Pineda and Ackley too far or hard.
But if Jack’s job depends on it and they feel they have to go for the division this year this is how I’d do it.
Tags: Adam Moore, Adrian Beltre, Alex Gordon, alex liddi, Aramis Ramirez, Blake Beavan, Brandon Maurer, brian moran, Carlos Peguero, dustin ackley, Franklin Gutierez, gabriel noriega, Geovany Soto, greg halman, James Gillheeney, james jones, Jonathan Hesketh, josh fields, luis rodriguez, Luke Scott, Mariners General, Matt Kemp, mauricio robles, Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, miguel olivo, nick franklin, prince fielder, rich poythress, Yoervis Medina
I’ve always had a soft spot for Brandon Morrow. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but there’s an endearing quality to him that really helped suck me into the hype when he was coming up. On top of that, his potential was seemingly limitless, and it wasn’t hard to imagine him turning into an ace. Despite his glaring inconsistency, I remained optimistic, as his periodic flashes of brilliance had always managed to stick with me more than the disappointments.
Specifically, his final start of the 2009 season. I was at the game, and never had I been filled with more hope for the future than when I walked away from Safeco Field that night, after watching the most dominant pitching performance I’ve ever seen in person. And while that was a special night, it just made it that much harder for me when the news broke that he’d been traded. Sure, I could understand the reasoning behind it – he’d spent 3 full seasons in the big leagues, and at age 25, it was becoming less and less likely that he’d ever come close to that sky-high ceiling. But I wasn’t overly excited about the return, and I was sad to see Morrow go.
Now, it’s August, and capped off by his near-no-hitter on Sunday, it’s becoming clear that Brandon Morrow has finally put it together. He’s striking out more hitters than ever at 10.67 per 9, and walking fewer than ever at 4.03 per 9. His 3.69 xFIP is impressive despite his .340 BABIP, and he’s on pace for roughly 5 WAR. He’s having an excellent season no matter how you look at it, and while he may never be the bona fide ace that we once hoped for, he appears to have, at age 26, become the above average starter that many had lost hope for.
It’s easy to become spiteful of a player that only finds success after going elsewhere, but I don’t feel that way about Brandon Morrow. I’m happy for him – the same way I’m happy for Adrian Beltre. Of course, I wish they had found this kind of success in Seattle, but it’s clear to me that they couldn’t have – for separate reasons. For Beltre, it’s as simple as park factors, but for Morrow, it’s a bit more complicated. After all of the struggles, poor decisions, and mishandling he had gone through in this organization, I don’t think he ever would have been able to find consistent success as a member of the Mariners. It’s cliche, but sometimes a change of scenery really can make all the difference in the world, and it makes me happy that he’s found success somewhere.
Tonight’s game let us all go through the entire emotional roller-coaster of this season in one game. We got to be apathetic, angry, hopeful, excited and then terribly disappointed all in one game. Actually this was more like three games rolled into one. First we had our normal outing by Ryan Rowland-Smith allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, while the Red Sox starter John Lackey pitched a no-hitter all the way to the bottom of the 8th with two down. This appeared to be another dumb yet ordinary Mariners game.
But then magically in the bottom of the 9th a second game developed that was fun and exciting as the Mariners rallied for 5 runs to tie this game. As I sat with my friends watching this inning we kept looking at each other as if to ask each other if it was ok to believe again in this team. After all didn’t Franklin Gutierrez just deliver a two-run bomb? Of course he did, followed by a series of hits and errors by the brash boys from Bean Town and all of a sudden we were alive and cheering in the restaurant just like the faithful down at the Safe.
And for a few innings as our relievers did their job we relished in our near-death experience like comrades in a lifeboat. Yes the second game of tonight’s game was wonderful indeed knowing that we had busted-up Lackeys no-no and even came back to tie the game 6-6! Who cares if this season is a bust we are going to push the mighty Red Sox out of the AL East race and let them suffer a bit, as we have paid our dues this year thank you very much.
The third game of tonight’s game was worse than the first game of just getting beat by a better team. And though round three of this 13 round prize-fight was terrible, the fight itself felt ok as at least we indeed did throw some punches, just not the knock-out punch we needed. As we headed into round 12 this one was starting to feel like a play-off game with every pitch, and out, magnified by the sheer drama of the earlier rounds. And we really had a shot in the 12th as Jack Wilson blooped a lead-off single to start the frame, followed by an infield single by Ichiro that ex-Mariner Adrian Beltre mishandled. Figgins then laid-down a perfect bunt to give the Mariners runners at second and third with one down. This is the moment when the ghosts of the 2010 season started to creep into my mind whispering to me names like Eric Byrnes, Jose Lopez etc. I brushed the demons aside however until half-way through the Gutierrez intentional-walk as I realized that it would indeed be the Mariners poster-child for dysfunction ……Jose Lopez up with the bases loaded and one out. And yes he did what Lopez the loper does best…He choked with a weak pop-up. Our other wayward teenager Milton Bradley followed Lopez and popped out himself.
At this point we knew it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox put us out of our collective Mariners-Misery so we got up and left the restaurant. Of course part of being a Mariners fan, especially this year is you actually can’t believe it is happening so you have to subject yourself to the actual dismal reality to believe it is actually happening. So after watching through the window outside for a minute we came back indoors for the final round. The only good part of the top of the 13th was watching Adrian Beltre’s long home run shot go foul by a couple of feet. I noticed he did not do his little dance at the plate or appeal his own check-swings like he did when he played for us, and alas he did not drive in the go-ahead run. And no the other ex-Mariner Mike Cameron didn’t put the dagger in our hearts tonight. No, the death-blow came from a double with two outs and two runners aboard by Eric Patterson who had come in to relieve ex-Mariner Bill Hall. The bottom of the 13th we had a classic Mariners 1,2,3 inning and the tide sucked another chunk of the souls of me and my fellow Mariners fans out to sea once again……http://jeffsmariners.com
Tagged: Adrian Beltre, Frankling Gutierrez, John Lackey, Jose Lopez choked, Mariners, no-hitter, Red Sox