Friday, March 31, 2006

Pinero for Wilson --> Rumors and Speculation

Over the past few days there has been some reports that a trade was looming in the form of Joel Pinero for Craig A Wilson of the pirates. I have read some reports on this and it is my personal belief that this is just in fact a rumor and is not something the mariners are interested in. Or so I hope and pray. Seriously what sense does this make for the Mariners. I can understand the pirate’s interest in Joel the pirates need pitching, but what role does Wilson play on the mariners? OF? Nah the only place to put him would be in place of Raul, and is he any better than Raul? No way. Well he can also play 1st............... but we have 55 million tied up there. Well a few years back Wilson was a catcher........Well we just invested some nice money into a catch and our future catcher is only a few years out. So are the Mariners thinking of trading there #2 starter for a bench guy? The trade just doesn’t make any sense to me so I am glad this is just a rumor lets hope and pray it stays that way.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is why it's fun

As much respect as I have for the analysis and conversation in the M's blogosphere, at time it's hard to ignore a level of cynicism that overshadows the pure fun of following a baseball team. The "fluff" articles of the spring are ribbed (and often deservedly so), and eyes are rolled at grit, hustle, and other "intangibles" that baseball people are enamored with. See: Willie Bloomquist. Loved by managers, ripped by statheads. Does that make statheads wrong for pointing out the obvious that Willie Bloomquist has no business being an everyday player? Absolutely not. And it's good to have that kind of conversation. But, there are times to just sit back and enjoy it all. Now is one of those times.

Which is why I've really enjoyed reading The P-I's season preview. Take a look at it. All of it. Get excited about the 19-year phenom that's going to win 20 this year, the double play combo that's this generation's Vizquel-Alomar, the Japanese catcher that's going to solidify a position that has been a black hole for two years, the big-name sluggers that are going to bring back memories of the homer-happy teams of the 90s. This is when we're supposed to hope for a pennant race, not an 80-win season. So do that! Enjoy it. It's baseball. It's back. And the M's are going to win the World Series!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

5 days to Opening Day

Or 4 if you don't count today and Monday. Or even 6 if you do count today and Monday. OK, 4 to 6 days until Opening Day. And the stories are....not interesting. The lead story on the M's site? The battle for the backup catcher.

Arizona was a great time. Joe Borchard's 460-foot HR was definitely the highlight of the game we went to. As far as the fantasy draft? I dominated and Travis took Garrett Anderson way too early.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Watch out Peoria

Felix before he hit the bigs last year.

Big Daddy, Mike L and Magic faithful Chris are coming to town. We'll be at the game against the A's on Saturday. So if anyone is there, look on the lawn for lanky guys in the Griffey (me) and Charles Gipson (Chris) jerseys, Big Daddy rockin' the baby blue Buhner. We're heading down to take in a game and have our fantasy baseball draft. I'm all over Betancourt in Round 1!


In the P-I today, Betancourt is being looked at to hit second. Strange. Let's put a free-swinging, low-OBP, light hitting guy right up at the top of the order. But, it gets better:

Willie Bloomquist, who batted second Wednesday night against Kansas City in Surprise, Ariz., might be the man -- if he winds up as the starting second baseman.

The fact that Bloomquist is even being considered for either of those spots (batting second and playing second) is alarming. I think Willie Ballgame is a good guy to have come off the bench with his defensive versatility and good baserunning skills. But, take a look at his numbers while batting 2nd from last year. (You have to scroll down a bit, but in 118 ABs he hit .264/.280/.364 with 20 strikeouts and 3 walks. By the way, who knew Willie went to ASU?) I had forgotten how often Hargrove had put Bloomquist in the 2 hole. That's where he had the bulk of his ABs last year. Now, take a look at Reed's numbers. Hitting second he was .226/.310/.310 with 23 strikeouts and 19 walks in 155 ABs. Not very good, but that OBP and walk rate is more of what you'd like to see out of your #2 hitter. (Interestingly enough, Reed seemed to have the most success hitting 6th last year.) Plus, Reed is a lefty, is younger, and is basically a better hitter. 2005 was his first full year in the bigs, so I think it's fair to say he should improve.

The Betancourt idea is odd, but the Bloomquist idea makes even less sense. Is Lopez really that lazy? Is Hargrove really that obsessed with Willie? I'm not a Bloomquist hater, but come on.


Monday, March 20, 2006

The new Ichiro

Jeff Passan did a nice piece on Ichiro's rebirth over on Yahoooooo! I like to see Ichiro getting fired up. Even in 2004 when he had all those hits, I never got the sense that he was having a lot of fun. In fact, it seems like ever since Cameron left, he hasn't quite been as happy. I'm not sure what that scream Passan is referring to was, so if anyone saw it fill us in. After Ichiro's comments this off-season about things like playing cards in the clubhouse, it's nice to see him loosen up a little bit. Part of what makes Ichiro great is his work ethic and focus, but for those that are a fan of fire and passion (and I'm not talking about romance novels), this is a side of Ichiro you'll be happy to see in 2006.

So the WBC may give us a confident Beltre and a passionate Ichiro. I'll take that.

Edit: Jim Caple also noticed Ichiro's newfound emotions.

Matt "I can't Find the Plate" Thorton is gone

After giving up the cycle, in his most recent spring training game, the Mariners have traded Matt Thorton to the Chicago White Soxs for OF Joe Borchard. This by all accounts is a really good move. If memory serves Joe Borchard was a much-talked about part of the Freddie Garcia trade a few years back. At the time the white sox's did not want to part with Borchard, largely in part to where they took him in the draft, the 1st round, and for his 5.5 million dollar signing bonus. He apparently hasn’t panned out they way they would have liked, however many feel there is some potential there. I personally feel anything you could get for Thorton is a positive so I am willing to take a gamble on Mr. Borchard.
This also frees up some room in the bullpen for guys like Foppert and Sherill who in my estimation are vastly superior pitchers. Cheers to the M's for pulling the trigger. The ussmariner has an excellent take on this trade found HERE

Thursday, March 16, 2006

My Thoughts on Jesse Foppert

From the looks of it, and mind you it is still really early, but it seems like Jesse Foppert might be the real deal. Yes he was highly touted and yes he ahs had a little major league experience. That being said he is still young and a lot of times these guys who have Tommy john not only return and still be able to pitch, but they return and are better than before. It’s like what Eddie Johnson, former sonic great, said in a recent interview: "Surgery doesn’t just fix things it makes them better!" I think this could be the case with Foppert. He has looked very good this spring. Posting the following numbers through, mind you, 3 games. He has started all 3 games going a total of 7 innings. In that time he has allowed 2 hits and 1 earned run. He struck out 3 however he has walked 6. Those numbers are solid though.

Now here are the scenario’s I see for Foppert over this season. The mariners basically can go two routes. I think they would like to keep him a starter and as it stands now there is no room for him in the rotation. S if they want to start him then obviously he will go to Tacoma and start there. That does not mean of course that he will be there all year but it is a good spot for him. Plus being so close it is a quick call for him to come up for a spot start at home here and there.

Ok say he remains this good all spring and the mariners decide he is too good to keep off the roster. Well in this case it seems to me that he would fill the Ryan Franklin mold of 2001. He would be our long guy out of the pen. I know how valuable that is for a team But I would rather that go to a older guy who is serviceable and let Foppert continue to get stronger and mature in AAA.

I also see that Third scenario which I like but I am almost 99.9% convinced that the mariners would never do it. That is make Jamie Moyer a at home starter where he, lets face it, is near Cy Young Caliber, and let Foppert take Jamie’s starts on the road. TO keep both guys in shape they can throw simulated sessions on their prospective start days if they are missing one or two. In Fopperts case whose to say when your home for a long home stand you don’t send him down for a couple starts at triple AAA just to keep his arm alive. I really like this scenario as I see it not only taking home pressure away from Foppert, but it benefits the team in letting him get some serious Big league experience while only improving your pitching staff at the same time. Jamie is a pitcher that I love in spacious ballparks. But when the mariners take that first flight down to Texas……that will scare me.

Perhaps if Mike and I see Mr. Bavasi this year at Spring training I’ll present this idea to him or at least maybe try to get some insight as to why this would or wouldn’t work for them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lee Seung-Yeop

If you've pay paying attention to the WBC, you'll notice that Korea is going nuclear (I couldn't resist) on their opponents. Dontrelle Willis sucked again yesterday when the U.S. got beat down yesterday. The star for Korea has been Seung-yeop Lee who has 5 homers in the tournament right now. So would he be a good fit for the M's?

In 2003, Mike Thompson thought so at the old P-I blog. That year, Lee visited the M's, Dodgers, and Angels. He set the Asian single-season home run record with 56 in 2003, and signed with the Chibe Lotte Marines in Japan without an offer from an American club. Right now, he plays for the Yomiuri Giants and could sign with an MLB team as a free agent for 2007.

But, I looked up his numbers. They're not spectacular. He's got some serious pop, that AVG and OBP are pretty weak. Apparantly he was available this year too, but the Giants swooped in. Here's my question, and I know I don't know enough about Lee or the situation, but wouldn't he have made a little more sense than Carl Everett? He would have come much cheaper, he's younger, might like dinosaurs, and it's always cool to bring in foreign stars.

Just thinking out loud here.


Beltre's belt is back. Moohaha. I would love to write headlines for a living. I'm very excited about what Beltre has been doing in the WBC. He's been smacking the crap out of pitchers from Carlos Zambrano, Javier Vazquez, and Jorge Julio. But, Beltre himself made a good point in the article in that a big reason he's getting some good pitches to hit is because of the guys around him. Regardless, he's taking advantage of it and I like to see that. Jeff Pentland was pretty convinced a lot of Beltre's problem last year was mental. This is good stuff. Very good stuff.

Speaking of someone with mental "issues", Meche is throwing his two-seamer and keeping Ron Fairly happy by keeping the ball down. Hmmph. Woopie.

Foppert's on the hill today.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


I don't care what people say about Ken Griffey, Jr. I understand why some people are bitter about him. I understand why a lot of people think trading him away was the best move Pat Gillick made as GM. I understand why people don't want him back. But, George made the Mariners relevant, and was my first baseball hero. For that, I will always be happy to see him be successful. So, yesterday when he hit 2 home runs in a meaningless game, I got excited. We love you Junior.

That's it yo.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


How is Steve Kelley still employed? I've been reading this guy's work since I was about 10, and even then I understood that most of what he said had zero substance to it. He really drove that point home today with his column on Jarrod Washburn. So you don't have to suffer throught the whole thing, I'll let you know now that it was's not's too Washburn isn't afraid to speak his mind.

The highlights? Kelley sets several records for cliche use with these zingers:

On the field and in the clubhouse, the Angels do things the right way, and every player expects every teammate to play to these high standards.

Jarrod Washburn learned how the game was supposed to be played

This staff is looking for leadership.

Washburn comes from a place that knows how to win. And it's his job to pass it on.

Washburn uses many words to say nothing:

"They knew how to put a fire under you and teach you the way the game's supposed to be played. It's a great benefit to have guys like that on a team."

Oh, and the best part? Kelley uses the word bequeathed.

Blaggity blah blah blah. This isn't the first time Kelley has annoyed Mariner Magic. Remember when Travis ranted about his Ryan Franklin column?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Good and bad

Yesterday was a mixed bag of news for M's fans. So, do you want the good news first or the bad news? Personally, I'm a bad news first guy. Give it to me, I'll deal with it, then let's end on a positive note. So...

The bad news: Felix was flummoxed. Hehe. That made me giggle. Four hits, three runs, and two strikeouts in two innings. Not to worry though. Pitcher are getting pounded (more alliteration for you) all over spring training. Just ask the Nationals and Marlins. Felix will be fine. Help me out English majors, is that alliteration or consonance?

Now, the good news. Beltre went yard...twice! His second one went off the scoreboard in RIGHT-CENTER. Okay, I can't let myself get too excited yet. But that was really good to see.

Oh-and Jeff Clement homered off Derrick Turnbow. Sweet.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kirbeeeeee Puckett

Hopefully Mariner Magic faithful Chris will stop by the blog today. Kirby Puckett was his favorite player growing up (he wrote a great argument in 1988 as to why he deserved the MVP over Jose Canseco). Regardless, Chris (and anyone else) this is your forum to talk about Kirby.

Friday, March 03, 2006


As I've read through the articles this spring, I've notice that Mike Hargrove says some weird things...

On Jeff Clement:

"Clement can swing the bat. Give me an easy chair and a glass of tea, and I can watch him hit all day long." What?

On Felix striking out the side yesterday:

"Three strikeouts. I don't know if he could do any better than that." Is he getting his material from Ron Fairly?

I don't know, this is strange. It's like he's trying to portray a manager in a movie.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Game 1 M's 2 Padres 2

Aaaaaaaaah yes. The M's played some ball today. Check it out.

My favorites:

Yuniesky Betancourt stroked a two-run single against Padres ace Jake Peavy.
Felix Hernandez struck out the side to open the game, getting Brian Giles looking.

Felix you are a delight.


Bud Selig's grand experiment starts tomorrow. Whether it will be as successful as Joe Paterno's remains to be seen, but I'm excited about the World Baseball Classic. For those of you unfamiliar with the format:
-It starts with four pools with 4 teams that each play each once.
-The top 2 from each pool advances to round 2 in which the teams from 2 of the pools are matched up.
-Two teams from each of those pools meet in the semifinals (which are single elimination and could be the most exciting part of the tournament)
-The winners of the semifinals advance to the championship.

Here is the full schedule.

Now, who's going to win? There are all sorts rules regarding pitch counts so it's hard to say. The USA looks to have the best bullpen and overall pitching depth. The Dominican Republic will have a nasty lineup even without Vladimir Guerrero. If I were to pick a team in a seven game series? I'd go with Venezuela. Look at that rotation. Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano would get to pitch twice, plus you've got Freddy Garcia. Support that with a lineup that includes Bobby Abreu and Miguel Cabrera, and I think they'd be tough to beat. Japan could be a tough out with some of their quirky pitchers and their off-speed madness. (Note: those rosters are provisional and haven't been updated at the time of this post.

I'd pick the USA, but A-Rod is playing for us and we all know he's been cursed since he left the M's. So...I'll go with Canada. Jason Bay's an absolute stud, and our neighbors to the north could use a lift after their poor hockey showing the in the Winter Olympics.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The best sports month

March is here, and I couldn't be happier. For starters, January and February have been annoyingly cold in Baltimore. I like cold weather, but I like when it's accompanied by snow as opposed to the wind that almost knocks my lanky butt (it's Ash Wednesday so I won't use the other word) over. I also add another year to my life this Saturday. 26! Woot. But, I'm really excited about March because I think it's the best month for sports. You've got Spring Traning and the hope, beer, and sun that comes with it. But you also have March Madness, aka the best postseason tournament around. I think September (pennant races and the start of college football) and October (playoff baseball and college football kicking into high gear) are close, but March is the best.

So how does Scott Hanson of the Seattle Times start this wonderful month? By jinxing Richie Sexson. Thanks a lot Scott. Now why don't you go ahead and write an article annointing (yes I know I spelled that wrong) Felix as the savior of the franchise?

Also, if you get a chance check out this post over on Lookout Landing. It's a very interesting look at the many young Mariners pitchers that have had injury problems.