Mariners Insider

Mariners swept out of Safeco Field by A’s

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Sep. 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm with 57 Comments »
September 9, 2012 5:37 pm

The Oakland Athletics, playing the kind of game the Seattle Mariners wish they had in their arsenal, swept a three-game series at Safeco Field with a 4-2 victory Sunday – outscoring Seattle 16-4 overall.

“Timely hits,” John Jaso said. “They had – what? – three three-run homers in this series? They had good at-bats with men on base.”

And now, Seattle heads out on a six-game trip through Toronto and Texas – two teams that have always given the Mariners trouble.

“This is what September baseball is about,” manager Eric Wedge said. “You’re playing teams fighting for something, and you’ve got to play at a high level if you’re going to win.”

Jason Vargas, working for his 15th win, had the Athletics scoreless through 4 2/3 innings but couldn’t close the fifth inning out.

 With two outs, No. 9 hitter Adam Rosales singled.

 “I’ve got to stop him from extending the inning right there,” Vargas said. “That’s the at-bat that upsets me.”

Coco Crisp singled Rosales to second base, which brought up Jonny Gomes, who had faced Vargas 10 times in their careers – and gone 0-for-10.

“He’s one of those left-handers who gives me a headache,” Gomes said. “But I was able to lock it in with men in scoring position. I was going to take the first two pitches, but I was able to jump on the first strike he threw.”

 Not exactly.

Vargas worked the count to 1-1, then threw a fastball in and up.

“I wanted to throw it above his hands, above his bat, but he stayed right on it and hit the upper deck façade,” Vargas said.

The home run was the 16th of the season for Gomes and was what Wedge likes to call ‘a game changer.’

 “It’s tough when the offense doesn’t loosen up,” Wedge said. “We’re getting our hits, but we’re not doing damage with them. Michael Saunders came through for us with a two-out triple that got a run home, but you need multiple guys doing that.

“Somebody’s got to come through with men on base,”

The Mariners didn’t, going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners two runs were the result of extra-base hits, but not with the best of timing.

In their half of the fifth, Alex Liddi led off with a single, stole second base and watched Brendan Ryan pop up and Franklin Gutierrrez fly out. Saunders them lined a ball down the right field line to score Liddi – and kept running until he was at third base.

 That made it 3-1, and brought up Jesus Montero – Seattle’s hottest hitter – with two outs and a man on third base.

Montero struck out.

Kyle Seager hit his team-leading 17th home run leading off the sixth inning to make it 3-2. It was all the Mariners offense could produce.

“I led off the ninth inning with a double and we didn’t score, but timely hitting doesn’t have to come in the bottom of the ninth inning,” Jaso said. “For Oakland today, it came in the fifth inning.”

Leave a comment Comments → 57
  1. bbnate420 says:

    Zunino starting C in 2014, bank on it. Prob the last half of 2013.

  2. bbnate420 says:

    We got some talent on the way. They need to add a few pieces.

  3. family_man says:

    I’m just glad they made it fun until Football season could get here. They may have been out of it – but it’s been fun to watch from the allstar game until now. Now it doesn’t matter – go Seahawks!
    See you in March M’s – next year should be fun.

  4. Palerydr says:

    Nate and Timeout I saw your discussion about Smoak and just chippin in my .02. I agree Smoak is playing poorly but for some reason I like the guys potential. How is that potential going to become something to cheer about? I think he needs to dump the switch hitting and just focus on one side of the plate. I’d prefer a LH thumper at 1B as he also seems to be an above avg defensive player. I’d take a .260 avg with 30 bombs if he can’t turn things around then let him go or trade him. It will be a black eye for Z though if that happens.

    We do have some talent at the AA level hopefully they all move up to Tacoma next year making themselves ready to take the next step.

    I would expect that if they make a deal this winter that Figgins will be a piece whether as a throw in or player to be named. He will be more attractive with his deal expiring.

  5. Palerydr says:

    I’ve looked for the Mariners record in 1 run games but not finding it can anybody point me to a stat site with this info?

  6. Paler, here are all the ML clubs’ one-run records. If you think the M’s are bad, check out Boston. No breakdown home and away; someone probably knows where to find that too.

    Regarding Smoak, I was making an argument more about semantics than performance, or even potential. My point was that performances can be garbage; people, by and large, aren’t.

    I don’t what it would take, if anything, to realize the potential that scouts and management of various teams have seen in Justin Smoak. I don’t know of a switch-hitter that has changed to one side at his point in his career and suddenly blossomed. (There may be hundreds of them, for all I know, but I’m not aware.) I’d be most excited if he found a good hitting instructor to listen to and work hard with during the off-season. The kid seems to have lost his way, and I don’t know whether he’ll ever pan out. His buddy and old teammate Matt Wieters thinks Smoak’s going to do it; hope he’s right.

  7. SharkHawk says:

    I can think of one person that perhaps can help Smoak. Another late bloomer when it came to getting his act together and going from a AAAA hitter to a legit major league hitter. Edgar Martinez. Bring him in for as long as it takes during Spring Training if he’s willing and let him teach this kid how to hit. He needs to learn the techniques from daily drills, to the eye training, to the hand speed stuff, to whatever it takes to become the hitter he can be.

    Edgar may not be interested… but the M’s should do whatever it takes and get as much out of him as they can, even if it is just a two week training course where he shows Smoak how to become a major league hitter.

    Another thing that needs to happen is that whoever is blockading the move-in of the fences needs to be shown the door. The fences need to move, the ballpark needs to be reconfigured (even if that means glassing off parts of the outfield like they have in Milwaukee) to change the wind patterns within the field (you’ll still have the same view) then do it. They need to bring in some scientific types to figure out why and how the park can be improved as far as the ball moving. Guys like Felix can pitch in smaller parks. He’s done just fine in Yankee stadium which is literally smaller than 99% of the high school fields I played on at the corners, and they still win. Vargas is a guy who can keep the ball down. Just sign pitchers who keep the ball down and let their hitters gain confidence. Look at Beltre’s career and take out his Safeco numbers. The fences NEED to be moved. If it is Lincoln and Armstrong blocking it, then they need to go (actually they need to go anyway and the team needs to be turned over at the top to somebody who gets it and demands accountability from themselves and stops just firing some positional coach or manager every single season). There are fundamental changes that need to happen within the ballpark, within the scouting structure, and within the type of players they are acquiring. They’ve attempted to build a national league type lineup to fit the ballpark, and it just does not work. They need to build a team like the one they had in 95 that had a few thumpers in the lineup (Buhner, Edgar, Griffey, Tino, Blowers, etc.). They played in a small park and still won. It IS possible. Quit holding on to the Griffey/Ichiro centric park with deep outfields for them to roam. It’s boring and it doesn’t work. It destroys the confidence of good hitters who have proven so by going elsewhere and playing well (Adam Jones?) and our own players get their confidence destroyed by being subjected to that awful ballpark for 81 games a year. Make the changes now!

  8. Paler, here’s another place to find one-run outcomes, plus additional good info:

  9. Not even a lineup on twitter? Geez. I can understand not sending a reporter to the game, but total neglect? (At least Larry wrote up Ramirez’ start…)

  10. wabubba67 says:

    Edgar was never a AAAA hitter or player. Management was in love with Jim Presley while Edgar consistently performed in the minors. When he was called up, all Edgar ever did was hit and hit well.

    Just because a guy was a great hitter or player at his specific sport, does not guarantee success as a coach. Often, it leads to an opposite result because the very talented are not able to relate well to the mediocre or slightly above average (the vast majority of a team’s roster). Historically, the best managers and coaches have not been stars.

  11. Get ready for a shocker: I agree with wabub. Additionally, while we have no idea how good a hitting coach Edgar might be, we know he doesn’t see well.

    I remember the old scout’s saying: when the monkeys fall out of the trees, pick the one with the stick in his hand. Edgar was a natural hitter who also worked hard at his craft. He should write a book about it, as Ted Williams did…but Teddy Ballgame was a mediocre manager.

  12. wabubba67 says:

    Give me second….I think one of my eyeballs popped out of socket and is rolling around on the floor.

  13. Be sure to drop it in a glass of bourbon before popping it back in. (Bourbon heals everything.)

  14. bbnate420 says:

    BTW, Zunino is batting .444 with 2 doubles, one triple, 3 homers, and 8 RBI in 5 games of the AA playoffs. Paxton is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 18 strikeouts. Never would have guessed it when he was drafted, but I think Zunino starts 2013 in AAA.

  15. wabubba67 says:

    Looking forward to seeing Zunino up close down for 6 weeks down here in the Arizona Fall League.

  16. Palerydr says:

    Grudgingly I also agree with Wabubba as well. Just because you can do something well doesn’t mean you can teach it. I would, if I were Smoak, sit down with Edgar, Griffey and Buhner and just talk all aspects of hitting. Then I’d go out with any or all of the 3 and have them call out situational hitting to work on. I’d also hang with Saunders hitting coach from last year and break down my swing to basics. Then build it back up again from the ground up.

    Smoak had an .849 OPS and .449 slugging in the minors.
    he has an .655 OPS and .359 in the majors.

    He’s not taking the walks he did in the minors and he really wasn’t a major power threat. Possibly we have to high of an expectation for this guy.

  17. Buhner can teach him how to flail at that slider down and away.

  18. SharkHawk says:

    I never recommended Edgar as a manager. I said he should come in for 2 weeks and help the kid with drills. Edgar was the master of drills. He’d hit every single day off the tee, off of live pitching, and off of toss. He had a set of drills that worked.

    As for Edgar being a AAAA hitter, it is a reference to a guy who can get it done and doesn’t get a chance or doesn’t get it done in his chances. Edgar was hitting .300+ at Calgary and came up to the majors and wasn’t given enough at bats to prove his value, and then blew his knee out repeatedly (how many rebuilds did he have in his years hopping between Calgary and Seattle? I know it was at least 2 surgeries, probably more… which is why he didn’t play the field consistently when he finally got his permanent call). Whether Jim Presley was the stumbling block or not, the fact was that Edgar was not an everyday player until he made adjustments in his game. His stance changed. Look at his stance in Calgary and when he first came up and compare it to the stance he used as an everyday DH. Entirely different. His left knee is dropped in and he started using the Puckett leg lift and he held his bat much higher as a timing mechanism a la Julio Franco. He clearly adjusted his stance for major league hitting compared to when he was tearing up the PCL in hitter friendly parks.

    We can disagree I guess… but I think we all know the Edgar story. Am I asking Edgar to manage the team? No. I’m asking him to come in and help one kid with his hitting. I’ve seen it work in the NBA. Jeff Hornacek wasn’t a defender, he wasn’t a great passer, but the man could shoot. The Jazz would bring him in for 2 weeks to work with their shooting guard of the year and the kids inevitably became better shooters. Hornacek isn’t ready to be an all-around coach, but the guy can shoot and that regiment he used to become a great shooter (he was a point guard that converted to a 2) paid immediate dividends for everybody he worked with. In fact, one of them was an undrafted free agent who is now one of the better players on the Blazers after signing a large contract.

  19. wabubba67 says:

    Maybe we have a different definition of a AAAA player? To me, that is a player that stars at the AAA level but consistently struggles in the majors (without ever displaying improvement).

    I don’t remember Edgar having any issues with his knees (nor could I find any reference to it on the internet)…though I do remember a severe hamstring injury that happened during an exhibition game in Vancouver, BC just before the 1993 season. At that point, Edgar began to be used almost exclusively as a DH. Edgar became a full-time starter after the Mariners got rid of Jim Presley following the 1989 season…before that time, he struggled to get on the field even while showing progress and potential between 1987-89. I remember his stance when he came up in 1987 being nearly identical to the stance that he used until he retired….the only difference being the shape of his body (grew to be much thicker…hopefully by legitimate means).

    Edgar and other stars may or may not have the ability to become great coaches. My point was that it is often difficult for stars to relate to more ordinary players effectively. Certainly, there are other experienced coaches that have methods with a proven history of success.

  20. AAAA, when I’ve read it, has always been used as wabub says. It was also clear to me, through the context, that SharkHawk wasn’t using it in that way.

    We don’t know whether Edgar would be a good hitting coach or not. Certainly it would be good to have him around to ask, “How did you handle this?” But the guy who helped Saunders so much in the off-season, Josh Bard’s brother, I had never heard of. It sounds good, Edgar-Jr.-Buhner, but we just don’t know.

  21. Another one-run win. I was unpleasantly surprised when Wedge allowed Olivo to go to the plate in that last at bat against a righty; don’t know who was up in the bullpen for Toronto. Hope someone asks him about it in the post-game presser. ‘T’ain’t likely.

  22. I am really starting to get frustrated with the lack of coverage on the road. Shoot, watch the game on TV, listen to Sims butcher his job, and then text or call some of the guys on the team and give the “average” fan some insight. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about as far as the specifics, but I do know that when coverage lacks I go to other websites, and am therefore not looking at any of the advertisements on the TNT sites…which results in the ads declining, revenue declining, leading to less coverage. It’s a vicious circle my friends.

    Zunino makes the team next year out of ST. I keep saying it, and the reality is that the team needs 3 catchers on the roster because of Montero’s time as the DH (don’t want to kill the DH if the catcher, say Jaso, gets hurt). And if they bring Olivo back, I refuse to watch a game next season.

    As for Smoak, I will preface all statements I make about him by saying that I like the kid. He has a ton of potential, and has a good glove (a big part of our defense being so good). I’m a high school coach, and my biggest observation (besides the long swing from the left side, which can be corrected through drill work like Saunders did this last off-season) is that Smoak has brutal pitch recognition. He gets caught in between A LOT. I don’t know if he is guessing pitches instead of picking up the release point, that’s something I would have to ask him about. There are some things that can be done to work on this, and being a switch hitter doesn’t help, because it requires twice the work and switching sides mid-game and having to make that adjustment is tough. I used to switch-hit, but stopped midway through HS because it was just ridiculously tough and I got tired of struggling from the right side. If he can make the adjustment and improve his contact rate significantly, he has the natural strength and power in his swing to hit 25-30 HR’s consistently. In an organization that is starved for power, we can’t give up on his potential this quickly. Also, and this is true with a lot of good-but-not-great hitters, the lineup around him plays a big role in the type of pitching that he sees and his overall success. Since Beltre was mentioned already, I will use him as an example. I don’t have numbers, just observations, but I would guess that Beltre saw SIGNIFICANTLY more sliders away when he was in Seattle (especially the last 2 years after Sexton sucked) compared to his time in Boston and Texas. If you go slider away all the time, and he lays off of it and takes a walk, no big deal when he was here because the next guy in the lineup didn’t scare you (or anybody else). In Boston and Texas, if you did that and he was disciplined, you are bringing another guy to the plate that can punish you. I’m not saying that teams pitch around Smoak necessarily, but he doesn’t exactly see a ton of strikes. He almost seems surprised when he gets hittable fastballs because they are so rare for him. If a pitcher can go soft away and get strike 1, that pretty much seals the at-bat as a bad one for him, because they are going to stay soft away a couple more times and then bust him in on the hands when he leans out over the plate (this is particularly true from the left side). After a while, you get tired of that and start swinging at pitches that aren’t strikes, which is where he is now. He needs a productive off-season (like Saunders) and then some early success, and I think he will be fine at that point, because it will reinforce in his mind that everything he worked on was worth it. I personally feel like he was on track to fulfilling his potential early on last year, but then his dad passed away and he got hurt. I’m pulling for the kid, because if he can do what he is capable of he becomes the dynamic middle-of-the-order bat that this team desperately needs, and will make the rest of the lineup even better.

  23. Nothing I’d dispute there; well said, top to bottom. The picking up pitches part is spot on, and Ackley may be having that problem too, over-guessing and under-recognizing. I’d only add that while the club will be better if Smoak improves–obviously–they can’t count on it. The M’s need to come up with one or two hitters somehow, somewhere.

    And, they need to send Montero to someone who will improve his running style. Pleeease!

  24. Also, I now note that the ST didn’t send the Zacerbator up to his old stomping grounds to cover the game, and no stringer is going to ask Wedge a tough question. (There are ways to do it, especially after a win.) Just one more reason the M’s need to field a better team; otherwise they disappear from view once football season starts.

  25. Thanks. I agree, adding a bat or two is going to be a critical part of this off-season. Now, if Zunino turns out like I think he is going to and can put together a possible ROY campaign, then that solves some problems right there!

    I know we just kind of tossed it out there last week, but I am growing more and more interested in David Wright. He has a $16M team option for next year, but I don’t know enough about the financial situation of the Mets to comment much on it. His HR and RBI numbers are eerily similar to Seagar, but he is hitting .312. He plays in a cavern of a stadium, so Safeco shouldn’t bother him. Good defender, tough nose player, relatively healthy. Turns 30 in December. 5 years/$75M? 6.1 WAR so far this year. Would allow us to move Ackley to LF (and I sure as heck hope he is having the traditional sophomore slump and he breaks out next season). I think it would be a worthy investment of the ‘Ichiro’ money, and Figgins comes off the books after next season. That puts us right around $100M for payroll next season and down to $91M or so for 2014 when Figgins’ contract is done.

    1) Ackley – LF
    2) Gutierrez – CF
    3) Seagar – 2B
    4) Wright – 3B
    5) Montero – DH
    6) Saunders – RF
    7) Smoak – 1B
    8) Zunino – C (to start the season, less pressure here)
    9) Ryan – SS

    Jaso gets ample playing time catching and DH-ing, much like this season. I don’t know who the 4th outfielder would be, as Wells/Robinson/Thames/Peguero all have enough things to work on that keep them from being viable full-time players at this point.

    Felix and Vargas are locks for the rotation. Iwakuma is making a strong case, and Beavan has been much improved, but still profiles as a 5th starter. Ramirez is interesting because he has good velocity and movement, but he doesn’t live down in the zone enough yet. I expect one of the kids will be up by the AS break next year. Pretty happy with the bullpen, power arms and two pretty good lefties in Furbush and Luetge.

    Speaking of Seagar, have you noticed his swing being longer in the 2nd half? I would like to see some side-by-side video of his swing right now compared to when he was red-hot for about a month earlier in the year. Can you get that for us Larry, since you’re not on the road trip?

  26. bbnate420 says:

    I like Zunino too, but expecting him in the majors at the start of 2013 may be asking too much. If you follow the Hawks, you saw what happened to Sweezy when you’re put in too quickly. Need to sign a cheap stop-gap for a year. Someone who can catch when Montero and Jaso aren’t. I’m with you on Olivo. Same goes for Bilbo Baggins.

  27. Off topic, I saw this AP headline in the ST. Anything strike you as strange about it?

    “Angels lose again to A’s 6-0 despite HR by Pujols”

    Back on topic, if Wright is a team option for the Mets, I would guess they’ll pick up the option. So then it becomes a trade…there go a couple of young pitchers and maybe Michael Saunders to get him. Don’t know whether I’d do that, and that’s why it ain’t easy.

  28. Palerydr says:

    Some really good stuff there Coach I did my own assessment of the M’s a few posts back and it seems we agree on many points. I remember watching Beltre when he was with the M’s and thinking to myself “yup he’s gonna swing at the slider away” I’m pretty sure he still gets himself out on that slider away. I’m with anyone who says do not resign Olivo I’ve seen enough wild pitch/passed balls from him to last me a lifetime.

    Pushing Zunino too fast is scary he should get some more seasoning in AAA at the min another 1/2 year. I looked up Griffey and he had 465 ab in the minors. Bryce Harper 461, Mike Trout 1117. My point being these 3 guys had at least 1 full year in the minors before reaching the majors. Is Zunino 1 of these rare guys who could have success after 1/2 a year in the minors? Hard to say obviously he’s been around the game all his life with his father being a scout I believe. He plays the hardest position on the field to master yet is traditionally the quickest route to get to the majors. I guess for me it’s nice to think we may actually have some hope for the near future.

  29. Palerydr says:

    Trade Saunders? You’re killin me Timeout!

  30. The big difference I see with Zunino compared to Griffey, Harper, and Trout is that Zunino started (and excelled) for 3 years in probably the best college baseball conference in the country. That’s why I put him in the Buster Posey (I hope anyway haha) category for player development.

  31. Paler, I’m not ASKING to trade Saunders; I’m speculating on what it would take to pull David Wright from the Mets. They’ll probably ask for Seager first. NOOO! Sure, we’d all like to trade Kinney, Beavan and Wells for Wright; but that doesn’t even happen in fantasy league baseball. (Besides, I actually like Wells as a fourth outfielder; but.)

    Zunino is riding a hot bat right now. I opine it’s his hitting that will suffer if he’s brought along too fast; from what I read, he’s as good defensively as any of the trio we have now. I’m still guessing mid-season 2013 for a callup, IF he can hit AAA stuff, which in some cases includes pitching backwards, better control, etc. Of course if he tears up spring training, all bets are off, and I guess that’s what Coach81 is counting on.

  32. SharkHawk says:

    Wabubba, the hamstring issue was much much later. Edgar’s knees were completely shot, and the awful playing surfaces in Calgary and Vancouver were making it worse. The Kingdome also was making it worse. He tore his ACL at least once and had full rebuilds on his knees before ever becoming an everyday major league hitter. This is why he initially converted to DH, because the little range he had was completely decimated by his knees which were essentially bone on bone for the majority of his big league career.

    The hamstring issue was one where he had the tendon removed because it was causing issues leading down to the back of his knee. But his knees definitely took a pounding on the cement field in Calgary. His legs took an absolute beating and he suffered from hamstring, knee, and back and shoulder problems for the remainder of his career. Along with that he had eye issues and had a series of serious exercises he did daily to strengthen his eyes (he was cross eyed and had an astigmatism).

    He is an example of a guy who worked harder than anybody to prove that he could make it. He overcame struggles early after the leg injuries (I remember him distinctly wearing a large knee brace upon making it to the majors and ditching the thing because it threw off his timing… he just worked that much harder to strengthen his knees so he didn’t need the brace). That is what I’m talking about. Work ethic. He could have pulled a Billy Ashley or Ron Kittle and just said he was good enough and had dominated triple A, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. But he fought through injuries, incompetent management, playing on a poor surface, eye, shoulder, and leg issues (and later back issues and a bunch of broken ribs from that collision with Marzano) and only got better with age. He could have just given up at a young age due to constant injuries and realized it was over. He didn’t.

    He reminds me a lot of Josh Hamilton. Hamilton’s struggles are of an entirely different sort, but even when he has a setback he gets back out there and gives it his all and plays the game harder than anybody. He is constantly working on improving and when he has a setback, he doubles down to improve when he could have just walked away from the game 100 times. I respect that. If Edgar can instill some of that in the mopey Mariners hitters like Smoak then I think it’s worth a try. I know for a fact the guy can coach, because I watched him coach teammates nightly on the finer points of the game. He was always sitting next to a rookie offering advice if he wasn’t in the tunnel hitting or riding a bike to keep his legs warm. He was the consumate pro, and some of these players need to see a guy like that.

    I am a firm believer in the theory that the best players don’t make the best coaches too (see Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas). They had everything come so easily due to their natural talent, that they couldn’t understand why their players didn’t just do what they do. But Edgar is an entirely different animal. He had to work his butt off for everything he got. Larry Bird was a really great player and I think he was an excellent coach, because I think Bird understood what it took to be great. He was a big lanky kid that had a bad back and no hops, but became a great by repetition and dedication. He learned to play defense, he became maybe the greatest shooter ever, and those things weren’t natural. He wasn’t a leaper. He was a master of putting himself and teammates in a position to win. Great players can be great managers. Ted Williams was a crappy manager because he was a crappy person. He treated people like trash. Nobody liked him. I don’t even think his own children could stand him. He had a poor way with his players, with ownership, with opposing players, and he acted like he was above everybody. Read the story about him taking BP and yelling, “I’m TEDDY F-ING BALLGAME AND I’M THE GREATEST PLAYER THAT EVER LIVED!”. That is one of many stories. You’ll never hear a story like that about Edgar. But you can see how Michael Jordan acted at his hall of fame induction. Classless and clueless. Edgar isn’t that kind of guy. I think having him in for a few weeks of spring training, along with a reconfigured outfield could certainly help this team. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. it’s not like I expect the M’s to do it anyway. It makes too much sense.

  33. You know about the time Edgar smashed the tape player in the locker room with his bat, right?

    Ask Hank Aaron or Bobby Doerr what kind of man Ted Williams was. He grew up in a problematic household and had plenty of problems, but Williams was not a bad man as, for example, Ty Cobb was.

    Michael Jordan worked hard; whether Edgar outworked him, I’m not prepared to say. And, I don’t claim to know the minutiae of Edgar’s medical history. But we don’t, can’t know whether Edgar would make a good hitting coach or not. It’s guesswork.

  34. bbnate420 says:

    You can’t be off topic. This is a thread that is 5 days old. There is no topic anymore.

    The option on Wright is a team option. They very well could pick it up. I don’t know. They’re not very good and could choose to spread that money around in different areas. I’m not in favor of us trading good, young pieces to get him. We’re not that close yet. The M’s may be resigned to not adding many free agents this off-season. Wright is the only really good option I see for them. Maybe you sign an Ethier if his value has come way down. The guy can hit, but he is very inconsistent and injured frequently. I’d rather they save the money for the next off-season or a mid-season trade rather than spending it on someone just to sign a player. We don’t need another Bilbo Baggins. We could possibly have a decent hitting team next year even if we don’t add anyone. There are a lot of “ifs” that need to happen to make that possible. They need to move the fences, have a healthy Guti for at least 140 games, have either a healthy Carp or rejuvenated Smoak, Montero and Ackley to take a big step forward, and for Saunders and Seager to make some modest improvements.

  35. SharkHawk says:

    Of course Ted Williams wasn’t as bad of a man as Ty Cobb. Ted Williams was a jerk. That’s all. He didn’t get along well with others, and he was so driven that he didn’t make time for anything aside from hitting. He served our country, he wrote a great book on hitting (I hit over .800 in fall high school baseball my junior year after reading that book and doing all of the drills over the summer). But Ty Cobb was not the type of comparison I was trying to make.

    Ted Williams was just not the most people-centric person. Think of Lou Piniella’s reaction to rookie pitchers, and blown calls, and then multiply it by 10 and make it be that way constantly. That’s how Williams was as a manager. He’d get angry at players and say, “Why don’t you just do it right, like I DID?!”. Doesn’t make him a horrendous human… just not a very good teacher. Although the way information was presented in his book was excellent. I think he was very cerebral and was capable of getting down the finer points on the page, but had very little patience when dealing with individuals who didn’t measure up to him, and let’s face it… he was the best contact hitter of the last 75 years I’d guess.

    Ty Cobb on the other hand was a drunk, spike sharpening, gambling, drug using, STD carrying murderer. Although some say it was self defense, others say he did it just for fun. He killed his own father and his mother helped him cover it up. Maybe his dad had it coming… I don’t know. But I don’t see how somebody could come from that life and be a well adjusted human being. Cobb was an all time great, but he was also a sociopath. Ted Williams was just a hothead. Much different scenario.

    But while I’m talking about players that work hard and have that leadership, I’d love to see the M’s make a run at Hamilton this offseason, with some promises that the outfield will be adjusted to benefit his hitting. He’s the kind of leader this team needs. Like I said about Edgar… I think Hamilton is that type of guy. Fiery, but a great teammate. Texas likely won’t let him get away, but maybe once in a while you overpay to bring in a guy like that in hopes that others follow, and the payoff is that all of your young rookies and team controlled players start playing up to their capabilities and the Hamilton contract becomes a bargain when a guy making minimal cash like Smoak starts performing better thanks to having Hamilton on his side. Plus it weakens Texas. I like the idea. So therefore it won’t happen. ;)

    Thanks for the chat guys. It’s always entertaining to read what you have to say. There is a ton of knowledge here and lots of conviction in the opinions. I look forward to the M’s winning again someday and the audience expanding, because I know you all could teach the newcomer fans a lot about the game and the history and the club. Hopefully good times are ahead of us all. Go M’s. Move in the fences and sign a leader eh? :)

  36. SharkHawk says:

    One question about the Ackley moving discussion…. has there been talk from the organization about moving him? He was a CF in college, but tore his shoulder to bits before his last season and that was why he moved to 1B at UNC, because his arm was so bad that he couldn’t throw anymore with velocity (especially less than a year out from the surgery). They placed him at 1B out of necessity in order to keep his bat in the lineup, but no major league team saw him as a first baseman. He doesn’t have the size for it obviously. You want your guys at first to be tall for stretches and such and it is typically your weakest defensive player.

    I thought the reason they moved him to second was because they didn’t feel his arm could handle the outfield, but 2nd base was as good as they could do because he was athletic, had played the infield at first, and his arm would hold up at 2b better than elsewhere, and there is no reason to put a slap hitter at 1b as that is where you typically put a thumper. I thought the 2b move was permanent and was meant to preserve his arm and legs and keep him to where he could just focus on hitting. This is what Houston did with Craig Biggio, who to me was a VERY similar player in stature and skills to Ackley as a young player, but Biggio was playing catcher. The Stros decided that they needed his bat in the lineup everyday and 2B was the ideal position to put him in, because it’s easier to “hide” a guy at 2B as long as he’s quick, has pretty good range, and hits well. Then you can have a lighter hitter at SS who has greater range in order to still have a solid infield up the middle. The M’s did this with Boone as he was a really excellent hitter as a 2B, but his stature and throwing arm would have made him a really bad match at an outfield position. If you have a guy that can field at 2B and hit then I think you leave him there. I understand that Segar is the better player as of right now, but is there any possibility that he’d be a candidate to play SS? Is the range just not there? If you can bring in a thumping 3B (like we let go in Beltre or get Wright as suggested) then I think having Wright at 3rd, Segar at SS, and Ackley sticking at 2B makes sense. Go all out and pick up Hamilton to play the OF and all of a sudden I think it elevates everybody. Sure it costs a few big bucks, but the M’s have cleared Ichiro’s contract now, and they can more likely keep young pitchers around for the hometown discount if they know they’ll be pitching with a lineup that can hit (Hamilton and Wright in the lineup would be a great addition all around). That way guys like Ryan would be out of the picture as he offers nothing offensively, and you can adjust your OF’s to accomodate Hamilton and where he feels best playing (now he’s in CF, maybe he’d be fine moving to left or right as he’s coming up on 32). I think he’s got another 3-5 good years left in his bat if he stays healthy. Wright has always been kind of a streaky guy, but in a good lineup with protection I think he could put up a couple of good seasons. I’m afraid the M’s will do nothing though and blame it on the Figgins signing and say that deal made them not want to go get veterans who are at their “prime” and have just earned the big payday. It didn’t work too well for Beltre, Figgins, Sexson, or any of the garbage players Jackie threw out there every year hoping one would have a good season (Eric Byrnes anyone?). Part of the problem I still say is the stadium. It needs modifications immediately or hitters won’t come here. And the young hitters have shown that they can’t adjust well to this stadium, because it really just makes no sense. Plenty of teams win big in tiny stadiums, so why do we need to be playing in Yellowstone Park?

  37. bbn, just thought you’d like to know that Shannon Drayer, on tonight’s postgame radio show, identified Dustin Ackley as a ‘leftfielder in college.’

    Iwakuma pitched decently. That high school curve ball Darvish was throwing was devastating when matched wtih his other stuff.

  38. bbnate420 says:

    SharkHawk, Ackley played both SS and CF in high school. Many scouts said he could be a good 2nd baseman when he came out of college. And he actually played a lot of 1st in college before his junior season and the injury. It seems it was mostly out of team necessity before the injury. You should look at his Wikipedia page. I have not heard any talk from the organization about him moving to the outfield, but he is the most logical choice if they sign a Wright or promote Liddi. He has the athleticism and a history of playing the OF. They already have a ready replacement at 2nd in Seager.

  39. bbnate420 says:

    I wonder if this blog has any readers still around for Divish next year. Not covering the team for weeks at a time isn’t really the way to attract readers.

  40. SharkHawk says:

    I thought the scouts said he’d be a good second baseman due to his athleticism and the fact that his arm was now too weak to play in CF. My understanding was that they converted him to 2b for the long haul, or he would have been in the majors sooner. I have no problem sending him down and learning a new position though to start next season and letting Kyle take over at 2B full time. He’s a better hitter at this point by a long shot. I was just wondering if Seager had any chance at playing SS, or if he doesn’t have the range or arm for it. 3B seems to be the 2nd hiding place after 1B. Most poor fielders play 1B, LF, or 3B it seems (or obviously DH in the AL). You need your absolute best defensive guys at C, SS, 2B, CF and RF.

  41. bbnate420 says:

    It seems like Seager is as good defensively as Ackley to me. He has made more errors, but he also makes more good plays IMO. Let me be clear, I’m not looking to move Ackley from 2nd just for the sake of moving him. He has been very good there defensively this year. I think he has the 2nd best defensive WAR. Maybe it was 2nd in the AL. Doesn’t make a lot of spectacular plays, but he makes some and the VAST majority of the routine ones. I only suggested it if we sign Wright or bring up Liddi next season. Ackley is the most natural player to move from the IF to the OF in my opinion. He could play LF next year without going down to learn it I think. And Seager could easily take over 2nd. Hopefully, Guti finally stays healthy so we don’t have to think about him going to CF. I bet his arm strength is back from his surgery by now though. I don’t think it was great to begin with. I suggested this because I don’t see any free agent OF’s that really excite me to sign with the M’s. Besides Hamilton, which I don’t think there is a chance of happening. We need to find another starting OF IMO. Wright would be a good sign to me and, Liddi could easily be the best position player the M’s have ready to come up. This is assuming that Franklin needs another full year of AAA and Zunino doesn’t surprise and make the 25 next spring. Zunino doesn’t affect the OF and IF positions besides 1st anyways.

  42. bbnate420 says:

    I don’t see Seager as a SS, and I don’t believe the M’s do. I could be wrong. I think they bring Ryan back for next year and see how Franklin develops in 2013. Ryan is still very valuable to this team even if he is hitting .200 IMO. I would hope he would bounce back with a little better offensive year in 2013. I would be totally fine with .240-.250, 20 doubles, a few triples, 5-8 home runs, and 40-50 RBI. Saunders may not quite have the ideal arm you look for in RF, but we need him in the lineup and his range will make up for his arm IMO. His range is far superior to most RFs.

  43. Other stuff: Peguero continues to disappoint. And, the M’s hitting lineup, 1-6, looks a lot better when Smoak hits. Still falls off a cliff at Olivo.

  44. bbnate420 says:

    I’m Larry LaRue! Oh wait, I can’t be if I actually post something!

  45. bbnate420 says:

    Give me a free agent or 2 for the M’s to sign this off-season, timeout! I seriously want to know? There’s nothing else here to wonder about!

  46. bbnate420 says:

    Do we count on either Carp or Smoak staying healthy and hitting from the 1st baseman slot?

  47. bbnate420 says:

    Sorry Larry, I know they aren’t paying you. I understand! It’s not your fault!

  48. bbn, I reviewed the free agent list a while back and came up with Carlos Quentin. Then I researched a little further–after posting, of course–and discovered (just as Coach81 was correcting me) that he had resigned for three years during the season. So don’t ask me–I’ll just screw it up.

    I’m fixated on David Wright at the moment. I hope Jack Z is better at this than I am. :)

  49. And–Larry Stone has a thoughtful piece on the recent decline of .300 hitters in today’s ST. Yep, it’s cyclical; but seeing as how the last hitting cycle was fueled by steroids, etc., I wonder how the hitters will make a comeback this time? They can’t lower the mound again.

    Selig could start by banning Darvish’s 62 mph curveball.

  50. bbnate420 says:

    I think it’s Wright or just save the money personally. There is no one else I would want them to make a significant investment in this coming off-season. Maybe they are contending and they use the money to make a trade mid-season? If not, wait and use the money before 2014. Don’t waste money on another Bilbo Baggins! I don’t want them to spend it just to spend it, but I don’t want them to just eat it regardless either. I have some hope for the first time in awhile. If the team was sold to a local interest, I would be on cloud 9!

  51. bbnate420 says:

    Larry Stone is a gem! Really a great writer!

  52. I agree with you on Wright, bbn, but my point would be, I’m not able to find a diamond in the rough. [Figgins, most everyone figured, was a sure thing. Why they couldn't see the downside of having two guys with almost identical roles--Figgins and Ichiro--on the same team is beyond me.]

    Somewhere out there may be a team looking at Miguel Olivo and believing he’s just what they need for 2013. That’s the kind of thinking I’d like M’s management to avoid.

  53. I don’t care for losing under any circumstances. But I did like what I saw from Smoak in his final AB today. The first strike to him, he took that long, looping swing that doesn’t work. He hung in there and finally hit the ball out with a shorter, better swing.

    Also, I figured Beavan for five innings and five or six runs today. I hope he continues to pitch decently, at least the majority of the time, until the kids are ready; if they develop, he’d be a useful piece in a trade.

  54. No TNT staff posts in 7 days? That is pathetic.

  55. If it wasn’t for all of your guys’ comments that I enjoy reading/debating/responding to, I would have no reason to come back to this blog. Somebody mentioned Ethier, but he signed an extension mid-season. Seager doesn’t have the range to play SS, and Ryan’s defense makes the entire defense better. The pitchers love having him behind them, even if he is hitting below his weight. An offense can be fine with one guy hitting like that, not 3-4. I really hope the Mets decide to save some money and not pick up Wright’s option, and I hope we are extremely aggressive in pursuing him. I’m not saying break the bank, i.e. a contract longer than 5 years or average salaries over $17M, but he would be a good veteran presence in the middle of the lineup and is still in his prime.

  56. moo moos, and magically a post appears. How do you do it, moo?

  57. “moo moos, and magically a post appears. How do you do it, moo?”

    By Bovine Moo-jic??!

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