The plan is ... there is no plan: I don't think anyone saw this coming.
Yes, McCracken has no business being in the major leagues. But if Bavasi thought McCracken sucked -- which he does -- why did he trade for him, and pick up his near $2 million contract? Ye gods and little fishies. This ship has no rudder.
I'm not sure whether trading for Q in the first place or designating him for assignment hurts my faith in Bavasi more. The first move didn't make any sense, but fit the organizational blueprint of "nice enough guy, smart, gets along with everybody." This move ... well, the positive spin would be "Bavasi recognized he made a mistake." The realistic spin is "He has no idea what he's doing, and he's just throwing stuff at the wall now."
Want to hear the negative spin? I know you do. The negative spin is that they want to showcase Nageotte for a potential ill-advised trade.
I fear this team is well on its way to becoming Tampa Bay West.
posted by Jefflink 2:57 PM 
The TV Critic strikes again. James at Trident Fever points out that John Levesque's recent criticism of the team belies his initial outlook, one where he cast aspersions at the team's critics.
One other note I'd like to add, and can't believe I missed at the time: in that April 2 column, Levesque says that despite worries about Scott Spiezio's defense at third base, "Spiezio this spring has been a human Maginot Line at third base." In context, it's clear Levesque means that as a compliment.
Which it isn't. The French built the Maginot Line, a fortified barrier, as a defense against the Germans in World War II. But those ingenious Germans just marched around it.
Today, the Maginot Line is used as a metaphor for a shortsighted, failed policy by most every writer other than The TV Critic.
posted by Jefflink 12:19 PM 
I can say two things with certainty: I'm not the only one around here reading the Will Carroll Weblog, and when I'm in Japan, I'm finding somebody to teach me to throw the gyroball.
Baseless speculation: From this article in the Philly Daily News:
The Rockies are hoping outfielder Preston Wilson makes a strong return from the disabled list. That could create a trade market, allowing general manager Dan O'Dowd some payroll flexibility for next season. The Mets and Mariners could have some interest.
Point the first: I really hate it when writers do this type of speculation without attribution. Does this mean he's heard that the Mariners could have some interest? Or that he, the author, thinks it makes sense for them to have interest? Two very different things.
Either way, I don't want Preston Wilson.
Not to be the Mariner Pessimist, but: With Pedro, Wakefield and Schilling set to take the hill against us, is anyone not predicting a sweep?
posted by Jefflink 8:47 AM 
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Three in a row: And that means we're 60 percent of the way to having the Optimist back.
Wright is still wrong: Bill Madden from the NY Daily News says the Mets are looking for pitching, and are looking at Freddy Garcia. However, he quotes Fred Wilpon thusly:
"We're looking. Believe me, we're looking," Wilpon said last night. "But the first name everybody brings up is (third base super prospect) David Wright and that is something we'd never do. What we really need is someone from our own organization to step up."
Find Cleveland's path from competitiveness to rebuilding interesting? Larry Stone says we might be seeing something similar here. But it looks like we'll have to rebuild with prospects other than David Wright.
Don't worry, though. Bavasi has found the answer. Abraham Nunez. (Second item)
Abraham Nunez? A 27-year-old outfielder who hits singles in AAA, and doesn't hit much of anything in the show? When I voted, 51 percent of voters in this P-I poll said "yes, trade Freddy." Unfortunately, there wasn't a "but not for Abraham Nunez" option.
What I was thinking after Ichiro homered: 1. Cool.
2. The broadcasters said to begin the game that Steve Nelson was the "Million Dollar Baseball Magic" contestant, and if any Mariner hits for the cycle, said contestant wins ... a free steak, as if he hit the Durham Bull. Or something.
Anyway, whether it is or is not "our" Steve, I hope Ichiro triples in his next at bat.
posted by Jefflink 6:11 PM 
The New York Times also says the Mets are interested in Freddy Garcia, but it appears he's a second-tier option behind Jason Schmidt from their perspective. That assumes Schmidt's arm doesn't explode like a pinata at an ADD kid's birthday party, though.
Trade rumors: John McGrath of the News-Tribune supports trading Freddy to the Mets for prospects. The prospect he salivates over is a 21-year-old AA third baseman named David Wright.
Memo to general manager Bill Bavasi: Dance with the Mets. Demand that Wright be the main man in a Garcia trade that would also include one of the two offensive-minded catchers in the Mets' system (Justin Huber or Mike Jacobs). Oh, and just for fun, ask for one of their promising young minor-league outfielders, a group that includes Victor Diaz, Craig Brozell, Prentice Redman and Esix Snead.
Oh, and Bill: you should be fired for driving this team into the ground so far we'd need the world's largest Phillips head to get us out.
Okay, that last line wasn't McGrath, that was me. But here's some information about Wright: he's ranked No. 5 on Baseball Prospectus' prospect list; The Hardball Times has him at 16; here's a Baseball America "Prospect Pulse" that raves about him; and a John Sickels "Down on the Farm" column that is very high on him, saying "Wright is just now getting the attention he deserves as a top prospect. I think he will be a mainstay in Shea Stadium eventually." Sickels puts his ETA at late 2004, early 2005.
This is definitely something I would investigate. While the Mets have been clear about not wanting to give up Scott Kazmir, I haven't seen them rule out a trade for Wright. And while his career batting average in the minors is unimpressive (in the .270s), 1. he's young; 2. he has plate discipline; 3. he's reportedly a fine defensive player; and 4. he took a real step forward in power this past year.
I'm not at all convinced that Freddy would get us Wright. But I'd take him if I could get him.
Ken Williams is open about 1. wanting to make a deal ASAP, and 2. to bring in Freddy Garcia or possibly Kris Benson. This is causing some unease in the White Sox clubhouse, apparently.
Personally, my only unease comes from the fear that Bavasi will ask for Jose Valentin in return.
The Seattle Mariners wish they'd passed on shortstop Rich Aurilia. The rumor is that they are trying to trade him back to a National League. The Giants should've signed Aurilia and kept him last winter. They can rectify that error now.
I think I speak for all of M's Nation when I say: Ted, we wish you were the Giants' GM.
Last night's game: Two good things, one bad thing from last night. First: they won. Let's not take this for granted. Second, I'm thrilled Bob Melvin's decision not to make Ichiro bunt in the 12th inning worked out. If the result had been a double play, I'd have blanched -- anything that encourages Melvin to abandon the "give up an out strategy" is good.
The bad news is that our best reliever is still apparently our last resort.
More Hickey Math: Okay, I let John Hickey skate a little bit for this one, since it required some actual calculation, and I figured he might have left the abacus at home. But how can you explain this, from today's Notebook?
Ichiro Suzuki, a career .390 hitting during the month of May, is doing himself one better this time around. He comes into tonight 37-for-95 (.390) for the month.
So he's a career .390 hitter (not hitting, ahem) in May. This May he's doing even better! He's hitting .390!
I was just about to write a "gotta give credit where it's due" post about Willie Bloomquist having the presence of mind to steal third base off Jose Jimenez, getting a tremendous jump.
Then he makes an ill-advised choice to come home on a routine grounder, with the infield drawn in, no less. Oy.
Sidenote: Dan Wilson was nearly out at first. When's the last time you saw a first-to-home-to-first double play where the catcher had to tag someone out?
To the bottom of the 11th we go. And where is Every Fifth Day Eddie?
posted by Jefflink 7:08 PM 
I would link to Scott Engel's new Sportsline column about possible Mariner trades, but it doesn't contain any real information -- just trolls through the roster and speculates inanely. ("Veteran outfielder Quinton McCracken could also be dealt, but he might be a reserve for any other team he joins.") Ya think?
Oh well, I linked to it anyway. Why not?
posted by Jefflink 2:33 PM 
Link grab bag: Both the Boston Globe and ESPN Insider report that the M's are among five teams pursuing Raul Mondesi. What? They're going to break the "we only go after good guys" rule for a broken-down outfielder who just quit in the middle of a season, hits right-handed and only plays hard every other Thursday between five and seven in the evening?
C'mon, Angels, Cardinals, Red Sox and Dodgers!
The Portland Tribune speculates on Edgar's potential retirement.
Kerry Wood will miss more time than originally thought, which the Chicago Sun-Times uses to fuel the Freddy rumors.
Okay, so the Mariners stink. But according to Baseball Prospectus' (premium) adjusted standings, they ... stink.
Today's P-I says there's no quick fix for the M's. So what do they need? One answer in the story is interesting:
What do the Mariners need in return?
"They really need to address their defense," an eastern AL general manager said. "They have good pitchers, but they don't have strikeout pitchers, so they need to have guys who can go and get the ball. That's why I was surprised they let (center fielder Mike) Cameron and (shortstop Carlos) Guillen go.
"Sure, Cameron struck out a lot. But he walked, he hit for power in a tough park for hitters and he ran the bases good. Most of all, he caught anything hit in the air to center. I feel for Randy Winn, because it's going to be hard to look good with people remembering all the catches that Cameron would make."
That's exactly right, isn't it? And did you catch who said that? "An eastern AL general manager."
One thing that frightens me is that three of the five AL East GMs would be smart enough to recognize that right away -- Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, and J.P. Ricciardi. I don't know much about the two-headed monster of Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan in Baltimore, but the only GM that clearly didn't say this is Chuck LaMar.
This frightens me, because it shows how far behind the M's are. Something that is as obvious as breathing to at least three-fifths of AL East GMs escaped the M's front office. Uh oh.
There's also an interesting morsel in there where an AL West scout says that "Seattle management wants to make money ... but winning is obviously not that crucial to them." Ouch.
Up is still down, film at 11: According to this TNT glowing story about Dan Wilson, this year:
Wilson's biggest contributions have come behind the plate - not at it.
No numbers are offered in support of this assertion. I wonder why?
Trade rumor roundup: We know that the Pale Hose revere Freddy Garcia the way the Germans love David Hasselhoff, but this is the first suggestion I've found that they also admire Jamie Moyer. It's a brief throwaway reference, and totally unlikely to matter in the long term given Jamie's 10 and 5 rights, but I thought it was worth noting.
They're interested in Rich Aurilia, Freddy Garcia and Ichiro, right? They sent scouts to our games, right? Then how many times have the Cubs talked trade with the M's about a trade? Apparently zero.
Hadn't heard the Mets mentioned as a trade market player before, but this article says they covet Freddy and might be interested in Meche, too. I found this passage from the breakout box amusing [emphasis added]:
Mariners (15-28): Ready to dismantle, with Ichiro Suzuki the only untouchable, but Seattle is expected to demand top young position players in return for RHPs Freddy Garcia (a free agent after this year) and Gil Meche. LHP Jamie Moyer would need to approve a trade. OF Raul Ibanez and 3B Scott Spiezio should be available.
Yes, they should. Should they ever!
posted by Jefflink 7:14 AM 
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Media Pile On The M's: Well, they've lost Newnham now, too. His latest calls for wholesale changes to the M's roster, and includes advocating calling up virtually everyone from the minor leagues.
You get the feeling reading this that he just looked at a list of minor leaguers and started rattling them off. "We should call up. Nageotte. And Blackley. And Madritsch. And Jose Lopez. And Leone. And Bucky. And Jamal Strong. And ..." Way to cover your bases, there, Blaine.
There's also the required-by-city-statute call to "give Willie Bloomquist a real chance." A real chance to do what, embarass himself?
I covered the feeding frenzy among local coumnists a few weeks back, but the real opinion-making media has now chimed in. No, not Newnham. I'm talking about The Missoulian. Mocked by Montana, too.
Chatter Continues: Chicagoland has fallen in love with Freddy Garcia from afar. He's the answer, says White Sox Central.
Speaking of the White Sox, I have been watching lots of their broadcasts, lately on MLB.tv, and the two most painful things about the service both come from Pale Hose games. You get:
1. The Giordano's deep dish pizza ads, which are mouthwatering and make me jealous every time I see some of that cheesy goodness; and
2. Hawk Harrelson's abysmal, contrived catchphrases. Shouting "He Gone!" after a strikeout is bad enough, but his home run call is the worst I've ever heard. After a intro of "You can put it on the board ..." be joins his broadcast partner in a chorus of "YES!" Reminds of the guys in high school who had absurd, choreographed secret handshakes.
Hawk's also the only broadcaster I've seen who makes a habit of regularly chattering to the hitter. "C'mon, Joe, get ahold of one now," etc. If you think Fairly is a homer, you ain't heard nothin'.