Sunday, October 30, 2005

No News Is Good News?

This is the worst time of the year for a baseball fan. I opened the local paper this morning (The Kitsap Sun) and found exactly two baseball related stories in the Sports section - DePo gets canned and Manny wants to be traded (again). Yikes! Perhaps an online search would provide something. The Times and P.I. are both devoid of any content related to the Mariners. Even the blogosphere was pretty quiet.

I don't follow football or basketball or hockey - it's baseball or nothing for me. So I guess it's nothing for the next several months. Which may not be an entirely bad thing - I've been planning to update my web page for a long time now. Perhaps it will finally come to pass.

So when does Spring Training start?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Weekly Update 10/27/05

We're back to the weekly update format that served us so well last year until ST. So let's hit it:
  • Wrap up from the Times concerning the coaching staff hirings. Ho-hum - let's talk starting pitching and left handed sock please.
  • Fluff piece from the P.I. concerning whether Eddie will be back next year. For the work he did in 2005, he was overpaid. There are guys on the 40 man roster right now that can close - spend that money elsewhere.
  • Baseball for 2005 is officially over since the WS concluded last night in Houston with a White Sox win.
  • USS Mariner reports that Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be posted this year. Bad news for us - good news for NPB fans.
  • Edit: Got to add this piece by Art Thiel in the P.I. this morning. Among many things I completely disagree with are his assertion that, speaking of Guardado, "the Mariners have no obvious successor to him on the 40-man roster." How about Soriano, Putz, or even Meche?

Friday, October 21, 2005

So Long Bobby!

The Mariners announced today that Bobby Madritsch was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals. As I have said before, I admired Bobby for his "knock me off this hill if you can" attitude. He made the second half of the dreadful 2004 season at least interesting. Good luck man.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Go Astros!!

So why a post concerning the Astros in a Seattle Mariner blog?

I'm a native Houstonian. Although I've lived in the Northwest for the last 11 years (and now call Silverdale home), my roots still extend back to the Houston area. I remember well seeing games at Colt Stadium, and my Dad taking us across the parking lot to the big hole in the ground that would one day be the Astrodome. I remember seeing many games in the Dome. Seeing guys like Willie Mays, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, "Little Joe" Morgan - well, you get the idea. Anyway, seeing the Astros win the NLCS was awesome. Best wishes for success in the WS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What I'm Reading Today 10/18

USA Today has posted a very moving story concerning the life and hard times of Dwight Gooden. It's a sad story - but worth a read.

The Winter of Ichiro's Discontent

An interesting article in the Times this morning concerning Ichiro! and his feelings after the disastrous 2005 campaign. I'm not quite sure exactly what Finnigan is trying to say in this piece, but it does call to mind something that tends to be overlooked in the discussion concerning Ichiro!. He is, first and foremost, Japanese. I think people here tend to judge him as they would an American player - and that misses the mark. For example, the practice of the Japanese players paying a visit to Mr. Yamauchi to thank him for the opportunity to play for the club is quite foreign to us. Can you actually picture somebody like A-Rod appearing before King George to thank him for the opportunity to be a Yankee? Not likely. But Ichiro! functions as a Japanese player - Finnigan does allude to some of the philosophical differences that Manager Hargrove had with Ichiro! this past season. It's been clear from the start that Ichiro! has been his own player - he does things his way (or in context with his cultural heritage). Does this make him selfish? Not in my opinion - it just makes him true to himself - and that's something that the Mariners need to keep in mind when dealing with him.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sponsorships At baseballreference.com

As pointed out by Dr. Detecto, an opportunity exists for sponsoring a player (or team for that matter) over at baseballreference.com. Check it out - it's a win for a great site and for you (the sponsor).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So Where Do We Go From Here?

Here's a few final thoughts on the 2005 campaign - and where we go from here.

Although Seattle fans had to suffer through another terribly disappointing year, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for 2006:

  • One must assume that Beltre, Reed, Betancourt, and Lopez will improve offensively.
  • King Felix emerged as a true force.
  • The GM has assured anyone who will listen that money is not a problem.
  • Richie Sexson dispelled all fears concerning his health and turned in an awesome year.

I plan to take a bit of a break from daily blogging. I'll update as needed until ST starts - then it's back to the daily grind. Hopefully next year will be better for all of us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

2005 Report Card - The Defense

The Defense

I was planning to do an in-depth review of the defense, but quite frankly I think that would be a waste of time. Let's just agree that the 2005 defense was above average, give them a B+, and move on.

Edit: Jeff did an excellent review over at Lookout Landing.

What I'm Reading Today

Check this hilarious piece by Seattle's own Deanna over at Seattle Marinerds. Priceless.

Monday, October 10, 2005

ALDS Sidelight - The Broadcast Crew

In addition to having to deal with Tim McCarver's drivel, did you notice yesterday evening that the other one (edit: Thom Brenneman, I think) kept referring to "Cowboy" Joe West as "Country" Joe West? Gimme an F!!!!


In case that Country Joe reference is a little arcane, here's a link to Joe's website that should clear it up - Click here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

2005 Report Card - The Pitchers

The Pitchers

I happened to spend a couple of days in Arizona this past February, and
was lucky enough to be able to get over to Peoria on one of those days
and watch the Mariners work out in Spring Training. There was a lot
to be optimistic about at that time, including the pitching staff.
Sometimes fate has other ideas - and the 2005 pitching staff ends up
with a D. Take a look at the following:

W   L   WHIP   K/BB   K/9     BAA   OPS   ERA
69 92 1.38 1.79 5.61 .268 .753 4.47


A few thoughts:

Madritsch going down was a major blow to the rotation.
Pineiro not being ready to start until well into the season also hurt.
Moyer's extreme home/road splits...
Moyer was the only guy to get 200 innings.
Meche was an enigma (again).
Franklin's suspension (hopefully signalling his departure).

The numbers (reasons to be hopeful):

Felix - K/9 of 8.38 in 77.1 innings, 2.56 ERA
Soriano - K/9 11.05 in 7.1 innings, 2.45 ERA
Guardado - 36 S, 2.72 ERA.
Sherrill - awesome 11.37 K/9 over 19 innings, 3.32 ERA.
Mateo - 88 innings, 2.97 ERA

Although the 2005 campaign was a bust, there are many reasons to be
optimistic for the 2006 campaign. Bavasi has stated that starting
pitching is one of his number one priorities. The addition of one or two
quality arms (and the loss of several "problem" members of the pitching
staff) will go a long ways toward righting the ship. The bullpen is not an
area of concern. Speaking of the bullpen, let's hope that Gil Meche finds
himself starting the 2006 campaign there - that finally may be the answer
to the question that has been Gil Meche.

Next: The Defense

Monday, October 03, 2005

2005 Report Card - The Hitters

Here is the first of three installments of my 2005 Report Card for your Seattle Mariners (69-93). Today, we will discuss the hitters. Later this week, we will discuss the pitchers and the defense.


The Hitters

Although there were some individual bright spots, the hitters get a D for overall performance. Let's compare this year's offense to the pathetic 2004 team:

  • 2004 - .270/.331/.396 698 Runs, 136 HR, 658 RBI
  • 2005 - .259/.323/.391 699 Runs, 130 HR, 657 RBI

I'd call that a wash. Although some individuals performed at a much higher level, the team as a whole did not improve. Some individual performances that I would like to highlight:

  • Ichiro! .303/.354/.436 111 Runs, 206 Hits, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 33 SB
  • Ibanez .280/.355/.436 92 Runs, 172 Hits, 20 HR, 89 RBI
  • Sexson .263/.369/.541 99 Runs, 147 Hits, 39 HR, 121 RBI
  • Beltre .255/.303/.413 69 Runs, 154 Hits, 19 HR, 87 RBI
  • Reed .254/.322/.352 61 Runs, 124 Hits, 3 HR, 45 RBI

To me, Ichiro!, Ibanez, and Sexson all exceeded my expectations, and all get A's for their efforts. It's a bit tougher to call it on Beltre, but in the final analysis he gets a C. His 2005 numbers are certainly better than anything the M's threw out there at 3rd base in 2004 - but also a disappointment after his monster stats in 2004. I would hope that Beltre can do better in 2006. Jeremy Reed gets a D - he wasn't anywhere close to his 2004 performance this year. He is definitely going to need to do better in 2006.

I'll make some general comments about the rest of the offense (don't want to get too specific with the guys that didn't have at least 300 AB). I think Lopez, Betancourt, and Morse (assuming that he is still around in 2006) will all get better with more AB under their belts. Greg Dobbs got hot in September - I'll be interested to see if he can repeat in 2006. The offensive contribution from the catchers was negligible. And the bench, for the most part, was a non-factor.

It's clear that another offensive upgrade is in order. Bavasi mentioned the left handed power bat as a priority. I'm not sure that the addition of a single bat is going to fix this offense. But adding a quality left handed power hitter would be a step in the right direction.

Edit: Of the guys with less than 300 AB, here are a few details:

Bloomquist .257/.289/.333 27 Runs, 64 Hits, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 14 SB (1 CS)
Morse .282/.353/.374 27 Runs, 64 Hits, 3 HR, 23 RBI
Betancourt .256/.297/.372 23 Runs, 53 Hits, 1 HR, 15 RBI
Lopez .246/.281/.380 18 Runs, 46 Hits, 2 HR, 25 RBI


Next: The Pitchers

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Game 162 - It's Over

And so ends the 2005 campaign. Too many in the L column - not enough in the W column.

Felix had another good game today. The bullpen let the game get away.

The season report card will come in three installments - hitting, pitching, and defense.

Game 161 - Approaching The End

Okay, I'll be honest. Since this game was not televised, I didn't even bother listening to it on the radio. Instead, I went over to Silver City Tattoo and made an appointment to get a new tattoo.

I did see Betancourt's homerun on the 6 o'clock news. He's going to be something special. I also saw in this morning's Kitsap Sun that Bobby Madritsch will have surgery on his shoulder - hopefully ready for ST.

Felix pitches the last game of the season today. I plan to have the first installment of the season report card up by Monday evening.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Game 160 - Dan, Moyer, and Ichiro!

Moyer goes to 10-0 at Safeco. I'm beginning to think that the idea of bringing Moyer back next year as a "home starter" has some merit.

Congrats to Ichiro! on acheiving the 200 hit mark again. He continues to show why he is such a special player.

The fans got to say goodbye to Dan Wilson last night. Seeing the tribute footage, I couldn't help but think how young he looked in 1995. Dan was always a favorite in our house - we will miss him.