Street Reporter's Seattle Mariners fan blog

September 02, 2008

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Been a while since I posted, in part because I was out of town last week at a trade show in San Diego. Not a bad place to go for a working vacation, and a week ago we got to take in a game between the Padres and the D-backs. My dad's a rabid D-backs fan, beside which my fandom (or fanhood, as the ESPN ads call it) seems rather small. He brought his own logo-coordinated Arizona hat and shirt, having overcome his anger at their change in colors and logo, which seemed to him (correctly) to be an effort to boost merchandising sales.

He brought a hat for me, and we ended up with great seats just above the aisle behind the visiting dugout, so that nearly every Arizona fan who walked by expressed their out-of-towner support. It's a cool feeling to have that solidarity, and there are plenty of AZ fans in San Diego, with Phoenix only six hours away and the Padres down in the dumps. Plus, Brandon Webb was going for his twentieth win, so even more fans were there than usual, I'd bet.

Continue reading "A Night at PETCO"

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August 16, 2008

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Two bits of news from former Seattle players, one surprising, but the other one, not so much.

Easy one first: the Yankees designated Richie Sexson for assignment yesterday, in a roster shakeup that included demoting starting center fielder Melky Cabrera. Sexson had hit .250 in 28 at-bats, with a grand slam and six RBis. Ever the all-or-nothing guy, Sexson had one or two big hits, and a whole lot of hits and weak groundouts. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was gracious about Sexson, saying he was an everyday player, not a bunch guy, and that was the problem.

Those of us who saw the Big Un-Sexy everyday know what hokum that is. With even the desperate Yanks giving up on the strikeout-prone power hitter, we've likely seen the last of Sexson this season. Next year, it's possible he'll be in someone's spring training, trying to make the roster, and best of luck to him--and the team who takes him. Let's just hope that team's not Seattle.

Continue reading "Ex-Mariner News"

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August 15, 2008

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To add to yesterday's post, neither Ibanez nor Washburn was dealt after they were claimed on waivers. According to the Post-Intelligencer, the Twins put in claims on both, and their waiver number was higher for Jarrod, while the Tigers claim was highest for Ibanez.

The Twins were actually willing to swallow Jarrod's monster $10M+ salary for next year, but didn't want to also part with a major-league level pitcher, too. They also placed their claim, in part, to block the claim of the division-rival White Sox, so it's possible they didn't really want to work out a deal. But the Mariners should have, since the next steps are either to waive Washburn again, meaning that the claiming team merely has to eat his salary, or hang on to him and either try and trade him in the offseason, or simply eat his Bavasi-esque salary themselves next year. 

Continue reading "Waiver Update"

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August 14, 2008

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According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, teams have claimed both Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez, contradicting earlier reports I'd heard that Washburn had passed through waivers. This happened on Tuesday, meaning that Seattle has until today to work out a trade with the claiming team or simply allow the players to be claimed. If the Mariners pull them back from waivers, it means that if Seattle tries to waive them again, it's irrevocable, and the claiming team can simply take the players (and their salaries) without compensation to Seattle.

At this point--since the deadline has now passed for a deal--I'm going to assume that no news is no trade news. We may find out differently in the next few hours, but waiver claims and deals are tricky things, involving gamesmanship by other teams as well as merely wanting a player. The Yankees often claim players (like Jose Canseco) off waivers just to ensure that divisional rivals don't get them. Even if a deal can't be worked out (as happened when the Sox claimed Brian Giles) that player can't be waived again, at least not without the threat of losing him without compensation.

Continue reading "More Waiver News"

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August 11, 2008

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Arizona has just traded for Adam Dunn, reports Baseball Digest Daily, bolstering their outfield to offset injuries to Eric Byrnes and Justin Upton, as well as to counteract the Dodgers' recent acquisition of Manny Ramirez. That Dunn passed through waivers is both an indication of his big salary for the year, as well as his undervalued status among GMs.

Dunn, like the Oakland A's Jack Cust, is a member of the Three True Outcomes (TTO) club. That is, each plate appearance typically ends either in a walk, a strikeout, or a home run. Only the whiffs really hurt a team, but the result of this marks him as a low-BA guy, and shows the limitation of this antiquated statistic.  But it also shows his all-or-nothing philosophy at the plate, a guy who doesn't know how to cut down on his swing with two strikes and hit the ball softly the other way.

Continue reading "Arizona Dunn-Backs"

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August 10, 2008

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Even if it ended badly for the Mariners, and for Willie Bloomquist in particular, last night's game against first-place Tampa Bay showed that the Mariners still have some fight in them. Though they blew a four-run lead on errors by Jose Lopez and failed to drive home a run in what should have been an easy game-winning situation, Seattle provided some excitement and refused to give up, even with an utterly depleted bench that had them giving up the DH in order to have enough position players. And we got another glimpse of the Mariners' future, at least on the mound.

Ryan Rowland-Smith had been sent down to stretch out his arm as a starter, a wise decision on a team without a strong rotation--and, if Washburn is traded as expected, even weaker--and for a pitcher who'd done well as a reliever. He'd logged a 2-1 record this year, with two saves, in 46.1 IP, putting up 39 strikeouts against 21 BBs. That last number is the only glaring mark against his 3.30 ERA, and part of what he'd gone down to the minors to work on. In Tacoma, he did a little better, with 12 Ks against 7 BBs in 18.2 IP, with a 2-0 record and a 2.89 ERA. 

Continue reading "Rollicking Ride Against the Rays"

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August 09, 2008

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The Mariners announced today that Jarrod Washburn has cleared waivers, meaning he can now be freely traded to whatever team wants to take on his massive salary. There's no real surprise here, as it's doubtful any other team would want to take on his bloated $9.85M salary. So the failure of Seattle to deal him before the deadline isn't so awful, except that his value seemed to have peaked at that point for a couple of reasons: (1) he'd pitched really well to that point (4 ER in 19.2 IP in the three starts before the deadline, (2) his value diminishes with each day that passes, since that means less time he can spend with a contending team (e.g., the Yanks) starved for starters, which leads to (3) the team in question being more likely to go in another direction.

The first point seems particularly relevant, as Wishy-Washburn has reverted to his more typical high-ERA ways. In the two starts since the deadline, he's 0-2, giving up 9 ER in 10.2 IP. For a moment there, either because he was buoyed by the thought of playing for a contending team, or because of the ups and downs of statistics, he was pitching pretty well. Now he doesn't look even like the average innings-eater he's always been.

Continue reading "Washburn is ready to move"

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August 06, 2008

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Well, someone in the front office has been reading my blog (as well as those of other Mariners fans), since Seattle's housecleaning continues with the long-awaited designation of Jose Vidro for assignment. This gives the Ms 10 days to trade, release, or assign Vidro to the minors. Since they have no plans to bring him back up, it's doubtful they'd put him in Tacoma (and even more doubtful that he'd accept the assignment). It's even more doubtful that any team would take him on, at least at his current salary, anyway.

In his place, Seattle recalled Wladimir Balentien, giving us another look at the future makeup of the team. He continued to rip up AAA pitching since his demotion on June 17, putting up a .294/.382/.606 July and a .375/.412/1.287 August (in 4 games). More importantly, he showed better plate discipline, with 17 walks against 29 strikeouts. That's not beautiful, but it's better than he'd been doing, and hopefully he can carry that over into the majors.

Continue reading "Jose Vidro, No Mas"

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August 05, 2008

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In last night's game, we got to see why Raul Ibanez is a valuable commodity, even to a flailing team like the Mariners, and beyond even the good-but-not-great numbers he puts up. During the seventh inning, when Ibanez had a chance to take a swipe at history, with his team already ahead three runs in a game amid season that's lost virtually any meaning, he put his team first.

Let's set the stage. With the Mariners trailing 6-1 and one out in the bottom of the seventh, Ibanez stepped to the plate with the sacks jacked, and promptly emptied them with a moon shot Grand Salami to right. This ignited a Mariners rally--to put it mildly--and Seattle began to plle on the runs. They burned through four Minnesota pitchers and put up ten runs before the third out was tallied, setting a season record for most runs in an inning, and putting the first-place Twins out of commission.

Continue reading "Raul and the Blowout"

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August 03, 2008

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For the first time since May 13, the Minnesota Twins--the team that stood pat during the recent Trade Deadline Sweepstakes--assume first place in the NL Central today.

Chicago had been waiting for its bats to heat up all season, and both Swisher and Konerko have had a few streaks of hot hitting, but they couldn't get the whole team hitting at the same time. So they grabbed Ken Griffey, Jr., a move that was part consummation of a long-time love affair with Junior by GM Kenny Williams and part best-choice trade.

Williams didn't give up much to get Griff, but it's hard to say where the aging outfielder fits in best. They've got him slotted in at center, where he's still adequate and no worse than Nick Swisher, but Junior's most valuable as a DH, and Jim Thome has been one of the few players to start cold and then get hot again. With both being lefties, it doesn't make sense to platoon them, either. And so there will be a rotation of sorts among Griff, Thome, Konerko and Swisher at first, DH and outfield.

Continue reading "Twins in First"

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