Q and A time
Q: The Rainiers are down in Fresno - what are you up to?
A: Eh, you know - having some good wine, listening to an old Joy Division album.
Q: Cool. Are you also wearing a black cape? Are you performing the Gothic Dance?
A: Hey! No! Crap, I let my guard down for a minute and all I get is abuse. I don't need this. I put on Band of Horses, m'Kay?
Q: Thanks. But if there's a word about Bauhaus, I'm sooo out of here.
Q: So your boy George Sherrill has a WHIP of like 3. Does he suck now?
A: No. No he does not. Before today's game, I sort of wondered if George hadn't entered his first transitional phase an an MLB player. In the minors (and the majors to this point), George has had the luxury of striking people out on balls. His slider has real movement, and it's delivered with a pretty good approximation of his FB delivery. Hitters had to swing, or risk getting K'd looking on the FB. But this year, hitters have been fouling off the FB and just taking the breaking ball - no matter how tempting it looks out of the hand. This plan has proven successful so far, with hitters drawing more walks than you'd expect from GS52's minor- and major-league K/BB ratios.
Now, I'd like to see some measure of his quality of hitters faced; facing the likes of Hafner, Ortiz and even Garret Anderson isn't exactly the norm, though given his role, it's one he'll have to get accustomed to. The point, though, is that George has to make an adjustment given that MLB hitters have made an adjustment to him. Today's game showed that he's still absolute death to lefties. Positive Paul and I think he's good enough to get righties out, too. And now that teams understand who the heck he is, he's going to see more righties (he's gotten to the point where teams will pinch-hit against him). We'll know things are going well when he can get GB outs and the occasional backwards K using his slider to righties. I have the utmost confidence that this will occur, but that's not really a surprise given the focus of this blog.
Q: The Rainiers started sucking there. What's up with that?
A: The A's system is extremely well-run. Check out what their AA club is doing to our beloved San Antonio. Seriously, they've got a team of MLB and AAA vets, and they're doing what they're supposed to. When you've got Santiago Casilla/Jairo Garcia/whatver he's calling himself these days in the pen, and you've got MLB vets like Keisler, Gaudin and Meyer in your rotation, you're going to do OK in the PCL. Remember, Kevin Jarvis had an awesome year last year in the PCL; MLB experience does wonders. Why? Because you're facing guys like Adam Jones, who has all the talent in the world, but doesn't have the experience to know how he's being set up, and hasn't seen as many quality breaking balls.
The Rainiers are going to be fine. A fair number of their guys have MLB experience too, though that's more of a function of the M's being a AAAA team the past two years. They've got a great defense... I'd love to see some defensive efficiency stats for this league.
And hey, they won today, 5-1. Shin-Soo Choo is showing signs that last year really was just a fluke, and Cruceta's proving to be a great, under-the-radar sort of pick-up.
Q: So the M's might dump Petagine. What do you think about that?
A: Um, it sounds pretty dumb to me. I'm not exactly an M's blog trail blazer here, but that strikes me as a lame idea. If you've got a guy who's not producing, but who signed a relatively large contract, and another guy who can (probably) give you a lot more, for less money, teams have to make a choice. They can demonstrate an understanding of sunk costs and understand that Carl, I mean this hypothetical player, is going to get his money, no matter what. The only question is how many runs you're going to forfeit by running him out there day after day waiting for things to change. What's that line about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
There's still an argument to trade Petagine... if the M's, for whatever reason, have some sort of mental block to getting the guy some ABs (whether because he doesn't have a natural position, or whether because he's blocked by Everett - and those two statements are the same thing), or because Hargrove doesn't like his face, then the M's should get something in return. The TNT story may be a part of a plan to stir up some interest amongst the other MLB teams. It would be great to point to Everett's production as a reason that Petagine isn't needed, but again, this decision to dump Roberto doesn't have to be rational to want the M's to get something shiny in return. The problem, as evidenced by the Carvajal trade, is that the M's often demonstrate an itchy trigger-finger: they'll dump a guy they don't want to the first team that offers some beads, a Showtime Rotisserie grill (trade him and FORGET IT!) and a Pocket Fisherman. Even if Petagine has some trade value, and it's kind of impossible to imagine that he doesn't - how would he look in Oakland right now - don't hope for anything approaching 'market' value in return. Everyone knows Bavasi's in a bind, and they're not interested in making him more comfortable.
Q: Okay, so who's the first guy up from Tacoma? Nageotte into the vaunted Earl Weaver-style swing starter/reliever - or maybe Sean Green as the freakish GB-guy out of the bullpen?
A: Good question. The M's don't seem to have a real plan with their bullpen. It takes a guy like Raffy Soriano or Sherrill to sort of force their hands by performing well... otherwise, they'll cycle through plenty of Atchisons and Loopers and Kidas, not because they're the answer to some sort of problem, or because they fill a need, but because they're there. I'm sort of shocked that Andrew Lorraine didn't make an appearance last year. All this is by way of saying that the first guy back will probably be Jeff Harris, just because he's a known commodity and will give them some solid innings in long relief. If their starters don't start putting some longer outings together, then expect Harris back to bail out an overworked bullpen.
This doesn't bother me. Harris is a fungible MLB reliever (meaning he's not better - but not worse - than a number of 11-12th pitchers in the AL), and the M's really don't care about burning his options. Green and Nageotte both have some work to do. That's doubly true of Foppert. All of them need to work out the kinks in their mechanics and work on refining their control. It'll happen, esp. with Green and Nageotte - they've got a much greater margin for error just given their GB/FB ratios. Look at Green: he'll walk someone, or plunk 'em, and then get a GB double-play. No harm done. Still, the Mariners would be wise to see if he can't, y'know, stop hitting people before bringing him up.
Q: Hey, one more...
A: No, I'm going to bed.