When All Hope is Lost...
Okay, I'm posting this now. Any hope for contending this season is officially gone. Heck -- it's a massive uphill battle now just to get to .500! It's time to start looking at and planning for 2007. Following is a list of things I would do right now to get some value out of the remaining games in this season, and to take steps towards improving the team for 2007.
1) Hargrove = gone. It now appears that he's actually doing things precisely to destroy the team. He is not a part of the M's future, and everyone I've talked to with any ties to the organization believes he will be fired in the offseason. Why wait? What possible good would it do keep him until then, when he's a short timer anyway? Effective immediately, Dan Rohn takes over as manager -- as a two-week head start on his September audition. That way you have SOME knowledge of how well he can handle managing in the big leagues before you ultimately decide the direction you want to go in the offseason. Even if it's only a 6-week audition, there's a lot that can be gained from giving him his shot. If you want a bigger-name manger, then fine -- replace Rohn in the offseason.
2) Bench Ichiro for a game or two. With the way he's been playing lately, he appears not to be giving his all. I'm not going to say that he's throwing it, and purposely being lazy -- but by all appearances, there's something going on with Ichiro. He could very well be tired. I have my suspicions what the issue is (see #1 above), but that's just mere speculation. If he's tired, rest him and play Snelling or Ibanez in right for a few games. I'm curious if Ichiro is mentally checking out, tired of all the losing -- and tired of the FO not having a reliable plan for turning it around.
3) Send Pineiro packing. He's done. There's been some discussion about Pineiro formerly using something that has since been banned under the new MLB testing policy, and he's not able to bounce back. He's lost most of his velocity, and just doesn't have the stuff to pitch effectively. Since he's not a part of the M's plans next year, let him go now and use his 40- and 25-man roster spot on someone who may be. Again -- give someone a head start on a September audition. See what Blackley, Cruceta, Livingston, or Bazardo might have. Give them some experience when the games no longer count.
4) Play Adam Jones regularly so he can continue to develop as a center fielder. Hickey speculates in the P-I that the M's may not be done making roster moves in discussing the lack of playing time for Jones. If he's not going to play in Seattle (he's still probably a bit green even for my liking), then don't further damage his development by keeping him on the bench. By all means, send him back down to Tacoma. But don't keep him out of the lineup.
Edit: 7:30 a.m. - I forgot one very important one, and remembered it in the shower this morning...
5) Place Rafael Soriano on the 60-day DL to clear up a roster spot for a September callup. Cruceta again comes to mind here. As does Hunter Brown. With Hargrove gone, there might actually be use for an 11-man pitching staff and a 5-man bench. I'd give a lot more of the regulars a lot more rest. Including George. He's had WAAAAAY too many appearances so far this year, and been warmed up even more. He may not have thrown a ton of innings, but he's thrown a lot of pitches warming up, just to leave the game after a 1-2 pitch LOOGY performance.
There are many, many more things that I could think of to gain some positivity on a now hopeless season. What are your ideas?