Monday, February 28, 2005

Should've Postponed That Walkabout!

Well, Chris Snelling fans will have to wait awhile to see if he can still play. KOMO is reporting knee surgery for the Australian outfielder, which means he'll be out 4-6 weeks. Looks like there won't be any shrimps on Seattle's barbee anytime soon, with Blackley the latest pitching casualty, Craig Anderson let go, and Snelling having another surgery. I mentioned something somewhere about bringing in Dave Nilsson to fill in as backup catcher, noticing his name on a minor-league free agent list. I wonder if he's still available...

I keep having visions that Snelling rubbed the Devil's Marbles wrong or something. Or maybe Jamal Strong had an ulterior motive.


Edit 3:45 p.m. -- could it be Myers' continual curse on Snelling???

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Wait'll Next Year, Dave!

Congratulations to Jerry Coleman, 2005 Ford C. Frick award winner. He of "Oh, doctor" and "You can hang a star on that one" fame will now be enshrined in Cooperstown, alongside Bob Uecker, Mel Allen, and Red Barber in the broadcasters' wing.

Unfortunately for us Dave Niehaus fans, it's another season of disappointment. Well, maybe this is another sign that the M's will make it to the World Series (being über-optimistic, I know). I mean, really, he's at least a finalist, and I think a bigger honor to him would be to actually be able to call a World Series game or two. Concerned for his health, though, I'm hoping he wins the award sooner rather than later.

Of course, I would not be disappointed at all if, come mid-summer 2010 or so, Niehaus and Edgar are enshrined together.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Quashing a Rumor

It appears that I may have started a rumor.

Catching up on my reading, I discovered that DrDetecto posted an entry in the SportSpot.Net Mariner's page summarizing my comments on a USS Mariner thread. The topic headline reads:
Mariners Scouts ASSIGNED to Read Us?, No wonder they're hot this winter ;-)
The Mariner Optimist picked up on this last week, too (where I came across the DrDetecto post initially):
And it sounds like Bill Bavasi not only listens to scouts and sabermetricians, but he reads the M's blogosphere too.
To this I respond:

The only person affiliated in any way with the M's professionally who I can say with absolute confidence that he/she reads the M's blogs is Seattle PI M's Beatwriter John Hickey.

The only reason I even know this for sure is because I directly asked him:
Thursday, Feb. 10 · 12:38 p.m. PT
Paul M. (Oly, WA): Considering the sheer number of M's blogs in particular (especially with authors uninhibited by red-penned editors and maniacal deadlines) and their rapidly increasing readership, do you consider blogs competition, or do you look at them merely as one more potential source of information? Certainly as a reporter, they're probably less of a concern for you than they might be for an opinion columnist, but I'm still curious as to your perspective on the blogs, and how much attention you pay to them. Thanks!
John Hickey: Hi Paul, Interesting question. I am an on-again, off-again reader of blogs. The Mariners have a fanatical following among bloggers, and these are people who know their stuff. Do they drain readers away from the P-I? I don't know the answer to that. I do believe that a reporter (me, for example), who is on the ground for all of spring training and for most of 162 games with the team has insights that the bloggers can't match. On the other hand, the bloggers have a way of asking questions that sometimes slip through the cracks (and having ready answers for them, too). I think that blogs will play and increasingly big role as fans look to have their thirst for information quenched.

In no way shape or form was I saying in my USS Mariner comments (copied/pasted from one of my earlier blog entries) that Bill Bavasi actually reads the blogs. As I responded to the Mariner Optimist: I suppose it would be hard to spend much time on the Internet without reading a baseball blog or two, but he never directly said anything about reading blogs. I take his comments as that he spends a little time reading local sports beat writers (writing both for Seattle and for other teams) on the Internet and that he actually expects his scouts to do the same.

Let's hope this "rumor" doesn't end up on Fox Sports' web site :-)


Questions I'm pondering today:
  1. Would the M's have been better off in 2004 if Edgar had retired before the season?
  2. Would the M's have fared better with Roger Cedeño for Cirillo, rather than the collective stuff they wound up receiving from San Diego?
  3. Which of my 2004 M's Dream Teams would've done better: my first; my "cheaper" version; my "low-budget" team; or my "last-ditched effort" team that I lusted after when our roster finally started taking shape?

Spring is Here!!!

Well, I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, it's officially spring.

Clear skies, mildly warm temperatures with a hint of winter bite, flowers starting to bloom, pitchers and catchers in Peoria. Since all but the last item are happening this year thanks to el Niño, I'm relying upon a more consistent date for MY official start of spring. Punxsutawney Phil may also say there's 6 more weeks of winter, but I say "Play Ball!" (side note -- I wonder if the Phillies, Sixers, Pirates, Eagles, or Steelers were to win a championship, would one of them receive the honor of being in Phil's inner circle???)

I remember well the feelings I had this time last year. Hints of optimism were really overshadowed by irate frustration: that we signed Raul Ibanez so soon, that we didn't even flinch at Vladie. I was more interested in Kaz Matsui, but would've been fine with Tejada. Instead, we ended up surplussing Guillen, and signing Rich Aurilia. Bonehead move, followed bonehead move, and going into Spring Training, the players seemed to be scratching their heads about as much as I was. In spite of what Edgar said when he decided to return, I didn't get the sense that this team was all that excited about its chances for making the playoffs. A lot of evolution, but nothing seemed to change.

And, it was worse than David Cameron's New Year's pessimistic prediction that the M's would plummet from a 93-win team to a 73-win team (he was only 10 off).

This year's got something different. Going into FanFest a few weeks before heading down to Peoria, guys like Boone, Wilson, Moyer -- all guys who've been around awhile -- have a different swagger about them. I mean, why shouldn't they? We just filled our biggest hole in several years by stealing the previous year's HR champion, and another guy who's not so bad himself. But contrary to what another blog will have you believe, we've actually made some good below-the-radar signings in Pokey Reese, Jorge Campillo, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Dan Reichert.

I don't know about you, but this summer's going to be quite fun for me!

Friday, February 11, 2005


Just as I was about to spend part of my weekend delving into my first in-depth sabermetric analysis of an M's decision, it crosses the wire that Richie Sexson (the subject of this analysis) was cited for DUI suspicion...

Say it ain't so, Richie!!! (OK, well, actually, don't lie about it)

More details, of course, will follow later. As will my detailed analysis as to why I'm actually happier with the Sexson signing than I would've been if we'd've signed Delgado...

Monday, February 07, 2005

Blogging Co-location

Considering that a lot of visitors come to the Mariners Morsels from Lookout Landing, and the guys over there have this new thing called "Diary" to invite others to help populate their cool site, I feel OK with doing some of my blogging work over there. For those of you who may come here without going over there, I'll invite you over there for my latest diary entry asking who will go down first in 2005.

Generally, if it involves a poll, I'll post over there and try to link it here. I'm working sparingly on writing my own home-brewed blogging application, and since it's going to take awhile for it to be up and running, I'll continue to use a combination of both realms to spew my thoughts.

And, in case you're wondering, my prediction is Magglio Ordonez. That may not be a fair, though, because he may well start the season on the DL.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Shell-Shock from the Hot Stove League

It really shouldn't surprise any of us that Magglio Ordonez is about to be the next name off the market, signed to an interestingly long contract not unlike others have received this off-season.

I'm beginning to truly wonder if there's any correlation between the stratospheric contracts heating up the Hot Stove so incredibly that it's really the subterfuge behind this insanely warm winter weather (and, hence, the depressingly horrid ski season).

Part of me wishes that the M's would not have partaken in one of these deals. A huge part of me, really. However, having just met Richie Sexson, and seen the effects of his presence on Boonie during the Q & A session at FanFest, I'm beginning to really see how he's going to really help Seattle. I've also delved shallowly into the deep pool of statistics to scrape together some statistical reasons why signing Sexson might have been better than signing Delgado. I've promised a more detailed on this for awhile, but I'm not quite ready to expose my infantile sabermetric skills just yet. I will get to it soon, though.

Outside of Beltre and possibly Beltran, I think all of us armchair GMs are about as shell-shocked by the sheer number of albatross contracts doled so freely out this Hot Stove League offseason as we were from the 99 losses the 2004 M's delivered to the fans. Especially tickling my uvula* are two basic trends:

1) Longer term $6-9 million per contracts to pitchers more along the lines of the Ryan Franklins of the world.
2) Long term and larger contracts to guys coming off of serious injuries.

Topping the list under scenario #1 has to be Derek Lowe. Sure, he's a 2004 postseason hero, and has had some success in the win/loss column in the past (not to mention the saves column). I'm still a bit amazed as to why Moneyball assistant-guru DePodesta would value his stats so highly to pay him $36 million. I mean, I might be convinced that Lowe could be a good value, but for four years? For $36 million? Absolutely not. I could see POSSIBLY 3 years $18 million, but for as much as DePo really is a Moneyball founding father, I'm a bit stumped by this one.

Coming in a close second has to be Jaret Wright's contract with the Yankees. I'll admit I haven't followed him all that deeply, but from what I've read, his arm should fall off sometime in 2005. Moving away from his sensei in Atlanta will be like Linus having to cope in society without his trusty blanket. Speaking of them Yankees, I find it quite odd that in his first article at his new digs, Trent omits them from his "worst offseason" list, even from the honorable mention. Adding two years onto RJ's contract? Declining Lieber's option? Jaret Wright? NOT getting Beltran? RJ will help, provided he's relatively healthy, but that's becoming less and less likely the more north of 40 he flies...

Though he really can't be classified as a "mediocre" pitcher by any means, I see the contract Pedro pulled out of Minaya's pockets as really a combination of #1 and #2. Moving across the street from his "daddy" will actually be a nice change of pace for Pedro. I mean, he'll have to bat, and face the same dangers that fellow league-switcher and head-hunter Roger Clemens did in 2004. At the same time, though, he'll have to face 8 hitters in the lineup most of the time instead of 9. So once every three innings or so, he'll get a nice break. Which will be good, considering that there's likely an office pool out there with the date of his arm falling off as the target. It'll be interesting to see who spends the most time visiting NY doctors (nevermind who calls "Taxi!" first)-- Pedro or Jaret Wright.

But the news today out of Detroit really caps the high injury-risk albatrosses given out like free boarding passes for the Titanic. I bet Nomar is kicking himself ever so delicately for jumping on the short line in Chicago so quickly. I expected to see Glaus, Maggs, Sexson and Percival to be given contracts not unlike Nomar's. I did not at all expect all of those guys to be given lifetime memberships to club med...

And to the faithful 45 1/2 of you who return to The Morsels on a daily basis, I hope you are getting what you come here for. Thanks for stopping by! It makes me feel cooler than the morning KJR guys who have their "Faithful 39 1/2" that we actually have 6 more faithful followers. Okay, so they probably have more than 39 1/2 people listening to them, but still, it's something that caught my attention today. I'm sure that there are a large number of you looking moreso for Munchausen's Morsels than mine. They'll come soon enough. I can only imagine what he's going through having to balance family, school and work. Each of those things individually can be tough to manage in and of themselves. Multiply them together and it's like, well, trying to manage a bullpen that's got Bobby Ayala, Steve Trout, and Tom Niedenfeuer. He's wisely saving up for the season. He'll be back soon enough!

*For those of you who still don't know what that little thing that hangs back in your throat is called -- that's what it's called. How I loathe the memories of 8 a.m. German Pronunciation class and spending at least 15 minutes each day practicing uvular trills "Hhrrrahtun" "Hhhrraytun"...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Yin -- Meet Yang

So the world's back on its axis now. The fulcrum has been balanced. Am I the only person getting good vibes from the following:
Okay, I probably am. Still, there are more and more intangible things cropping up as to why I feel the 2004 M's suffered from a black cloud of doom hanging over their head, and that 2005 will be a whole lot better for M's fans (and players, for that matter).

Part of me still believes that the 2004 M's could've added both Miguel Tejada AND Vladimir Guerrero and still would've suffered a similar fate. I mean, we could've signed both of them, and they probably would've gone down with "Glaus"-ian injuries early. The stathead forecastors couldn't predict the complete drudgery that was 2004. A lot of blame could be spread around, but the season was a disaster more because of a cumulation of stastical oddities and intangible weirdness.

Which brings me back to the Yin-Yang thing. I've said it before, and continue to believe that 2004 was the antithesis to 2001. That 2001 team should not have won 116 games. The 2004 team should not have lost 99 games (more than both the 77 M's and the 69 Seattle Pilots in their inaugural years). Since the law of averages definitely applies to baseball, the M's should be done with aberrations for awhile. That's why I thing the M's don't have a 30 game hole to crawl out of, really. It may be closer to 15 or 20, but it's definitely not 30. They've done a lot to address the disparity in the ticks between the W and the L columns. The rest just needs to happen once questions start to be answered in Spring Training.

In just over two weeks, the picture will start to become much clearer. The biggest question mark that yet remains in my book (pitching) will start to be answered. I can hardly wait.

Don't count the M's out of 2005 just yet. There's no reason to wait until 2006 to hope for division contention. I believe it just might happen this season. The mojo of '95 will be rediscovered...

Speaking of the Mojo of '95...

Post edited and moved over to Lookout Landing's new digs, to test out the whole diary thing, which seems to be waay cool...