Monday, March 28, 2005

Final 2005 Roster Predictions

Well, we're one week away from Opening Day, in which my seat is reserved for the first time ever. I'm actually holding out hope that the roof will be closed, which will also be a first for me at The Safe. The M's record when I've attended is somewhere around .500 (4-3, as I recall, including a bottom-of-the-9th-come-from-behind win against Chicago when my wife was 8 months pregnant). Let's hope it stays that way.

The biggest question circulating around the M's blogs is what will the final roster look like? It wouldn't be right if I didn't have my prediction here, and with 1 week to go, here's how I see it:

Batting Order:
RF: Ichiro!
CF: Reed
3B: Beltre
1B: Sexson
DH: Ibanez
2B: Boone
LF: Winn
C: Olivo
SS: Reese

Starting Rotation:
Jamie Moyer
Gil Meche
Bobby Madritsch
Aaron Sele
Joel Piniero (after a start or two in Tacoma, in the rotation somewhere between Moyer and Madritsch)

Ryan Franklin (Righty Long Relief, Sele insurance)
Ron Villone (Lefty Long Relief)
Shiggy (Righty Setup/situational)
Sherrill (Lefty Setup/situational)
Putz (Righty setup/closer)
Guardado (Lefty closer)
Matt Thornton ("LOO(IHCGI)GY" -- "Lefty One Out (If He Can Get It) GuY")

Dan Wilson (C)
Scott Spiezio (CI/PH)
Willie Bloomquist (UTIL, emergency C)
Greg Dobbs (CI/PH, LF)


Santiago probably should be there instead of Dobbs, since having Dobbs and Spiezio is really quite redundant, but he's not on the 40-man currently, and they definitely shouldn't replace anyone currently ON the 40-man with him. Sherrill can stay, and even though he's a bit redundent with Sherrill, so can Thornton (though Sherrill is a MUCH better pitcher). Atchison and Shiggy are also interchangable. If Spiezio can be traded, we'll probably fill his spot with Ramon Santiago to have a speedy-no-hit-decent-glove guy to replace Reese with WHEN he goes down (not if). Julio Mateo will be optioned down to Tacoma, since his Righty-Long-Relief spot will be given to Franklin. We hardly knew ya, Reichert, Gil and Goots. Sorry Mr. MŁ™, but Sele will be much more help to the M's than Nelson -- I hope he enjoys reffing high school basketball games in Issaquah. If they're going to have to create a 40-man spot, it will be for a fading starter, not for a fading reliever.

If you STILL haven't figured out that Player A is Felix, and Player B is Sele in my previous post, then you better start paying more attention to the ideology. Both players were longshots for the starting rotation coming into spring. Both players are not on the 40-man, so someone would have to be removed from the 40-man in order for one of them to stick. It looks more and more like Sele has won the spot over Felix (probably a good decision, since it might be better for the long-term future of this club and Felix if he starts the year in Tacoma). With the club's fascination with Matt Thornton, and the well-publicized fact that he has no more options, here's how it might happen:

Soriano is placed on the 60-day disabled list, opening up a temporary 40-man spot. Sele takes that spot. Problem is -- Soriano is expected to return sometime in July. Sele will have displayed how much he's got left by then, as will Thornton. To have Soriano activated back on the 40-man, then, either Sele or Thornton will be DFA'd. If, however, Soriano is currently on the 60-day DL (which I would assume - but it doesn't appear based on the M's less-than-trustworthy web site), then things are much more complicated. Bavasi will really have to work the phones to dump some roster cloggage. Or, Thornton will have to be released after all (and Mateo or Atchison will take his spot in the pen). Mateo, Thornton and Franklin can all find other teams to play with, in my book. Package them up and pry loose a few prospects. SOME team has to have a need for mediocre pitching, right?

Another problem. Sometime soon, earlier rather than later I hope, Bucky Jacobsen will be healthy again. When he's healthy, he'll need a 25-man spot. If my above roster indeed is how it looks in the end, then they could option Dobbs back down to Tacoma. However, Bucky won't play a position other than first in the near future, so they'll indeed need some bench flexibility to replace the other two positions that Dobbs can play. Since Dobbs and Spiezio would be essentially redundant, I imagine that they'll have to have a spare outfielder or middle infielder on the club since although Willie can play several positions decently, he can't play more than one position at the same time. I'd prefer our bench to look something like this: Wilson/Dobbs/Bloomquist/Bucky/decently-fielding-and-somewhat-speedy-OF

Watch the waiver wire to see who becomes available. And, please -- someone tap into Bavasi's cell phone. Bavasi can be reached via cell phone at 206-555-GOMS (4667), and I think it's either through Verizon, Spring, T-Mobile or Cingular. I found Bavasi's cell phone number through a friend of a friend, who's cousin's best friend's sister once had this dream about eating dinner in the Space Needle during an M's benefit auction, with Bill Bavasi at the head table and Randy Johnson (on a nostalgiac appearance just to see what's happening in Seattle) taking pictures with an old Polaroid, and one of the Polaroid pictures falling on the floor -- a detailed Photoshop zoom from a high-resolution scan of this Polaroid happened to reveal a business card given by Bavasi to one of the attendees, on which his cell phone number was printed.

Now that should take this blog up a few notches of Google's wonderful search engine, with curious Googlies clicking on links to the above non-Mariners Morsels related content. I STILL don't have any pictures of Johnny Damon's fiancee. Nor do I have pictures of Jodi Mientkiewicz.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Who's Who?

Now that Munchausen has thoroughly convinced me that MLB is indeed an ideology, and that I'm a huge sucker for falling addictedly into its clutches, I'm really having a hard time devoting any non-frivolous time to baseball. Naturally, with a sweet wife, an energetic toddler, and a hugely important job, frivolous time is VERY hard to come by. Like Munchausen, I feel like MLB owes me something, with all the time and energy and money I've sacrificed over the years, without having received anything significant in return. I mean, sure, I've been to "Fan Appreciation Night" before (yet still had to pay to get in, pay to park, pay up the NOSE for food, etc... -- yeah, I know, how appreciated would YOU feel) , but since I've never received a personal thank you from anyone (unless you consider those generic "Thank You, Fans!" personal), nor any tangible reward for my efforts, I'm going to really start expending less and less effort feeding my addiction.

That said, I'm still a sucker for baseball and am still learning the sabermetric tools. I'm also still chipping away at my home-brewed blog that will someday replace this blogger placeholder, but that's because I'm honing my skills as a web developer on that project, and it's not specifically tied to feeding the ideology.

So, I still think about baseball a lot, and I've been a bit curious on one thing. I'll just preface this by saying that it's probably a good thing that Spring Training stats are completely meaningless, except to those players inside the MLB ideology whose very reality is affected by such meaningless numbers (I don't think MLB is an ideology to its players -- they're more like bystanders, whereas the owners are the perpetrators, and us fans are the victims). And, incredibly ridiculous sample sizes come into play here, so far.

Nevertheless, I'd like to do a small player A, player B comparison, commonly found on the blogs. Statheads -- the Spring Training stats are courtesy CBS Sportsline.

Name | GP | GS | W | L | SV | CG | SHO | R | H | HR | TB | ER | ERA | IP | SO | K/9 | BB | BB/K | WHIP | WP | BK | HP |

Player A | 3 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 4 | 6 | 0 | 6 | 2 | 3.86 | 4.2 | 4 | 8.57 | 4 | 1 | 2.38 | 0 | 0 | 1 |

Player B | 3 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 5 | 1 | 8 | 2 | 1.50 | 12 | 9 | 6.75 | 2 | 0.22 | 0.58 | 0 | 0 | 0 |

(DAMN BLOGGER! I can't put this in a table without it getting all funky, with huge gaps and other things. YUK! Now, when is my home-brewed blogging app going to be finished again???)

Figured out who the two guys are? Again, these stats are completely meaningless, and are about as reliable as taking this weekend's weather and trying to predict how the weather will be from now until the end of spring (and if you were down here in Oly trying to do some shopping like I was, having stores without power, trees across roads, power lines cut and arcing across the roads as well, we're in for a baaaaad spring!).

I'll give you a clue. Player A is about half as old as player B. Another clue -- they're both NRIs not currently on the 40-man roster. And, if Player B makes the club, it will really only be as a placeholder for player A to spend a little time in Tacoma.

Got it yet? Good. Even though the numbers are statistically insignificant, I was still curious.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Is MLB an Ideology?

Hey folk(s) - it's been a long time since I've thrown a post on here. I've been busy with work, family, and the two "3-credit" distance classes I'm taking from WSU.

Anyway, many assignments in my Rhetoric class (ENGL 341) are based on a famous essay, "On Ideology", by the philosopher Louis Althusser. For this particular project we were supposed to take a position on his idea of ideology and write an "extended example to illustrate and support" our position on the subject.

As a fan of the Mariners, I decided to write about Major League Baseball. After I completed the plain, boring MLA style paper, I fancied it up a bit using my design skills, creating a faux magazine cover and including illustrative images and callouts.

Here are the results.

Feel free to post agreements, disagreements, or whatever. I don't mind if you disagree with my opinions - as you'll see, even I don't totally agree with the position I've taken on the subject. Philosophy is not a subject that comes easily to me, so I may be totally "off base". It's up to you, the reader(s) to decide where you stand on the subject.


As a designer, I have to be mindful of my image sources, so here they are. You don't need to follow the links, actually they're not even hyperlinked, but they must be present in order to borrow the images.

Cover photo -
Selig -
Althusser -
$100 dollar bill -$100SnAE77665544B.jpg
Gammons -
MLB logo -
Marx -
Meche -
Molitor jersey -
Sox -
Addict -
Bonds -

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Salivating Statheads Should LOVE This

I've been doing so much work on the home-brewed blog app I plan on implementing at some point for Mariners Morsels, that I almost started to post this over there. Fortunately, I haven't built the thread posting interface yet, otherwise I'd REALLY be confused...

Still, Jim Street put out an article today that talks about the M's focus on "situational hitting," a typical topic of discussion during spring training. Now, I'm just an infant sabermetrician, so I'm not going to go out and do a huge analysis of this. Since it's already been discussed several places, I'd just be sprinkling rain drops into the ocean. I will say, though, that I have been convinced of two things, thanks to delving at least a little bit into sabermetrics:
  • Never judge a pitcher on his win/loss record
  • There's no such thing as a "productive out" -- every single out is precious, and you cannot waste them.
While Street looks at this less from a "productive out" perspective, it's easily implied that he really means the same thing. Evidence, you ask? How about statements like:
A ground ball to the right side of the infield with a runner on second base and none out takes some points off a batting average...
With that in mind, the Mariners hitters are being reminded this spring that giveaway at-bats not only are acceptable in certain situations, but important in the big picture.
I will give him credit for at least recognizing that you can't call a batter-sacrificing out by your middle-of-the-order hitters "productive:"
Boone's primary job is to drive in runners, not hit weak ground balls to the right side. The same goes for new third baseman Adrian Beltre and first baseman Richie Sexson.

No, it doesn't show up in the daily box score, but there are several ways to look at situational hitting. I might get banished forever in the sabermetric community for linking to ESPN's web site, but open this page and scroll to the very bottom table called "By Situation." This may not be a complete list of the proper stats, but, still, it's something that's currently tracked. Obviously, the higher the numbers the better, especially the OBP! That's not too hard to digest -- someone who has a higher on-base percentage (OBP), makes fewer outs. The more guys you have in your lineup that have a higher OBP, regardless of the situation, the better.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

But I'm Happy Now!

Thanks to KOMO's self-refreshing home page, I saw that the M's won their spring training dress-rehearsal game today before any of the AP links had the info. Kudos to KOMO for providing a registration-free, rapidly-updating news site!!!

Sexson and Beltre remembered all their lines and didn't flub their roles, each starting off the un-official Cactus League season with a longball. Their performances inspired Dan "Grandpa" Wilson to do an impersonation, too, and he whacked a wicked 2-run bomb of his own.

Who cares if these stats count. I like the results.

I'd do a poll over at Lookout Landing on this, but I'd have to add a lot of names, so I'm going to leave it open. I'll probably ask the same question there, though (yep -- I did):

Who will hit the first HR of the (regular) season for the M's?

I'm going out on a limb. I'm casting my vote for Miguel Olivo. Don't ask me why -- just a huge hunch.

Santo's Cause Is Making Me Frown :-(

I probably am the only one who is more upset by (and wary of) the voting results revealed this afternoon from Cooperstown's Veterans Committee than those of Washington's gubernatorial race last November. That's probably because I care much more about baseball than I do politics, even though I should probably flip-flop that emotional priority -- if Munchausen's thesis (hopefully soon to be posted here on The Morsels) is correct that is...

Nevertheless, it's still the ire of Cubs fans everywhere, if not a lot of baseball fans in general. One of MLB's all-time best third basemen is still locked out of Cooperstown. Santo and Sandberg will not share the podium this summer. What a better way to unite this state than to have an Eastern WA guy sharing the Cooperstown podium with a Western WA guy. Okay, so the problems dividing our state are MUCH deeper than that. But still, it would've been at least a little symbolic for me. You didn't have to be a Cubs fan to cheer for a summertime Cooperstown podium-sharing between Santo and Sandberg.

I'm of the perspective that if a player is one of the best ever at his position, he should be enshrined in Cooperstown. That way, you have a guy like Ron Santo rightfully compared to other guys already in (Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Brooks Robinson, Eddie Mathews, etc..) rather than to guys like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, etc. Still, if you look at Baseball Reference's comps for Ron Santo, the top 5 most similar are all in Cooperstown (and only one of them was a third-sacker).

Sure, I'll give you that Santo was no Mike Schmidt -- amongst 3rd baseman, all-time, he's probably somewhere in the bottom of the top 15. But I don't think anyone can come up with more than 15 third basemen in the history of the game who were better all-around than Santo (there are only 12 third-sackers currently in the Hall, including the recently-elected Boggs). It's not like we're talking backup catcher or pinch-runner here. We're talking about the highly important #5 position in the infield. Still, if the game continues to evolve, and backup catcher and pinch-runner become a hugely important piece of the game, then, I suppose the best of them should be elected into Cooperstown, too.

Back in December, I suggested it was a good thing that the Veterans Committee exists to "cover up the messes the BBWAA can make." I'm not so sure now that they're paying attention.

Hang in there, Ron -- your day will come! If the sabermetric folks can lend their support (though I'm not a BP subscriber and only could extract what was summarized there), then even more reason your day will come. I don't care what propoganda Chair(wo)man Clark spews out:

The current process works by upholding the Hall of Fame's high standards for election and by providing a more open, more inclusive, and more understandable process.

The process is by no means understandable, and the standards are by no means clear. It took three rounds of votes for the BBWAA to get it right with Ryne Sandberg. That's problematic in and of itself.

I demand a revote!

Sidenote: Pete Rose, the player (in spite of what Pete Rose, the manager, did to get himself banned from baseball), should also be in Cooperstown. Whether or not he actually wilfully, knowingly took steroids, Barry Bonds has done more to scandalize the game of baseball today than Pete Rose ever did, and in my opinion should be sitting right next to Pete on the outside looking in. Okay, so this sidenote probably will get deleted at some point (or moved to another thread all together), but I just have to have somewhere to put these thoughts...