Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gee-Nee, Gee-Nee!

Hopefully Grant will come around these parts again and take credit for what he started. It's starting to explode all over the M's blog-o-sphere. Instead of chanting "Bu-cky, Bu-cky!" we should now perhaps chant "'Ge-nie, 'Ge-nie!"

Would the ambiguously gay palentologists that create the dinosaurs please make Carl Everett disappear?

Hopefully the breaking news about Reed's non-broken wrist won't spoil equally good potential news that Petagine will make the club. I hope Reed makes a full and speedy recovery, as he's currently my favorite M's position player. His presence in the outfield solves many issues, and if his wrist does make a full recovery, his bat should help, too.

But I don't want Reed rushed back. Nor do I want George rushed back. Give these guys proper time to heal. Make sure they're not going to be worse off in the long run before they return...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

35 Runs!

Holy COW! I know it's still Spring Training and all, and that there are still youngsters in camp that won't be around this time next week (and some of the casualties of allowing those runs have already been sent down). Still, with a week to go, it's still frightening to have our pitchers face the two teams we'll be starting the season with, and have those pitchers give up 35 runs in two games. That's, like, five touchdowns (with perfecto extra-point kicks).

Okay, okay, I know... Outside of Mateo and, perhaps, Woods, none of those pitchers are going to break camp with the club (and those guys fared OK). So, it's not all bad. Hargrove was probably not showing our division rivals any of the cards he holds in his hands.

Still. Surrendering five touchdowns in two games is something I'd expect the 2004 Seahawks to do. Not the freakin' Mariners' pitching staff.

That'd take our offense two weeks at least to overcome.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bad News, WORSE news.

I'm sure by now you've heard about Reed's broken wrist. Hopefully that's the worst news of the day. Hidden from those who don't read blogs is potentially some bad news. I first heard last night from Jason Churchill that George Sherrill is having shoulder issues. Preliminary info from elsid is that it's bursitis. Firm information should become available shortly, especially if it's serious.

I hope and pray that's all it is. It slowed down Felix last year a bit -- long enough to get him some well-needed rest, yet not shut him down entirely for the long-term.

Knock on some wood, stroke a rabbit's foot if you've got one, and avoid black cats and ladders.

I'll keep you posted if I hear anything. I'm sure the news will break into the mainstream if it does become more serious.

Edit 3/24 8:15 p.m. I spoke with elsid tonight, and the current diagnosis is Bursitis. Sigh of relief! He'll throw tomorrow in the 'pen, according to elsid, and see how he feels. Target return to action is early next week (Monday).

Nothing like having your two favorite players on your favorite team go down at the same time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

One Step Closer

Wow. News today that Matt Thornton was traded to Chicago for OF Joe Borchard has me nearly falling out of my chair in excitement. A few other tidbits that I shan't publicly share as well, keep boosting my excitement, and reinforcing my faith in Bavasi. George Sherill is now one huge step closer to being freed. Ignore his current ERA, and the fact that he's given up more HRs than he's K'd people. "GS52" will pull it all together and get back on track very soon.

Aside from the fact that "Thorn-in-George's-side-ton" is actually a decent guy that (unlike Ryan Franklin) realizes he needs a bit of work on his pitching, I'm excited to get some fresh blood in the OF corps. While Joe Borchard hasn't exactly impressed at the big-league level, he does have a decent minor league track record. And, having a switch-hitter on the bench will be nice. He'll be more useful to the M's than Matt Thornton ever would. And, even if he falls flat on his face, he'll inflict potentially less damage than Thornton would.

Usually Mondays are horrid for me. I hate 'em more than Garfield does. But this one's going to stay on my calendar for quite a bit...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Good. They recovered. After last season's debacle, the M's produced a good series of commercials this year. I'm sure I'm not the only one who actually looks forward to the commercials the M's put out even more than the world-famous Super Bowl commercials.

I'm not sure which one is my favorite. They're all pretty darn good. Forced to give a choice, I'd probably pick the Felix commercial.

Lets hope the M's are better than their commercials this year. They certainly weren't last year...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


There's something to be said about humility. In the athletic realm, though, it can really bite you, well, you know where. One of my favorite all-time MLB figures once said "Nice guys finish last" (and there's a pretty darn decent M's blog that's inspired by that phrase). However, there are always exceptions to that Axiom. Not all nice guys finish last, and, conversely, you don't have to be a jerk to finish first (see Gehrig, Lou, etc...).

It's pretty clear that George Sherrill is a humble guy. I had a chance to meet him myself once, and I'm pretty sure that most everyone else who meets George would say the same thing. In Doug Miller's front-page article on the M's web site today, you also get a taste of this. Miller touches briefly upon George's path into the majors, and calls his story "...that of a true baseball vagabond."

The way I see it, and one of the things that actually draws me more into that story, is that George has taken a road that isn't all that well-traveled. He's had to endure different trials, and has had to clutch ever tighter to his dream of becoming a major league pitcher. He's had to have a little more focus, and walk a little further down the path. Having shared several hour-long phone conversations with his brother, I do know that George's statement about his family is ever so true. I'm quite certain that indeed the one thing George has been given in life is a strong family to support him through his vagabond adventure, be it baseball or otherwise. Baseball certainly hasn't been handed to him on a platter.

What is humility, though? If you look it up in the dictionary, one of the entries equates it to "a lack of false pride." Humility isn't putting yourself down to make others look better. Humility doesn't completely reject a compliment. Humility is recognizing what you've been given, and making the most out of it. Humility accepts the compliment and says "Thank you!" and looks for opportunities to compliment others. Humility and pride are certainly not entirely antonyms. Humility, like the dictionary says, is a lack of false pride.

George Sherrill has the talent to compete in the big leagues. He knows this. He has to know it to be up there in the first place. However, he also recognizes that he still has to earn his spot on the team. It's nice to hear that Hargrove, albeit in a passing quote (prefaced by a disclaimer that he can't allow himself to become "emotionally attached" to guys like George), at least vaguely recognize how George can get righties out. That's one point, I suppose, added to the Free George Sherrill campaign bucket.

And, again, while Spring Training stats are basically meaningless, I can't help but notice that the reasonably consistent LHRP I cheer for currently has a double-digit ERA, as well as more home runs surrendered than strikeouts (he gave up another longball today). It's hard to really read much into that, as all it really could mean that George is fine-tuning certain pitches (that's definitely true), and he's using ST to shake some of the bugs out. Still, there's a part of me that sees George fighting for his spot, and being a bit discouraged by his performances. Being completely human, I'm sure there's some sense of this.

If I could say one thing to George directly (and he actually has read this site once), it would be to encourage him to remain humbly confident. Keep working on what you need to work on, and leave the rest up to those who make the decisions. You've got what it takes to be there, and I'm confident you'll reap the rewards of your hard work.

Let guys like me scream for you.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Petagine for DH!!!!

A few weeks ago, Grant gave us the suggestion to append an extra "aka" on to the site. Since I didn't know a whole lot about Petagine, and how he would measure up over in the US, I was a little hesitant to take up his suggestion that we append "AKA Petagine for DH" to our blog title. Since, ironically, both sides of the D-O-V vs. USSM battle seem to agree that Petagine is a smart baseball signing, I'm more inclined to believe good things about him.

One thing I've particularly noticed is how completely absent from the spotlight, both with the bat AND the supposed leadership, Carl Everett has been this spring. While the Mariners have given him lots of money for those two things (to just about everyone's dismay), it seems that may have been a huge waste of money. Of course, Spring Training stats don't matter, with sample-size issues and all, but still, here's something interesting:

Everett (M's projected starting DH):
.200/.200/.267/.467 with 0 HR (in 15 ABs)

Petagine (Lucky to make the M's bench):
.529/.556/.765/1.321 with 1 HR (in 17 ABs)

Again, I'm not really sure why I even post such meaningless data, but still, it's very clear that Petagine has performed better in a nearly-equal sample-size. And, I'd venture to guess that others out there would bet money that RP would outhit CE over the course of a more-meaningful season as the DH.

Nevertheless -- while the M's are likely to break camp with Everett as the starting DH, I still would like to add my small voice into the mix that screams very loudly:

"Petagine for DH!!!!"

Have the M's found their lefty sock? Yes. Unfortunately they're paying the wrong guy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Rich, Decadent Taste of Victory

M's win, M's win! Today's game featured pretty much everything we like to see in a spring training game: M's victory, George Sherrill picking up the win and slamming the door in the ninth, and Roberto Petagine knocking the ball around.
The M's were down early 4-1 thanks to a Jeff Baker homer off Washburn, but the M's battled back to take a 5-4 lead. Marcos Carvajal gave up the tying run to his former team in the 8th on an RBI groundout.
George Sherrill came in for the 8th and walked the lead-off guy, Eli 'Lefty Killer' Marrero. In a perfect exposition of how relievers' ERAs are subject to random events given the small sample size they deal with, Marrero came around to score on a bunt, a sac fly and an infield single. One more hit and an error, and the Rocks get another run. Whoa, they're really knocking George around down there! An earned run per inning - he's lost it!
The M's quickly retook the lead in the ninth with hits by Matt Lawton, Roberto Petagine, Asdrubal Cabrera and a Sac Fly by TJ Bohn that gave the M's an 8-7 lead. Sherrill stuck around for the ninth and, after giving up a lead-off single, promptly induced a double-play and then a strikeout to end it. That's better.
Given the issues Carvajal's had, and given that neither Woods nor really anyone else in the bullpen's been all that solid, I'd like to assume that however tenuous Sherrill's roster spot was, it's definitely his now. We all know spring training stats don't matter, but if Woods/Carvajal/[insert name here] had a lights out spring, it would've made it harder for Grover to Do the Right Thing. The flip-side of this, of course, is that it's going to be awfully tough for the M's to leave Petagine in Tacoma. He's on a real tear, and I think we can all agree that the M's bench was a bit more open than the bullpen, especially with Dobbs' DFA. So, our new rallying cry is: "While Freeing George Sherrill, Also Free Roberto Petagine." Or perhaps, "Once Sherrill Is Freed, Could You Go Back and See if Petagine Got Out Too?"

Diagnostics, #5

Getting back on track. Here's another Diagnostic for 2006.

5: Will PositivePaul actually miss having Ryan Franklin in the rotation?

I've talked about my frustration with the Mariners during this past offseason in a couple of places over how they continued to hurt their chances of returning to the post-season by not adding some depth to their starting rotation. I also made my thoughts very clear that if Ryan Franklin were back with the M's, Bavasi should be canned.

Considering that failure to add depth to the rotation, I'm actually wondering if things will get so dire that I'll actually wish we'd've kept Spiroid Flyball. Obviously this Diagnostic is clear -- if the answer is "yes," then 2006 was a horrible, horrible season. If the answer is "no," then the season would be decent, if not good.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

whoa, sorry...posted this yesterday, but blogger seems to have eaten it. Now you can read a very similar report at LL.

A while ago, I said I was hoping for a real position battle this spring. That sentiment's been echoed in comments here and elsewhere. Well M's fans, we've got one: #5 starter. It's not exactly news to mention that Gil Meche doesn't have an iron grip on the rotation spot, but after Jesse Foppert's strong spring debut, it got fans hoping we'd see a dogfight between Foppert, Nageotte and Meche.
Then Meche went down with his oblique injury (although he's apparently throwing again), Nageotte wasn't great, last year's heartwarming story Jeff Harris was giving up HRs to Giants non-prospects, and darkhorse candidate Yorman Bazardo got lit up like Thomas Kinkade on a bender in Vegas. Today, Jesse Foppert lost control of the strike zone with four walks in two innings, and capped it off with a wild pitch. Yes, he didn't give up a hit, and yes, Scott Atchison was worse. But Hargrove still has to pick someone here, and I really don't envy this decision. I suppose that if Meche is back, it's basically his. But let's say Meche isn't ready to start the season or his oblique problems crop again (as oblique problems are wont to do). Then what? I'm aware that no team has a lot of great options for the last rotation spot, but this is a real worry. There's no King Felix this year - someone who can dominate the minors for a while until we need him. I think Foppert's looking like the most likely candidate at this point; anyone can have a bad game, right? But it's about time to see a couple of really good performances from someone - anyone - who has a realistic shot to push for the fifth starter.
On offense today, Raul Ibanez hit a home run, Johjima, Lopez and Betancourt all had hits, and...that's about it. With all the talk about the slump Johjima's in, Carl Everett's horrendous spring has gone unnoticed (he's now at .133 with no XBH). So does Carl typically take a while to heat up? Well, no: he's averaged a 1000+ OPS in the spring over the past three years. Yes, it's a small sample size, but who knows - maybe the poor starts by Everett and Lawton make the M's realize they'll need more bench help than they thought and keep Roberto Petagine around.

Positive signs? Well, the teams with the best spring training records include the Florida Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks, two teams who are projected to lose a lot of games this year (with good reason; Florida's roster looks like a really good Arizona Fall League team or a jumble of random pages from John Sickel's prospect books from the past three years). Among the worst are the Oakland A's and the White Sox.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Signal/Noise, or "M's Lose by Double Digits, Again."

Wow. So the M's gave up 15 runs for what seems like the 10th time this spring, and Felix gets touched up a bit, Carvajal is torched (1/3 IP, 3H, 3BB, 7ER, but 1 K! Hey, that's 27K/9!), and Bloomquist goes 2 for 4. What do we do with games like these? We better figure it out, because we seem to get one every day.
Well, first off, here's your standard 'spring training stats don't matter' lecture. yes, this is a template given to M's bloggers in mid-February: small sample sizes, YEARS of meaningful performance data, players just getting warmed up, blah blah. Hey, remember when Craig Kuzmic was an intriguing prospect based on his performance in a spring training game? Yeah, how'd that work out? It didn't seem to help the M's that year (2003), and I don't think this series of beat-downs will doom the M's this year. Still, can't we have SOMEONE step up and create some phantom controversy over a roster spot, instead of having the debates be about where in the minors to start kids like Carvajal, Jose Morban, Nate Bumstead, and Jake Woods? Won't someone, besides Todd Sears and willie ballgame, 'push' a regular? It doesn't really matter, of course, but appearances matter (at least a bit), and I'd like a few more Salma Hayek spring training games and a few less Ernest Borgnine ones.
Now, there are some bright spots. Most importantly, Rafael Soriano is working his way back into his 2003 form, and pitched two scoreless innings today. Felix still isn't giving up walks, and that's a good sign that his 'true' BB/9 rate may be closer to what he showed in MLB than in AAA. And Morse and Jeff Clement both hit homers today, which is nice in that it gives me something positive to say about the offense. It's not spring training related, but Adrian Beltre *did* hit TWO HR's today against Venezuela in the WBC.

Hey, how about that US shutout in the WBC? Wooo, ex-Mariners galore today...Mike Timlin got the win for the US, and the losing manager for Venezuela! was Luis Sojo.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Kirby Puckett 1960-2006

I've argued elsewhere that Kirby Puckett was the most fearsome hitter to dig in against the Mariners in my lifetime. Yes, Barry Bonds, or Alex Rodriguez, and even Mark Texeira were *better* hitters, but Puckett was the guy who filled you with dread. And it's not just because of that sickening line-drive off the cheek of the M's Steve Shields (a game I attended as a kid... i'm still amazed that Shields survived, and yet I still feel like pointing out that the M's won it in the ninth).

This is tough to fully explain to people who weren't around for Puckett's reign of terror; it was because, not in spite of, the fact that he wouldn't walk. There are a hundred sabermetric reasons why he wasn't the 'best' player of the 1980s, but man, there's no one I hated seeing more than Kirby. He hit .414/.469/.759 in seattle in 1986, and then followed that up with a .500/.520/1.042 (no, that's not an OPS - that's a SLG percentage; seriously) line against the M's in 1987. See what I mean? It's not enough that he beat you - he actually made you root for him while doing it. I didn't think that was possible to replicate, until Pedro Martinez came along. There are players whose performance transcends rooting interest - and while that's a pretty damned high bar to get over, Kirby was one of the few to do so.

For all those that complain that his OBP wasn't what it should be, I submit that you're missing the point entirely. Not only did he have the demonstrated ability to take out a promising young M's pitcher, but he also had the ability to change a game, no matter what the score. Not only was he a lifetime .830+ OPS hitter - he was getting better just before his eye injury: he was a 900 OPS hitter for his last two years. There's a reason so many people went nuts for Edgar Martinez: there wasn't a better *right handed hitter* in the game except Puckett. No righty had won a batting title since Carney Lansford, who, if you're wondering, never provoked anywhere near the same time of reaction. I expected Mike Morgan, Matt Young, Pete Ladd, Lee Guetterman to get Lansford out. I was pleasantly surprised when they got Puckett out.

He's justifiably famous for his 1991 world series exploits against the Braves: this is the sine qua non of a star player willing his team to victory. I have no idea how to measure what Puckett meant to that 1991 Twins squad, but I will say that he captivated this neutral observer, and millions more like him.

Rest in peace, Kirby.

WBC: A Response

My co-blogger asks, perhaps rhetorically, 'Why are people so down on [the WBC]?' In the spirit of inter- and intra-blog dialogue, I thought I'd take up the issue and present what I believe is a compelling case that the WBC should be scrapped immediately. I like and respect Positive Paul, and I'm not casting aspersions on the author/readers at DOV, where WBC-related posts are generating a flurry of interested comments. Still, I hope everyone will read my objections with an open mind before falling victim to the emotional tug of a superficially great Dominican Rep. v. Venezuela game, or a potential match-up of the US and Cuba, or Japan and the DR.
Many others, including USSM, have done a good job of summarizing the more pedestrian problems with this tournament, and I don't really want to go over those again. Instead, I'd like to present my own objections to show readers that there's a lot more going on than just gripes about timing.

In years past, baseball fans were simultaneously intrigued and perplexed by stories of Cuban baseball greats. Yes, Omar Linares can beat up on college kids and sub-Ryan Franklin minor leaguers, but what could he do against Roger Clemens? So this Yuliesky Gourriel chap is slugging 900 against a collection of A-ballers and random Dutchmen who were taught the game approximately two hours prior to first-pitch? Innnteresting, but what could he do against Daisuke Matsuzaka? This was teasing in the best sense of the word, and it was made *more* tantalizing by the fact that you never really knew. Would Linares strike out on three pitches, or would he turn on a 97MPH fastball and crush a HR?
In short, this arrangement left something to the imagination. Do you even HAVE an imagination, Mr. Selig? Oh yeah, you thought the cheap and tawdry display of these great Cuban talents against real MLB opposition would be of INTEREST to baseball fans, so I guess you do. Instead of the endless possibilities that play out in the minds of thinking fans, we'll be 'treated' to gratuitous displays of Cuban stars playing top-flight competition. Slo-mo close-ups of swing mechanics vs. great pitchers. Replay after replay of Cuban pitchers - demonstrating the break of curve balls and the location of fastballs in graphic, nay, TOO graphic ways. Some people find this sort of thing 'exciting.' As you can probably tell, I'm not one of them.
Besides, someone could get hurt.
2: Pre-empting quality programming
I'm glad to see the News Tribune's John McGrath pick up on this, because I hadn't heard it mentioned before. The hours in a day are finite, and there is a lot of competition for slots in ESPN2's rotation. This isn't the equivalent of the M's 2005 rotation here: we're talking about a network having to make the hard choices to broadcast the satellite events in the Bassmaster tour (how else can we make sense of the championship?), historical poker tournaments and NBA replays. I'm glad *I* don't have to notify those that don't make the cut. And here comes the WBC, waltzing into the fray like the coolest kid in its class. Oh, just because you're 'live' and 'baseball' you think that means you're entitled to air instead of the 1987 World Series of Poker finals, the one where Houston Flats pulled a jack-raise with tweaked quads, leaving the shortstack with a regicidal deuce-bullet as his only option...and then the unthinkable happened? I don't know what that means either, but that's *Drama,* WBC. You gotta *earn* that.
Don't even pretend that you're somehow 'better' than repeats of the World's Strongest Man. If you even try that tack, I'd love to introduce you to a massive, ornery scandinavian who's just been told that his greatest triumph - in front of literally dozens of fascinated/horrified zimbabweans - has been pre-empted for a baseball game featuring Chinese Taipei, in which someone could get hurt.
3: Some teams are baaaaaaad
South Africa is in this tournament. QED. Thank you for your service, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. The sad thing is, they may actually be better than mainland China. Look, if I wanted to see really poor baseball, I'd watch little league, and it's not like they're clamoring to show THAT on ESPN. What's that? ESPN already offers viewers wall-to-wall coverage of the LLWS? Huh. Well what do you know? I suppose those guys always did look a bit young, but then again, we're constantly told that David Eckstein is 31 years old, so I guess I never thought it was all that weird. My bad. Although you know, you're about 100 times more likely to see players crying in the LLWS than you are in the WBC, and nothing says 'drama' like dozens of kids bawling. What have *you* got to offer, WBC, besides the possibility of someone getting hurt?
Anyway, I'm going to flip on the championship game from the Atlantic Sun conference, or maybe catch a Sun Belt Conference game. Has the Ohio Valley wrapped up yet? Clearly, I've got better things to do than watch this self-proclaimed 'classic.'

Edited 3/6/06 12:30 P.M. -- PositivePaul

I was going to post my response in the comment section, but I figured it was just as appropriate to edit the post and add my response here.

PositivePaul Responds:

Boy, a part of this argument almost sounds like the fodder I helped develop for one of my college classes. One of our assignments for the quarter was to write a point/counter-point speech, where one of the people in the group acted as a narrator/moderator, and the two other folks took either sides to a topic that was subject for debate.

The topic we chose? Whether a roll of toilet paper should be mounted on the holder with the flap hanging out (towards the person needing the TP), or the flap hanging in (towards the dispenser). We had to come up with some valid arguments that could be proven/demonstrated with research (and not just opinon-laden fluff).

I took the role of debater, and my bias was that the flap needed to hang in front. I spent several hours in the college library -- I kid you not -- researching any disease I could find that would vaguely, even however remotely, COULD be contracted by contact with a dirty toilet paper dispenser (Google would've REALLY helped, but Yahoo was king-of-the-hill back then, and, well, IE was probably just barely a figment of Bill & Co.'s imagination).

I actually did find a disease, and while I had trouble pronouncing it during the delivery of my speech, it still was about as valid as the argument that the WBC is bad because it pre-empts such valuable programming like "historical poker tournaments and NBA replays"


I do agree that it's probably less interesting for folks here in the states than for those across the seas. But I don't think it's completely worthless. It's certainly a contrived experiment, and it doesn't look overly successful yet. But, like all new forays, they need a little time to develop in order to see if they're ultimately successful.

Imagine if Tim Deegan failed in his conversations with Bill Quigley, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show was never shown at midnight in the Waverly? Or, similarly, what if Louis Farese, a kindergarten teacher from Staten Island, hadn't screamed at the screen and started the whole revolution of dialoging with the movie? Certainly things can start out completely lame, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, become huge.

While it's certainly under-appreciated (especially in the lower 48, and probably the other two as well), I'm not convinced it should completely vanish. Certainly the notion of Ichiro facing his current team in an exhibition game sounds intriguing (especially if Felix pitches), and (as the WBC is set up to establish) a lesser-known-by-Americans-but-(insert-random-WBC-participating-country's)-folk-hero facing guys like Clemens, Pedro, Felix, etc... is a legitimately fascinating story for that country. Eventually, we'd have the potential storyline of a team from a country like Iraq upsetting the US powerhouse.

I'm thinking Jamaican Bobsled team, folks! That was a fun story, even if it was a bit contrived...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Diagnostics, #4

Well, here I am at work again, barely, as I'm really not feeling all that well. Still, I'm in the middle of doing some tedious find-and-replaces in Dreamweaver, that take several minutes a piece, so I'm going to jot a few things down in the meanwhile.

4: How far will the "Hinge" players who disappointed last season bounce back?

What do I mean by "Hinge" players? Players who play key roles and who have expectations placed on them such that they, both singlehandedly and collectively, "swing" the team towards greatness or towards crappiness. Obviously, you could place several players in this category, but I'm going to narrow it down to five. These five all, whether rightfully so or not, had a big burden to carry last season and, for one reason or another, they all disappointed -- and this disappointment caused the hinge to swing downward last season. Obviously, all five will still be counted on equally in 2006 as they were in 2005. However, I'm sure we all can agree that some of these "Hinges" are more likely to swing upward than others.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Here's PositivePaul's 5 disappointing "Hinges" from 2005:
  • Ichiro
  • Adrian Beltre
  • Jeremy Reed
  • Joel Pineiro
  • Gil Meche
That's pretty much the order I see them in likelihood of swinging upward, too. I really don't have much hope for Gil, as his durability and ability to pitch to a lineup more than once or twice in a game are HUGE questionmarks. Nevertheless, even in spite of the non-guaranteed contract, everything I hear coming out of Peoria is that Gil has the 5th starter spot pretty much locked up. The M's still expect a lot out of him, and while I hope he can deliver, I'm just not expecting it. I really, really, really would like either Foppert or Nageotte to blow through spring and leave "Gilgameche" in the dust.