Monday, June 16, 2008

The Post Bavasi Era

The firing of GM Bill Bavasi brings up some interesting questions today: How much of the Mariners' miserable direction can be blamed on Bavasi vs the rest of upper management? If he wasn't there, would the roster look dramatically different?

I'd have to guess the answers are "A Lot" and "Yes." But time will tell. If the Mariners sign another below average starter to another $9MM+, 3+ year contract this offseason, then we should let Bavasi off the hook for this mess. In the meantime, I'm curious to find out how long the Mariners will wait to make major roster shakeups like replacing Silva/Batista/Dickey (pick one) in the rotation with Morrow, cutting Sexson, giving Clement a full-time gig and shifting Vidro to full-time pinch-hitting duties.

Personally I don't think they have much to gain by cutting Sexson. Sure his career is pretty much over. But he's our only power off the bench. The Mariners have plenty of other players to send down in order to make room for Clement. With that said, the next time Sexson refuses to comply with management's orders they sould suspend him and pocket the cash add to their aquisition warchest in the offseason.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Case For Dealing Lopez

Readers of The Log know we are not huge fans of Jose Lopez. His minor and major league track records suggest he will never blossom into a productive major league 2b. There seems to be a general misunderstanding among Mariner fans that Lopez is having a good year. He is not. But he may be having a good enough year to deal him for a decent AAA prospect. If that's the case, the Mariners should consider themselves lucky and make a deal today.

Let's take a peek at Lopez's stats so far: .299/4/29/27/2, with a .309 OBP and .736 OPS. That puts him on pace for: .299/11/80 w/ 74 runs and 5 SB. I'll make the call right now that he will NOT hit .300. He won't even hit .290. His batting average the past 3 years in the 2nd half is .250 with a pitiful OPS of .610. A player with very limited power and no speed who doesn't walk needs to hit .330 to be productive. So unless he turns into Placido Polanco overnight, the Mariners should deal Lopez now before the annual 2nd half swoon starts.

Maybe the rest of the league hasn't noticed what has become a painful reality for Mariner fans: For HR Lopez puts on the board he loses a game with his glove. Let's ignore for a minute all the balls an average fielding 2b would typically get to that Lopez doesn't make a play for, and focus on his inability to simply catch thrown balls or field grounders that share both meaning and velocity. Whether it's a perfectly thrown ball from Beltre to start a double play, or like last night, a grounder with the bases loaded that any major league 2b would have fielded to save 2 runs, he seems incapable of executing plays this team needs to stay in ballgames.

Let's deal Lopez before the rest of the league catches on that he has limited power, no speed and can't field. For a team that needs a little bit of everything, there has to be someone out there willing to part with a AAA+ player that can be part of the 2009 strategy and beyond.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Time To Make A Rotation Move

If the plan is still to move Morrow into the rotation, why wait? The time is now. The M's should shift Batista into the setup role and let Morrow start building up arm strength. If Morrow isn't ready to go 5 innings, then let them share starts for a while, let Morrow go 3-4 innings, and then bring Batista in for the next 3-4 innings to save the bullpen.

One reason the Mariners may not be willing to make a move now is they are paying the back end of their rotation $28 million a year. That's a lot of cash to lose games. Time to break up the "Three headed 5th Starter" and try to win some ballgames.

A second part of this could be dealing Putz and shifting Batista into the closer role. The Mariners need pitching and hitting. It shouldn't be difficult to get two good young players, or possibly one very good youngster ready to start along with a mid-minors propsect, in return for Putz. The closer position can be filled fairly easily. That's not to say that great closers are easy to find. Putz is a great closer. But when you lose 90+ games how critical is the closer position?

I realize Bavasi and McClaren need to win now, but the team isn't good enough. It's almost like the Mariners are the last ones to realize they should be rebuilding.

If you don't agree, I'd love to hear some other ideas. But first answer this question...what do they have to lose?