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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

August 8, 2007 at 12:36 PM

Wednesday potpourri

Just got back from lunch with Les Carpenter, who some of you might remember as a columnist/feature writer at the Seattle Times. He now works for the Washington Post, and made the drive up from D.C. So, again, my social life has cut into blogging time. I have new respect for Geoff, and I already had a lot. I’m not quite sure how he provides as much fresh blog copy as he does. Now it’s almost time to head to the clubhouse, so I’m going to try to crank out something quickly.
To those wondering if Brandon Morrow can start this year, I don’t see it happening. His longest stint all season is 3 1/3 innings. I don’t think there’s enough time to get him stretch out to be a starter. It would certainly require sending him to the minors, and I don’t think they want to take his arm out of the bullpen.
This leads to two questions to ponder:
1, Was it wise or not to interrupt Morrow’s development as a starter to use him as a setup man this year? I know the feelings of the USS Mariner folks are strong on this one — that it was a huge blunder by the Mariners. I tend to agree that he should have been developed as a starter in the minors, but I think they can claim a certain amount of vindication in how well he’s pitched, generally speaking, with some control issues along the way. Take his year as a whole, and Morrow has been a plus for them.
That said, it’s hard not to look at someone like Tim Lincecum, who had an identical career arc, started out the year in the minors, and is now a productive member of the Giants’ rotation, with a great starting future ahead of him. Same with Detroit’s Andrew Miller, before he got hurt. It’s hard not to wonder if the Mariners would have been better served having Morrow develop for possible insertion into the rotation at some point during the season.
That leads to question No. 2: How will the Mariners transition Morrow from reliever to starter, which they have said they intend to do. It would probably involve instructional league and winter ball, and maybe even some minor league time next year. Would they have the stomach to take him out of the bullpen, where he is now a semi-proven commodity? It’s something they’re going to need to do, I believe.
I think I gave short shrift in last night’s game story to Jeff Weaver, who gave up a lot of hits (11 in six innings), but mostly singles (two doubles), and did a good of minimizing the damage to get his first win since June 25. It was brutally hot and humid yesterday — and it’s worse today, with temperatures in triple digits …quot; so just making it through six innings was an accomplishment.
We all know Weaver was a disaster early in the season, but he deserves some credit for turning his season around. He’s become a serviceable No. 4 pitcher (albeit overpaid at $8 million, but that’s another story). He has a 3.57 ERA now over a span of 11 starts since he came off the DL, which is a large enough sample size to say that he’s become an asset, rather than the gross liability he was at 0-6, 14.32.
In the 11 years I’ve been covering the Mariners, there have been two players in particular that I would have sworn were finished as productive major leaguers. One was Scott Spiezio when he hit .064 for the Mariners in 2005. He seemed totally overmatched at the plate, and he didn’t seem motivated to do much about it. I was shocked when Spiezio resurrected his career with St. Louis, won another World Series ring, and signed a pretty good contract last year.
Weaver is the other one who seemed so befuddled early this season that it was hard to envision him becoming a winning pitcher again. He’s not quite, at 3-4 since the DL, but he’s pitched well enough to have a few more wins. For all the rips he got early in the year, including from me, he deserves some praise for hanging in there and turning things around.
Time to go down to the clubhouse.



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