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September 13, 2007 at 5:51 PM

September mourn

Really “Greybear”? You’re happy that the M’s failed to land free-agent Ted Lilly, a lefty with a 118 ERA+? You’d rather they trade Rafael Soriano to bring in lefty Horacio Ramirez? Um, OK. But the notion that not one free agent from last winter worked out should be laid to rest. I agree though, that plenty of them were busts. As for “DR”, how do you know there were no starters available for the right price in prospects? Because the M’s said so? How many teams did they offer Adam Jones to? If the answer is “none” then you don’t know which starters were available. I count at least five that were better than anything Seattle starters have provided the past month.
Anyway, this game is plodding along. M’s splitting this series could be a disaster. They go to Oakland to play a team that nearly swept them, then have four in Anaheim against a club vying for top spot in the AL and home advantage throughout the post-season. Can anyone say .500 season?
Sean White actually pitched rather well after walking in that run with the first batter he faced in taking over from Jeff Weaver with one out in the second. Nearly made it out of the sixth inning until the M’s failed to turn a double play. It should have been turned, but wasn’t. The next batter, Greg Norton, hits a two-run homer on White’s final pitch of the night to make it a 7-1 lead for the D-Rays.
Coulda, shoulda, woulda. When your starting pitcher can’t make it through the second inning, you aren’t going to win most games. By the way, to “Ebenezer” thanks for providing that link. Made my day.
Wow, Jeff Weaver didn’t even wait until the middle innings for a meltdown tonight. Already down 4-0 in the second inning, his pitch count at 45, when John McLaren pulled him. Weaver had just walked home a pair of runs with the bases loaded. The last six hitters have reached base and the crowd is going nuts. Weaver got a gift strike call from the plate umpire on a 3-1 pitch to Carlos Pena, but failed to take advantage and walked him anyway. To the crowd’s credit, they tried to rally Weaver once he finally landed a strike on a 3-0 pitch to Pena. But he let them down anyway. To be blunt, Weaver has let this team down when it mattered most. A big reason for this late-season collapse. Weaver put some good months together, but six wins for $8 million is not enough. He doesn’t look like he’s capable of winning another game this season and has hurt this bullpen immensely down the stretch by forcing it to work off extra innings.
Poor Sean White now gets to clean up Weaver’s mess.
With apologies to Neil Diamond for the headline, this isn’t how I envisioned September going. Yes, it is very difficult to cover a team that’s dropped off the face of the Earth as quickly as the Mariners have this month. Not complaining. I do have a great job and I’m paid to be here. But when the blog discussions boil down to “Cubby” stirring everyone up and getting it thrown back in his face, even I start to lose interest.
But that’s on me. This is my blog and if the discussions are dull, it’s up to me to liven them up.
Some of you are bemoaning the lack of free-agent pitching out there. I agree that it’s going to be rough going to boost your starting rotation via that route. If the M’s couldn’t land anyone beyond Miguel Batista last year, they are certainly going to be hard-pressed to do it this time around.
But that shouldn’t be a problem, right? After all, those of you who wanted to keep all of the team’s top minor league prospects instead of dealing them at the deadline expected the team to go after another starter via trade, right? Wasn’t that the plan? Seems to me it was.
So, let’s get cracking on those discussions. I also wonder about the future of Johan Santana in Minnesota given today’s resignation by Terry Ryan. One of the undercurrents I’m getting out of Minneapolis is that Ryan left because the team won’t bolster payroll. That throws Santana’s future with the Twins up in the air. Could he be had by the M’s? Depends on who’s being offered up. Could you get Santana for the price of Wladamir Balentien and Jeff Clement? Or prospects of that nature? I don’t think so. I think a club’s top prospect would be demanded and that means Adam Jones.
I told you last night how much I like Jones moving forward. Would I deal him for Santana? You bet your life I would. Jones and the other names I just mentioned. A rotation with Santana, Felix Hernandez, Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn and whoever would be as good as any in the AL West. And pitching is what it will take to win the West. Some of you argued otherwise at times this year, but the magic number for the Angels is now nine with 2 1/2 weeks to go. They are running away with the division, as expected.
The A’s will have an off-season to recover from injuries. No guarantee they won’t be a factor in 2008.
So, what are the M’s to do? Throw up their hands, or try to make a splash. This team needs better starters to compete. Didn’t get them last winter and will now watch the playoffs on TV because of it. So, I ask you again, would you part with Adam Jones? Because if I’m the Twins, about to lose Torii Hunter to free-agency, an impact center fielder is exactly what I want.
Once again, this isn’t about Adam Jones. It’s precisely because I value him so highly that I think he could get you something back in return. If not Santana (there’s a good chance he won’t be out there) then who? Do you go after a guy like A.J. Burnett for top prospects (not necessarily Jones)? How about Brad Penny? There’s a guy I’d be curious about.
But the status quo simply isn’t enough.
Jose Lopez sits again tonight in favor of Willie Bloomquist. John McLaren says this isn’t about Lopez, that he wants to use a lineup that will help him win games and he likes the spark generated by Bloomquist last night. Of course this is all about Lopez. Had he played better the past three months he’d be in there every night. If his dropoff in perfromance is about his late brother, I completely understand, but the team should have done something about it sooner. Sent him home to be with family, grieve a little, then try to come back and play after a minor league rehab outing or something.
If this isn’t about his brother, then Lopez has some serious things to work through this winter and next season. The fact that he’s been replaced by Bloomquist because McLaren says he wants to win games is a stunning indication of how far Lopez has fallen in the team’s estimation.
Make no mistake. Lopez has much to prove next year.
Jones isn’t in there either tonight. But at least he can pinch-hit.
To “Jay” in the previous thread, I know you’re new, so you might not know that I used to cover the Blue Jays for nine years right up until last September. That’s why I am constantly making comparisons. The excuse of the AL East powerhouses was valid on some levels, but truthfully, the Yankees were not at all healthy this year and floated out a rookie-laden starting rotation for most of the season. So, Toronto’s tiresome injury excuses, used every year since 2004, aren’t really valid. Had Toronto’s pitchers performed to this level all year, it might indeed have contended. But the Blue Jays are, for those of us who watched them every year, known for turning it on when the heat is off and folding under pressure (like the past two weeks) when that heat starts to get turned back up again.
They are entering Year No. 7 of J.P. Ricciardi’s infamous “Five Year Plan” which started out as a “Three Year Plan”. So, get back to me when they finally win something and enough about the money constraints. The Blue Jays have received dollar equalization payments from MLB for years. With a 97-cent Canadian dollar as of today, are they going to give those up? After all, those payments began when it was a 60-cent dollar. Toronto is owned by a cable conglomerate worth how many billions? Please, do not talk to me about how they are unable to compete. If they can’t compete because they won’t spend, then maybe it’s time for them to get out of the baseball business. Otherwise, they have to stop complaining and spend their money better.
As for the M’s, they definitely have to spend their money better. They don’t have two financial giants in the division to worry about. Only clubs with some very good starting pitchers. Seattle will have all winter to close the gap.
The lineups:
TAMPA BAY (61-85)
2B Brendan Harris
DH Greg Norton
1B Carlos Pena
CF B.J. Upton
RF Delmon Young
LF Jonny Gomes
C Raul Casanova
3B Joel Guzman
SS Jorge Velandia
RHP Jason Hammel
SEATTLE (76-68)
CF Ichiro
3B Adrian Beltre
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Jose Guillen
1B Ben Broussard
DH Jose Vidro
C Kenji Johjima
2B Willie Bloomquist
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
RHP Jeff Weaver
HP Tom Hallion (crew chief)
1B Bruce Dreckman
2B Chris Guccione
3B Phil Cuzzi

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan


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