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September 26, 2007 at 11:56 PM

M’s salvage split

NOTE: To “Oregongal” that was a very good question. I would say that a callup’s strong September performance wouldn’t hurt in pushing a team over the top in a potential deal. It would make it an easier sell to that team’s fans. From personal experience, I can think of a similar, though not identical, example with outfielder Gabe Gross in Toronto. He was a throw-in to Milwaukee in the deal for Centralia native Lyle Overbay of a couple of years ago. The two big Blue Jays names in that trade at the 2005 winter meetings were pitchers Dave Bush and Zach Jackson. The Blue Jays also got a minor league pitcher in Ty Taubenheim. But Gross had hit a bunch of homers and spring training (which I’ll substitute for a meaningless September in this case). All pretty useless. Had a .733 OPS that September. But he was a name they could put in front of fans, a former No. 1 pick with some stats who helped make the deal a “sell”. Gross may not amount to much. Had an .858 OPS last year in 121 games. Not so good this year. May have been a better college QB at Auburn than he’ll ever be as a major league ballplayer. But he had some meaningless numbers and they didn’t hurt. I seriously doubt any team would be overtly swayed by September numbers. I’m sure it happens, but the GMs who do deal for those players likely just had to be re-assured of first impressions.
On to the post…
Thrilling finish to tonight’s second game of the doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians. Seattle scored a pair in the final two innings, tying it in the ninth on a Jeff Clement solo homer with two out off Joe Borowski. And then, they win it in the 10th off Aaron Fultz as Mike Morse cashes in pinch-runner Rob Jonhson from third with a loopy groundball that fooled shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
It was Morse’s third hit of the night. He’s showing the team what he can do. Not that the team didn’t know already. But if Morse wants to make a case for himself as a utility guy, this wasn’t a bad way to go.
“You can never do too much, I guess you can say,” Morse said, remnants of a shaving cream pie in his face, courtesy of J.J. Putz. “Baseball’s a crazy game like that. You just keep playing and playing and playing and do the best that you can every day.”
Hear what Morse said right here.
I asked Clement whether getting his first major league hit out of the way, on that double in the first game, made that ninth-inning situation against Borowski any easier to deal with.
“To have that under my belt, it gave me confidence,” Clement said. “Whether it should or it shouldn’t, it did. It just helped me that much more going into that last at-bat in a much bigger situation, obviously.”
Hear that and more from Clement right here.
Before I leave, I must say that pinch-runner Rob Johnson did a fine job of setting up the winning run by tagging and moving to third on that fly ball to right by Adrian Beltre. Johnson thought the ball was going over the outfielder’s head and was halfway to third. He had to scramble back and tag up, but still hustled enough to beat the relay throw in to the bag. Quite some speed for a catcher.
Yes, I too would like to see more of the prospects these final few days. I suspect the playing of the vets of late has more to do with padding Seattle’s win total than ensuring the game’s “integrity” or whatever it’s being called these days. Why not give them a taste? Then again, if any of you think these games by the youngsters mean much in the decision-making process, you’re badly mistaken. About the only thing a guy can do at this stage is confirm what teams already suspect about them or expose a flaw that had gone previously undetected.
When we talk about, or write about a prospect “showing something” here in September, that’s just what it is. Showing something. Not winning a job or something. Just leaving an impression. Reinforcing what a team believes about them. The time for real development is over the winter, at spring training and during a minor league or major league season. Not the final few meaningless games in September.
But still, I wouldn’t mind seeing some of them play more. It would keep me awake.
Do I want to see a spring training roster out there? Not really. I suspect that a lot of the pitchers don’t want to see one behind them either. But something in the middle of what the M’s have put out and some fans want would suit me fine. One thing I can’t stand in September is teams padding wins for PR purposes. Seen that too many times and sometimes, those teams actually fool themselves into believing they really were as good as their win total. A dangerous thing.



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