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February 21, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Questions galore

It’s the second day of full-squad workouts here in Peoria. Jose Lopez is here and in-uniform for the team. No, the rest of the starting rotation has yet to be named. I’m getting a bit of a breather today, so I thought I’d answer some of your questions from the past week:
How many options does a club receive for a particular player, and is it a limit set by the player’s individual contract or by the collective bargaining agreement?
— Tom

A: Players on the 40-man roster get three options to the minor leagues over the course of their career. They can be sent up and down several times (for at least 10 days) during a season and it only counts as one option. This is per the MLB collective agreeement.

Do you know of any place where we could listen to classic Dave Niehaus calls? I want to listen to his call of “The Double” again.
— Anna 11

A: Local boy Jim Caple at ESPN has some links to it in this story on Niehaus. Martinez’s double is one of the sample clips in the box to the right.

I know we havent talked about Bedard in at least two days (which is a new record). How is he adjusting to the new team?
— Seth Cotner

A: I spoke to Bedard yesterday and he’s been swamped by interviews. Two of them in recent days were with French-Canadian TV crews from Quebec, the RDS sports network and CBC television’s french-language arm Radio Canada. he’ll head off the field after workouts and be steered by team handlers towards camera crews one-by-one. He’d done six interviews with various outlets before I chatted with him for 10 minutes yesterday. He had dinner with draft pick Phillippe Aumont the other night, as I mentioned in a story this week, and the pair got to converse in French for a while. He isn’t the center of attention in the clubhouse, that’s for sure. I’ve seen him chatting with J.J. Putz, whose locker is next to his, and other players on occasion. But he also keeps to himself. He admits he’s a guy who takes time to get to know and trust people. For now, I’d say he’s too busy fulfilling media requests and team commitments to have really acclimated himself.
Geoff, you do realize that if Ichiro’s number comes up in the American Idol singing thingy they’re doing in camp, and if you get it on video, you’re going to cause an international phenomenon?
— Chris from Bothell

A: Apparently so, since he made clear to us yesterday that he doesn’t think he’ll be doing any singing. Maybe that will change. I asked him if he’d rather tell a joke instead. He replied that he would not be doing this because he feels the sense of humor of the Japanese and American people is vastly different. So, a Samurai warrior and a Sumo wrestler walk into a bar…
Isn’t Mike Morse out of options? He has historically shown more power than Jeremy Reed, though Reed is the better glove. He can play either Infield or Outfield, I never understood why he hasn’t stuck yet as utility guy. Why wouldn’t he either make the team or be used as trade potential?
— Spokane M’s Fan
A: Morse is indeed out of options. If he doesn’t make the squad out of spring training, he’ll have to clear waivers first before he can be sent back down to Class AAA. Given his ability to play multiple positions, there’s a good chance he’d get picked up by another club. Sometimes though, teams don’t have the roster room to add a player to their 40-man and guys put on waivers can slip through without being claimed. Especially position players, as opposed to, say, pitchers. A decent pitcher would be snatched up because they’re so scarce. Outfielders, not so much. Shannon Stewart can be had for next to nothing these days and he’s a proven major leaguer. Morse is not. One of the reasons Bloomquist keeps sticking with the club is that whenever he’s had to prove himself to earn a spot — think spring training last year, when he hit .400 and stole a ton of bases — he does it. Bloomquist can also handle sitting on the bench for long stretches. Not all players can. With Morse, the attitude has always been that he needs to play every day to develop. That time is now done. If the team wants to keep him, it will likely have to be as a part-timer. As for trade potential, he’s a component part to a deal, not a main piece. And a small component at that, since he doesn’t pitch. He plays several positions adequately, but doesn’t project as a star at any. Not yet, anyway.
I think Willie B. has a better attitude and more hustle than Lopez. Put Willie at 2nd and use Morse as man of all positions on the bench.

— MT Mariner

The Mariners tried this for stretches last year. Bloomquist went 9-for-20 playing six games in nine days in late-June. He then went 1-for-11 while appearing in five straight contests in September. Defensively, he’s an adequate player, but not above-average. Offensively, there’s concern about his ability to stay consistent over longer stretches. It’s the old Catch-22, you never really know unless you try it. But the M’s won’t try it. They believe Lopez has a higher upside both offensively and defensively and are willing to ride out his slumps to prove it. I think we’re getting to the stage where he has to prove it. Yes, the politics of Lopez’s contract do play into it and I’m sure he’s getting more leeway than would a veteran on a one-year deal. But I’m sure the fact Bloomquist hails from the Seattle area hasn’t hurt his career either. Not saying that’s why he’s still with the club, but let’s just say it isn’t a negative. Players do get typecast in backup roles and I think Bloomquist will have to leave Seattle to get that shot at playing every day.
That said, if he’s going to be kept around for his versatility, I’d like to see him used more in a backup role if Lopez, or someone else, struggles. Or, if you’re not going to use him much, his versatility would be a reason to use an extra roster spot on another position of need instead of the outfield. Never truly understood the Jason Ellison acquisition last spring. The team already had two backup outfielders, Bloomquist and Ben Broussard, who were rarely used. I’d have rather seen that extra roster spot go to a pitcher, or even Rey Ordonez (even if he can’t hit). His glove wouldn’t have killed the team and at least Lopez would not have been penciled into the lineup every day without earning it. Yes, I know Ellison played all three outfield posiitons and gave Ichiro a rest once every three months or so. Don’t think that justified the roster spot, given how little he was actually used.



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