Tag Archives: Jeff Clement

Sorry For This…

It’s Monday, I’m sick, and a little bitter about sports. The M’s, and specifically Chone Figgins, are on my nerves. So to are the “Don’t feel sorry for Seattle” comments Skip Bayless made regarding the Sonics, and I’ve heard one too many callers bash on Locker. And then comes this lovely article from Jon Paul Morosi, in which he updates us on Jeff Clement.-

Clement was the No. 3 overall pick that year — right after Upton and Gordon, right before Zimmerman, Braun, Romero and Tulowitzki. The Seattle Mariners took him. There was a lot to like: He was a handsome, hardworking kid who set the national high school home run record while starring for the Marshalltown (Iowa) Bobcats. He won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher during his final season at USC.

Clement checked three boxes where the Mariners were deficient: catcher, power, left-handed hitter. The Seattle scouts were smitten by Tulowitzki, too. Tulowitzki told FOXSports.com contributor Tracy Ringolsby that Seattle had planned to take him until the night before the draft.

What changed?

“They said they had a shortstop in the organization, but no catchers, and therefore that made the pick easy,” Tulowitzki said.

Naturally, it all goes back to Yuniesky Betancourt.

Again, I’m really sorry for that.

-Dan

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Thank You Freddie Garcia!!!!!!

There is something very unique about being a Seattle sports fan. For me, the best way I can describe it, is that even in the rare moments of greatness, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk, and after picking it up, you’re just waiting to get jumped. I guess that’s just how it is when you’ve yet to see your team hoist a championship. I’m fairly certain my local teams have lowered my life expectancy. And so, I’d like to offer a glass 1/2 full thought, which I for one could use, especially following an evening of flipping between the painful World Series (Lee vs. Lincecum) and the torture chamber that was the NBA opener for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So, ever wonder how the M’s landed Felix Hernandez? Well here’s the jist, thanks to the always reliable Wikipedia-

Felix Hernandez was first spotted by Luis Fuenmayor, a part-time Mariners scout who saw him pitching at age 14 in a tournament near Maracaibo, Venezuela. Fuenmayor recommended Hernández to fellow scouts Pedro Avila and Emilio Carrasquel, who were impressed with the youngster who could already throw 94 mph. The Mariners continued to follow Hernández for over a year, but baseball rules prohibit teams from signing players to contracts until after they have turned 16.

After graduating from high school, Hernández finally agreed to his first professional contract. Mariners director of international operations Bob Engle signed Hernández as a nondrafted free agent on July 4, 2002. Hernández received a large signing bonus of $710,000, although he said the Mariners were not the highest bidder. Other teams trying to sign him included the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, and the Houston Astros, with the Braves reportedly offering the most money.

One reason Hernández chose the Mariners is because his idol, fellow Venezuela pitcher Freddy García, was pitching for the team at the time.

Much has been made of the Mariners drafting Brandon Morrow in 2006, rather than picking the hometown boy, Tim Lincecum. A lot of fans count to this instance as another example of the curse of Seattle sports. I agree that watching Lincecum pitch stings a little, but keep in mind, 9 teams passed on him that in the 2006 draft, Seattle of course was one of the teams. But how do the Orioles feel picking Bill Rowell just before Lincecum? Or how about the Rockies selecting Greg Reynolds in front of Evan Longoria!

Actually, I find the 2005 draft much more painful as a Mariners fan. Seattle took Jeff Clement with the 3rd pick overall, and the next 4 picks were Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki. Wow! But hey, that’s baseball. It’s easy to remember these instances, and forget how we came to have studs like King Felix and Ichiro. Without having Freddie Garcia on our roster, it is very possible that Felix would have taken higher money and landed in New York, Houston, or Atlanta. So maybe we do catch some breaks! And that, is my glass 1/2 full thought today.

-Dan

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Ian Snell DFA’d and Losing Trades

If you’ve followed the Mariners today, you’ve probably heard that Ian Snell has been designated for assignment.  It’s about time.  Ian Snell has been terrible the past couple years and was even worse this year.  Now, he’s gone and Brian Sweeney is up (more on him in a little while).

Ian Snell came over here last Summer in the Jack Wilson-Jeff Clement trade.  It seemed like a good idea at the time; Snell was a young starter who possibly needed a change of scenery and Jack Wilson was the shortstop who was going to captain the world’s best defense.  It hasn’t really worked out, to say the least.  Jack has been hurt more often than not since coming here and Snell has been terrible.  That leads to the obvious, and somewhat annoying, question, “Did the Mariners lose this trade?”  These questions usually rub me the wrong way.  This is because we are fans on the outside and the people who sometimes proclaim the trade as lost don’t know as much about the organization as they should.  Lets take a look at this example:

  • One team received a double-A starter who has a 5.92 ERA in 11 starts this year.  He is running out an 8.4 K/9 innings rate, which is really good but not much else seems to be going for him.
  • The other team received a shortstop who has been starting at the major league level.  This guy is hitting .281 and, although he has one of the worst UZR’s in the league, has a pretty solid fielding percentage.

Which team wins that trade?  Well, obviously the team with the shortstop right?  No.  That shortstop is Yuniesky Betancourt.  This is just one of many examples that show a trade can not be judged by an outsider without organizational knowledge.  The double-A pitcher I refered to above is actually a decent prospect.  His name is Dan Cortes and if he ever gains some control he could be in the majors.  Yuni sucks.  People don’t know these things when looking at stats, they only know them after reading scouting reports and watching them.  I think the Mariners made themselves a better organization by this trade even if Yuni is putting up solid numbers.  Can the same be said with the Royals?  I don’t know.  I don’t know enough about the Royals to make a fair judgement.  My first reaction would to be say no because of my experience with Yuni but that’s not fair to their front office.

So, back to the trade with Pittsburg last summer.  No, the Mariners did not win this trade.  Jack could come back and be a decent contributor this year and next but it’s probably not enough for me to say that this trade made the Mariners a better organization.  But did it make them worse?  Clement is hitting no better than Kotchman, .189, and has been moved out of the starting lineup.  Ronny Cedeno could put up the greatest numbers in the world and I wouldn’t regret trading him away.  Like Carlos Silva and Yuni, Ronny Cedeno wasn’t going to work in Seattle.  So, no I don’t think the Mariners lost this trade.  Clement could suddenly get better, he definitely has the brightest future of all of these players, but it sure doesn’t look like this will happen. 

Maybe no one won that trade.  It’s easy to see where both front offices were coming from in making the move.  So don’t think that this was a terrible move.  Jack Z wasn’t Bill Bavasi bad in this move.  He was just average, which is worse than usual with our GM.  It’s nice to say that.

A few more notes concerning this after the jump.  Continue reading

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Mariners Weekend Recap — 5/29-5/30

Some games feel bigger than the one W or L that they represent on the schedule. When the M’s win in dramatic fashion on a Saturday night in front of 40,000 at Safeco, it seems odd that that win means just as much as a 10 am weekday win against Kansas City, in front of 11,000 fans. Likewise, a loss like yesterday kind of feels like 10 losses, rather than just one. The fashion in which the Mariners blew a 7-2 lead in the 5th inning yesterday, although not surprising based on how this year has gone, left me feeling frustration that should be reserved for only the most painful, playoff losses; not a regular season game in May.

I should be talking about a Mariners team that is miraculously just 5 games out of first place today. The M’s should have won yesterday, and should have won Saturday. The streak of horrible weekend games should have come to a halt, but alas, the M’s lost on Saturday and Sunday, providing further proof that while good teams find ways to win games, Seattle finds ways to lose them. Thus, they are not a good team. I have so many thoughts, opinions and observations from this weekend series because I saw every inning, and both games had so many layers. Rather than recap both games in typical style, I think I will just bullet point the good and bad that stood out.

The Depressing Stuff:

  • Ian Snell pitched well through 3 innings, but then I jinxed him by noticing this, and his control went haywire. I’m sure Snell will be gone at the end of the season, if not before then, and with Jack Wilson on the shelf and probably never returning to his old form, it’s probably accurate to say we lost that trade with the Pirates. I would have done it myself, and the trade won’t set the organization back much, but Jeff Clement at least has some potential, whereas Snell and Wilson don’t appear to.
  • Felix pitched well enough to win on Saturday, 8+ innings of 1 run ball, but the M’s offense was MIA and Brandon League showed again an inability to keep the ball in the park when it matters most.
  • On Sunday, Jesus Colome and Kanekoa Texeira pitched the 5th and 6th innings, and despite yielding just 2 hits, neither pitcher had much control. Of the 40 pitches they threw, 25 were balls. 4 walks were issued, plus a catcher’s interference, and suddenly the Angels had scratched out 3 runs off 2 singles, and the score was 7-5 heading into the 7th. This felt like the turning point in the game.
  • Yesterday, David Aardsma entered the 9th with a 1 run lead. The odds of winning may have been 75%, but in reality, it felt like a 50/50 game at this point. Aardsma had Matsui struck out on a full count, but the ump called it a ball, which was a horrible call. Once Matsui walked, I felt things slipping away. Rivera proceeded to crush a ball that somehow stayed in the yard, but it felt like a foreshadow of things to come. A fluke infield hit followed, and the wheels were coming off. Kendrick then blasted a fastball (of course) the other way and the game was over. But back to why things never feel safe when David Aardsma enters the game…

    The fact is, Aardsma usually has decent control, but everyone knows he will throw a 93-96 mph fastball about 90% of the time. If that pitch is not located perfectly, it’s a meatball. There really isn’t any deception to Aardsma’s pitching. The hitters just have to sit dead red, make a nice swing, and hope the ball lands in a good spot. Effective closers need not have 3 great pitches, but if he chooses to throw 1 pitch 90% of the time, it had better be a great pitch. Aardsma’s fast ball is not a great pitch, especially if it is not properly located. Aardsma will continue to get hit well for this reason, and sometimes the ball stays in the park or he gets lucky with a ball hit right at someone, but a lot of time the outcome is what we witnessed yesterday. It’s just really frustrating, but really, who didn’t expect him to regress this year? His true colors are showing. Aardsma depends on location and luck, and often one or the other fails him. He seems like a really cool guy though, for what it’s worth.

  • Our 3rd base coach is awful. I talk to Andrew about this often, and yesterday’s send of Wilson was his worst of the year. Base coaches are like referees in that if no one is talking about him, he is probably doing a good job. We have talked about Mike Brumley way too much this year, thus, he is doing a bad job.
  • Saturday and Sunday has not been kind to the Mariners this year. Seattle is 3-13 in weekend games, including 6 straight Saturday losses, and currently the team has won just once in its past 13 weekend games. In their 13 losses, 6 have been walk-offs, and 9 have been the crushing loss type, whereby the M’s were either tied or leading in the 8th inning.
  • 9 times the M’s have given up a walk-off hit. Conversely, Seattle has just 1 walk-off hit this season.
  • The Mariners are 0-6 in extra inning games this year.
  • Only 3 teams in baseball have a worst record than the M’s.

    Do I enjoy digging up these stats? Actually, no. I don’t drink alcohol, but this team brings me closer each weekend!

    Positive notes, plus hero and goat after the jump Continue reading

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