Tag Archives: Luis Rodriguez

Surprises Coming?

So, the Mariners have played a few games.  Weird, huh?  Jeff Sullivan likened last week’s 2 regular season games in Japan to a dream and that sounds about right.  Now, we’ve been back to Cactus League games for the past few days and I find myself longing for Opening Day.  Then, I stop and think, “That already happened.”  I hope someone else has felt this way or else I spent far too much time writing this meaningless introduction.

Chone Figgins

Starting left fielder? Maybe he's too short.

One of the dumb things that happened in Japan was Mike Carp hurting his shoulder and getting put on the disabled list.  The other dumb thing was getting 3-hit by Bartolo Colon but I’ve tried to conveniently not remember that part of the dream.  Mike Carp got put on the disabled list before the 2nd game of the season and Carlos Peguero was activated for the 2nd game in Japan.  Now, Carp’s DL clock has been ticking even though we aren’t technically in the regular season at the moment so we can expect him back in about a week and a half.

People seem to think they have the Mariners roster figured out for the opening game (aside from a few spots in the bullpen, but I was referring to the position players).  They’ll option Alex Liddi and have Casper Wells and Carlos Peguero split time in left field.  I admit, this is the most likely but I’m not sure it’s the right decision.

If you’ve followed Spring Training, you know that Chone Figgins will be getting regular playing time for the first few weeks at least.  Little Figgy has been playing all over the diamond this spring and has spent a good amount of time in the outfield.  I’d even say he’s been there the majority of the time.  Knowing that and knowing that Carlos Peguero is bad (really bad).  Why not have Figgins be your starting left fielder for the next 2 weeks?  Keep Alex Liddi on the team and have him be the best right-handed bat off the bench.  Let him start a few games against left-handed pitchers while Seager gets a rest.  Kyle Seager should be this teams starting 3rd baseman anyway, so why not let him.

This works out for the Mariners front office, as well.  If Seager hits and Figgy doesn’t then you have a perfect excuse to cut him by the time Carp comes back.  Not a long enough trial, you say?  He’s had 2 years.  2 awful years.  Figgins is still on this team.

You can’t convince me that Figgins and Peguero on the field at the same time is a better combination than Figgins and Seager.  Figgins will be better defensively in left field.  Seager is a better hitter than Peguero.

Again, I don’t think this will actually happen because it’s unorthodox and usually baseball stays away from unorthodox but I think it should happen.  Plus, Alex Liddi is Italian.

Speaking of the Italian, he’s had a great spring.  Not that spring means much (or anything at all) but he would become the best right-hander on the bench.  He could play first, when Montero catches and Smoak DH’s.  All in all, I just think he’s better than Peguero because well… If you really want me to explain that then you need to figure out how bad Peguero is.

Last year, Seattle Sports Insider argued that Luis Rodriguez should make the team as the 25th man because he was simply better than Josh Wilson.  You can argue how much a 25th man means to an organization (probably not much), but a team should still put their best players on the major league team (unless they’re holding them back to save an extra year of team control.  We see you Paxton, Hultzen and Catricala!).  You know who the best right-handed hitter on the bench is when Casper Wells plays center, if Peguero makes the team?  There is no right-handed hitter on the bench in that situation.

I’ll break this down mathematically after the jump. Continue reading

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5 M’s Quick Hits

None of these points deserve a full post, because full posts on goodguyssports.com typically involve hours of research, in depth analysis, and material worth publishing. I don’t think any of these fit that bill, but please read anyway.

1) We’ve yet to mention the unbelievable comeback on Monday night. In short, the M’s were down by 7 in the 7th, at which point they had about a 0.6% chance of winning. Craziness ensued and Seattle pulled out a miraculous victory. My first thought watching this was, this is what makes baseball great. In baseball, there is no clock. So even when the M’s were down 7 in the 7th, Toronto couldn’t just milk the clock, no, because in baseball you’re required to get 27 outs, no matter how long it takes. Baseball and golf are two of my favorite sports, and neither involve time. Maybe I’m oddly attracted to this aspect.

2) It feels like every time I watch a Miguel Olivo at bat, he swings and misses at least twice. I have not seen every one of his at bats, and sometimes you draw conclusions, but the stats don’t back it up. But in this case, Olivo really does swing and miss more than any player in baseball. SWSTR% is an advanced stat that measures the percentage of strikes that are swung at, and missed. Olivo leads MLB (eligible players) by swinging and missing an astounding 24% of the time he swings at strikes. Rod Barajas is 2nd in baseball at 19%. Olivo has dominated this statistic in recent years. In fact, he has led every year since 2007. How many guys can say the’ve led baseball in a stat category 5 years running?! Jack Cust is 2nd on the M’s in SWSTR%, at 12.4%. Cust sure seems to swing and miss a lot, but Olivo still has him beat by double the whiffs.

The bottom line is when you’re a big league hitter, and you swing at a ball in the stike zone, you should make contact around 90% of the time, even if it’s just to foul it off. I’d like to watch Miguel in BP sometime, because he probably swings and misses at every 4th pitch.

3) I just found out that when you see a bunch of “K” signs tracking how many strikeouts a pitcher has, a backwards K means the batter struck out looking. I thought fans just got lazy and put them up that way. Oops.

4) When Guti returns, in a couple weeks Lord willing, the team will have a decision to make, because unless an injury, trade, or major slump occurs, there is no obvious candidate to be demoted. Those on the block include Langerhans, Saunders, Bradley, Cust, Kennedy, Rodriguez, or perhaps a bullpen arm like Wilhelmson or Ray (don’t get me started on Chris Ray). I won’t get into the implications for each guy, but at this point, it’s hard to justify demoting or cutting any of these position players, for various reasons. These things tend to work themselves out, otherwise the M’s could have a logjam in the outfield/DH position.

5) Finally, this thought came to me yesterday as I drooled watching Justin Smoak’s opposite field homerun. Where would the M’s be had Ruben Amaro (Phillies GM) not called last winter and offered Cliff Lee?
Think about it. If we hadn’t landed and then traded Lee, we would essentially have Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez (none of which are past AA), instead of Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson, plus the immeasurable joy of watching Cliff Lee for 4 months! I doubt very much if an Aumont, Gillies, Ramirez package could have landed us the coup we got from Texas. And also, if we had 101 losses with Cliff Lee 1/2 the year, how many losses might we have had without him? Yikes, that’s a disturbing thought.

It’s off to KC for our 4-8 Mariners. Oddly enough, despite a poor record, the M’s have split their first 4 series, winning 2 and losing 2. This year is hardly about wins and losses, but I would be pleased if we could somehow scratch back to .500 at some point.

-Dan

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Ranking Your 2011 Mariners

The big news today is basketball related, with Isaiah Thomas announcing, rather unexpectedly, that he will indeed forgo his senior season at UW. He’s off to the NBA, which sucks for Husky fans. Time will tell whether this is a wise decision by IT, but I’m happy for him. Next year’s expectations will be lower now, and it could very well be our last year watching Terrence Ross, but the team should still be good, and contend for the conference yet again.

With that news, I’m officially closing basketball talk on the blog, until at least the draft in June. Why? Because today is opening day! As Andrew noted, things have been dry on here lately, but nothing like some M’s baseball to stir conversation. In case you have not heard, the 25 man roster is official. Looking over the team last night, I started ranking guys in my mind, and that’s what this post is all about. In addition to ranking the 25 man roster, in terms of most valuable to the team in 2011, I’m also throwing 3 more guys into the conversation: Ackley, Gutierrez, and Aardsma. The latter two are on the DL, and Ackley will probably be up sometime in June, so they belong on this list too.

    Ranking the Roster (Most Valuable to Least Valuable)

1- Felix Hernandez—He is the King of Seattle, and the best pitcher on planet Earth. Yes, Felix is the Mariners’ most valuable player. Go away trade rumors!
2- Ichiro—The team’s best hitter and most valuable everyday player. Also, the coolest Mariner ever.
3- Justin Smoak—I want to fall in love with Justin Smoak, and so does this city, but he has a lot to prove. IMHO, this guy is the lynchpin to the M’s offense in 2011.
4- Franklin Gutierrez—I fear for Guti’s long-term health with every day that passes without an explanation, but assuming this mystery stomach ailment gets treated, Guti is the team’s best defender, and a top 5 hitter, a valuable asset indeed.
5- Milton Bradley—Depending on which Milton shows up, batting 3rd, Bradley could easily lead the team in production this year. But can he stay healthy AND out of trouble? I wouldn’t bet on it.
6- Erik Bedard—Hard to argue that a guy who did not pitch last year could hold much value, but IF healthy, Bedard provides huge value to this team. And IF his spring performance is an indicator of what’s to come, his worth is as high as a #2 starter.
7- Chone Figgins—This guy had better bounce back, and I expect he will now that he’s back at 3rd and settled into Seattle. The M’s should be annoying to play, and Figgy leads that annoyance.
8- Jason Vargas—I still don’t think of Jason Vargas as a #2 starter, but he earned this spot after last season. Can he provide an encore?
9- Jack Cust—Batting clean-up for your Seattle Mariners…Jack Cust. Really? You better believe it! He will strike out a ton, but I gotta think he is an upgrade at DH, and he is an awesome interview.
10- Miguel Olivo—The team’s main acquisition this winter, Miguel can’t be worse than our catchers last season, but he must improve on his first go around in Seattle if he is to win over the fans. Continue reading

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