Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday Ramblings

For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I thought I would post the picture of the real-life Peter Griffin for you Family Guy fans. The resemblance is uncanny.

Moving on, Phil Steele's pre-season rag hits the stands in the coming days. If you love to read these things like I do, you know that Steele is about as good as a pre-season read as you can find. The national version is good enough, but the regional version per conference is outstanding. Thanks to Bob Condotta of the Times for pointing this out. Here's a look at Steele's All-Pac-10 teams:

Nice to see Gibson getting his due. He's been first on every Pac-10 preseason team I've seen. We highlighted it the other day, but Oregon's secondary is pretty stacked. USC, big surprise, has the most all-league picks, with 23. WSU? Last, with 7. Again, big surprise.

Another thanks to Condotta for this story (and even though it's a UW blog, he does a hell of a job for the Times). The San Jose Mercury News runs down the salaries of the Pac-10 head coaches from 1-10, and places a win share, or dollars to wins to see who is doing the best based on salary. High School Harry (Pete Carroll) gets the most at 2.8 large, and yes, he's worth every penny. Our own coach Wulff is down the line a bit at 9th, slightly ahead of Stanford's Jim Harbaugh. Not a surprise he's down there, given his lack of D-1 experience, but I guess I was a little taken aback that he's ahead of Harbaugh, although not by much. I thought these quotes were interesting:

"The most overpaid coach, when comparing dollars to wins? Washington’s Tyrone Willingham.

The most underpaid? Oregon State’s Mike Riley."

Tyrone's 1.47 million seems awfully high for a guy who's gone 11-25 and still has his job. But given the 1-win disaster he took over, I think it is unfair to judge him purely on the record. Like it or not, he's drastically changed the culture, and went way outside the box to bring in a top-shelf d-coordinator this year that should pay instant dividends. I know, "UW FOOTBALL BLOG EAST" or whatever you want to call it, but it is what it is. "Riles" as the most underpaid is accurate as well. We'll get into the Beav's more in the next couple of days with another spring fish wrap, but to think that he coaxed 9 wins out of that team last year with all that was going on is a fantastic coaching job that cannot be understated!

Finally, John McLaren had a Jose-Guillen-like meltdown of epic proportions yesterday, after getting ripped by Chuck Armstrong before the game.

The only thing I can say is what took you so long John?? Someone pointed it out yesterday in comments, but Jose Vidro hitting 4th?? Brutal. Jose Vidro shouldn't hit 4th on my son's coach-pitch team, but to think he's the starting DH and hitting 4th on an AL club is just mind-blowing. That shows how poorly this team has been put together, and you just have to wonder how much longer this will go on. Maybe after today's MLB amateur draft they will blow it up. The worst thing is that it seems like they really don't have a clue as to what to do to turn it around. Chuck Armstrong gave Bavasi and McLaren very loud votes of confidence a few weeks ago, decisions that look worse by the day. I heard Pat Gillick interviewed on KJR the other day, about how he said it was too early to give up on 2008 and you have to wait until at least the All-Star break. HUH? 15 games out, worst record in the bigs and it's June 6th. IT'S TIME.


Anonymous said...

Peter Griffin, classic.

huge ommission on the all-Pac-10 team - Kenny Alfred. He will be a first-teamer.

Great vid of Mclaren losing it!

Hooty McBoob said...

Thanks for the segue (That's how "segway" is spelled, medina), Hawk. I've had a few thoughts about the M's that I have been wanting to get out.

First of all, all of that talk about moving Morrow into the rotation is flat-out dumb. You always worry about the durability of a guy that throws that hard. You can hope and pray that you have the next Nolan Ryan on your hands but chances are better that you'll wind up with the next Kerry Wood.

If there's any place Morrow moves on that staff, it should be to the 9th inning, where you can get away with one dominating pitch and wind up in the Hall of Fame. With Putz seemingly off his game - or perhaps still hurting, now is the time to give Morrow a shot as closer.

The team in general is in obvious disarray and it's obviously time for a major overhaul. The absentee ownership of the M's is the biggest problem. Chuck Armstrong is accountable to no one, as long as the franchise turns a profit. He has tried to simply re-tool the team from the time Griffey left. It definitely worked for a time but the veteran players that have been brought in over the years simply aren't cutting it and their big salaries make it a bad business decision if they are dumped in favor of younger players. Bavasi should have been fired before the ink dried on the Rafael Soriano trade. He's making Woody Woodward look like he actually had a clue.

What we have right now, is a team of veterans who are largely past their prime and pressing like mad to get back to where they once were. When you have several of these guys on one team it creates a lot of tension in the clubhouse. The guys who ARE going good tend to temper their enthusiasm out of respect for their stuggling teammates. It's hard to break out of this kind of rut without a major change - and changing the manager and or coaches won't fix it.

When personnel decisions are based on business instead of chemistry and performance, teams fail. Brad Wilkerson "won" his job on the opening day roster even though he was outplayed in preason by Balentien. Why? Because he made more money. The result has been an up-and-down season for Wlad which is exactly what a young player does NOT need to flourish.

The answer to making the M's entertaining again is to cut bait on Sexson, Vidro and Batista. Washburn, Ibanez and Johjima should be deadline trade-bait - and Bavasi and Co should take what they can get.

Turn this team over to Lopez and Betancourt to provide young leadership and bring up some young talent. They'll play hard, play loose and will be fun to watch. If it goes well, they'll grow together and resemble a team like the Braves, who have a couple solid vereran performers surrounded by a core of young players.

For now,

Ichiro - CF
Betancourt - SS
Lopez - 2B
Ibanez - 1B
Beltre - 3B
Balentien - RF
Johjima - DH
Clement - C
Reed - LF

Sedihawk said...

Great stuff Hoot. First of all, I put that real Peter Griffin pic up for you. I hope you like it.

As a former M's employee and one who knows Armstrong, I respect your opinions. I think you are right on. The whole thing feels like 2004 all over again. Remember they won 90+ games in 2003? They tried to keep it together and the key vets from the better years collectively fell on their faces in '04, and you had Olerud and Boone DFA'd, Freddy Garcia traded, etc. In '07 they truly lucked into 88 wins, and all the saber-metric numbers back up that they were really more like an aging, slow, no-power .500 team that won some games late to getto 88 wins. And now that same team is just a year older and the laws of averages caught up! Brutal.

Unless they are absolutely insane, we will see Sexson, Vidro and probably Washburn all either dealt or DFA'd. I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to trade Beltre either. Just one more year on his deal, and there are rumors he has ZERO interest in re-signing with Seattle. There are rumors already that Boras is putting together a plan to get him back to SoCal. I would get on the phone with the Padres, Dodgers, even the Giants and see what you could get there. He's still a gold-glover and can get into the 20+ HR range. He should be back in the NL and not have to chase so many 2-strike breaking balls off the plate.

But, I am not sure about Lopez and Betancourt. I think your son has as many walks as Betancourt. He might hit around .300 but it's an empty .300, and his D just isn't what it was. And Lopez is hitting ok, but his glove is lousy right now. I was at the game on Sunday and there was a ground ball that got by him where probably 95% of second basemen in baseball would have snared. He got a poor jump and his range is non-existent. He might have to move to 3rd base if/when Beltre is gone.

I guess the bottom line is we have an aging, slow, right-handed, low-power hitting team that doesn't get on base playing in a park that screams for speedy, lefthanded, defensive-minded on-base-percentage machines! They couldn't be built any worse for the park they play in 81 times a year.

Here's my lineup ("rosterbation" time):

1) Reed - L - LF
2) Betancourt - R - SS
3) Ichiro - L - CF
4) Ibanez - L - 1B
5) Lopez - R - 2B
6) Beltre - R - 3B
7) Clement - L - C
8) Johjima - R - DH
9) Balentien - R - RF

I know Reed isn't a speedy guy, but he could get a decent OBP if he gets a chance to play every day. Betancourt doesn't walk, but he does put the bat on the ball. You wouldn't need a selective guy at #2 if you get Reed on base consistently. Just get 'em over. Ichiro is the best hitter on the team, and he is going to start losing some speed anyway. Get him to change his approach to drive the ball more and not just slap-n-dash. All the experts say he could pop 20 jacks a year if he wanted to, but he might hit .280 instead of .330 to do it. Ibanez isn't much of a clean-up guy but he is the best option. Lopez should be in a regular RBI spot and #5 is good for him. Clement can settle in behind Beltre and in front of Johjima, and have him catch 4-5 times a week. And just let Balentien be in right and see what he can do.

atlantacoug said...

Disappointed that Johjima was resigned for 3 years. There is your Japanese ownership influence. When pitchers would rather pitch to someone else, and you are are an average hitter, you don't resign him for big money

Hooty McBoob said...

I'm on the fence with Beltre but there's no doubt that he has the most trade potential of the big-money guys. He plays his ass off but clearly his last big year in LA was an anomoly.

The next big albatross is that Johjima deal. He's got way too long of a swing for good pitchers not to exploit and now we have him signed long-term with Clement (and Rob Johnson) waiting in the wings.

They need to get that farm system re-stocked ASAP but don't appear to share that opinion - they just selected a reliever from UGA with their first round pick.

If I were them, I'd take a long, hard look at how much fun that young Florida Marlins team has playing baseball and take a page out of that book.

Oh - by the way, while Armostrong and Bavasi are up here, absolutely rat-fucking the organization, it's former Mariner front-office cast-off Larry Beinfest running the show in FLA...

Sedihawk said...

Atl, that Johjima thing has to have come from Japan. Who in their right mind would re-sign him for 3 years, at his age and scary drop in production this year? Even Bavasi and his Crystal Skull isn't that he? The worst part about Johjima is that not only do none of the pitchers even want to throw to him, he isn't even an ideal DH, trying to pull everything and can't draw a walk.

I shop Beltre based on his age, he's signed for another year and has defensive value, and he would probably crawl back to Dodger Stadium today if he could. They have 3rd base issues with Nomar injured, so, who knows. The whole Beltre thing is too bad, because he had one of the greatest 3rd baseman seasons in the history of the game, at age 24 to boot. It has to be one of the biggest flukes of all time.

By the way, on Morrow - as much as I would actually like to see them try him as a starter, I have to agree with your take. But it's not so much his health, as they say scouts love his mechanics and he doesn't have nearly the violence on his arm that a Wood or Prior had. But it's the fact that he has absolutely no feel for an offspeed pitch makes me wonder what would happen to him. He looks great throwing 99-mph bb's in the late innings, but what if those guys got a second or third chance through the lineup against him? I'm with you, he's got closer written all over him.

I love the idea of copying Florida. Those guys are amazing with their tiny payroll and young talent stepping in. Atlanta is amazing too. They have kept their core, added to it with trades and free agents, and their youngsters have stepped in and produced when necessary. But Boston is the most amazing to me. All the pressure of Boston, the rivalry with the Yanks, and they still win. It's not only signing the right free agents and having a huge payroll, but making trades like Beckett and Lowell for Hanley and others, or plugging in youngsters in key spots with Pedroia, Ellsbury, Bucholtz, Lester. They have the perfect mix of young and old. THAT is what we need! Time to clean out the old-school cobwebs and get with the moneyball ways.

millcreekcoug said...

I wonder if the profit driven owners realize they could make even MORE money by dumping payroll and building a squad ala the Marlins or Rays.

The M's made 20 million last year with a 100+ million dollar payroll.......even if they scaled that back to 60 million they would have made 60 million!

The bottom line is the entire FO has to go. From Lincoln all the way down to the marketing team.

I am tired of being treated like a Disneyland tourist when I go to watch my hometown team in our home ballpark.

It honestly makes me miss the Kingdome, because you know people were there for baseball and not videogames in the bullpen market.

Hooty McBoob said...

I don't think you need to go that crazy, millcreek. There are some really good people in the Mariners front office. However, the baseball ops group needs a serious shakeup - and I've felt for a long time that Chuck Armstrong needs to be replaced. He oversees the whole operation but is only really hands-on with baseball ops. Bavasi has done a horrible job, plain and simple. He has to go and the major league roster needs an overhaul.

If you want no frills baseball, go a few more miles south and watch the Rainiers - but don't blame the M's for making an event out of a trip to the ballpark. When the team on the field stinks, the only other selling point is the atmosphere and SAFECO Field has a good one. They just need more kissing lesbians and it would be perfect.

KentCoug said...

An empty .300? I have heard that twice recently; once to describe U-bet, and once for Lopez, but am I the only one that thinks Mr. Suzuki is the one hitting an empty .300??

If we are blowing up the M's PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start with Suzuki. As the highest paid and most marketable player on the team, part of your job (like it or not) is to manage the clubhouse and light people up when the are not getting it done. When he came to the team in 2001 there were plenty of people to do that for him. Since they have all gone, it's his responsibility and he has failed miserably. Not to mention the fact that he has the most market value.

BTW, who takes a reliever with your 1st pick in an amatuer draft??
Wait, don't answer that...

Bonehead Bill has got to go!

Sedihawk said...

Welcome back Kent Coug. It's been, like, forever. Hope all is well. Maybe when the sun finally shows up next month we'll pay you a visit>

I don't think Ichi's .300 has been too empty. He did slug .431 and had an OBP of .396 last year playing a premium defensive position. One of the only guys on the team to have an OPS over .800. His 68 rbi from the leadoff spot were his most since the '01 MVP season. I'd love to see him hit down in the order and ditch the slap-n-dash. Everyone says he could hit 20+ HR's if he wanted to.

I have to agree with you on the off the field locker stuff. He's the last guy to lead, and he doesn't even try. Did you know that he often times doesn't even stay in the same hotel as the rest of the team on road trips? And that he'll frequently take a charter plane when they come back to Seattle instead of flying with the team? It's a broken clubhouse, and I bet he's a big reason why.

I also remember David Locke on KJR used to just absolutely RIP him a new one about being the most selfish, all-about-me players he had ever covered in any sport. He said he only cares about 200 hits and absolutely nothing else matters. I remember reading back in 2005, the year he only beat 200 hits by a few and there was a threat of him not making 200, that he was losing sleep and getting physically sick about the 200 hits plateau. Never mind that the team was absolutely BRUTAL that season! It was only about the hits. But whatever. Yesterday's draft only caps off what is a screwed up mess. They have so many issues it is hard to know where to begin, but the fish rots from the head on down. Fire the crystal skull!

KentCoug said...

I'm here everyday, sidewinder, just not posting. You guys do a great job w/o me.

I may have to change the name to MVCoug as we just bought a house in Maple Valley. Once the sun comes out, we'll have all the clowns over to check it out. NO phantoms or upper tankers please Hooty!