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Washburn-Mania!! Thursday, July 31, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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Who knew that sitting quietly on his thumbs all year long was a potential 2008 Trade Deadline Frenzy-Fest Player of the Year in lil’ Jarrod Washburn? I’d spend a lot of time on this: grabbing all the latest links, keeping up on the latest rumors, but what’s the point, really? MLBTradeRumors.com is a superior site. I can admit that. Dierkes is all over this stuff. So, rather than be one of those blogs that just reprints all his stuff, check out the only true source for the most actually up-to-date info on these things. Here’s a direct link for today’s Washburn rumors as they came in this morning, or keep monitoring the Mariners Rumor page tomorrow morning for the latest scoop.

So what’s the synopsis on this? What will happen? What’s my take on these rambunctious rumors? We’ve got three things that will happen here:

1: A team OTHER THAN the Yankees will nab Washburn tomorrow morning. Why not the Bombers? Because this truly is a game of chicken. The M’s will hold out (unless Bavasi (or his spirit) returns), and the Yankees won’t give any more than they’ve already offered. Why not? This is a George Bush-like stubborness we’re talking here, and it’s about always getting the “better” deal. Have you EVER heard of the Yankees caving in to another squad’s offer? Ever? And even if they were close to caving privately, as soon as it hit the papers that the M’s weren’t cooperating, it GUARANTEED a minimum level of stubborness on the Yankees’ behalf. I’m fairly certain it’s standard operating procedure in all Yankee management contracts.

I see this as the least likely option of the three I will propose here. The White Sox also won’t cave, the Mets won’t cave… the Rockies, as defending NL champs, might…

2: The Yankees will nab Wash before the August deadline. This is also a rare one, as it involves just the tiniest bit of capitulating to demands… No other team will bother dealing with this deadline.

3: It will all be a wash… hehe. I know, cheesy. We’ll make this move in the winter. Looking at the bevy of starting pitchers that will be available (yes, this could be another Gil Meche market), and factoring in that a team must finally back down and give up two viable prospects, we’ll revisit this entire issue then.

You’ll note that there is no number four. And that’s because the option that the M’s will hang on to Washburn, risk another season with him and then grab any possible draft picks at its conclusion won’t happen for one main reason: trigger happiness. Either Pelekoudas will pull it early in a panic and a slurry of Jerry Lewis noises, or whoever the M’s hire will want to run a clean slate and will make a large number of moves this winter to shore up those AA and AAA rosters. The odds that the M’s hold on to him: No chance, nada, not gonna happen.


Just for the heck of it, and because I already wrote it, here’s some comments I left on a great Yankee post about this whole deal which might bring enlightenment to those with too much of a… pinstriped perspective.

My initial response:

“‘Basically, the Mariners are going to have to take it or leave it. So, they’ll either accept a salary dump or they’ll eat a substantial portion of Washburn’s contract in order to receive a somewhat “decent” prospect.’

…Or… they don’t do anything at all. I think you and all Yankee fans keep forgetting that they’re the Mariners. They’re perfectly happy sitting on their thumbs and watching the season fall away. It’s not like the M’s can’t afford Wash. I think that Pelekoudas’ thoughts of “something good or no change at all” are the first bright thoughts to cross a Mariner GM’s mind since before the Bavasi era.”

And my second response:

“Now, I’m not saying that Wash is a godsend. He’s barely an MLB starter in my opinion, but I think the national media is overselling the M’s ability to fill a starting 5. Why trade him at all when Rowland-Smith isn’t ready to fill more than 4 innings as a starter, Morrow hasn’t converted yet (and is needed to close with Putz putzing it up this year) and Dickey is just starting to succeed as more than a stop-gap to fill an often-injured rotation.
Bedard’s not going to stop whining for another month, Felix will keep playing ace baseball, Silva can barely pitch four frames himself… I’m just not sure where the M’s are expecting to find more starters to finish this season off, let alone next year. We’re tapped at AAA thanks to that massive Bedard cleanout.
I don’t disagree with your point that Washburn is hightly overrated here, or that his trade value is indeed at its peak. I just question the reasoning for the M’s making a move at all. How does saving a few million bucks or picking up a mediocre prospect improve the Mariners for now OR the future? Don’t forget that they cleared 115 million this year. Even overpaid, Wash may be worth the money just because we have no one else! There’s M’s management for you… always planning ahead.”

Riggleman Channels McLaren Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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Okay, folks. I’ll make this short. We lost tonight, in an 10-11 bloodbath, and in one of the most bizarre decisions of the year, Riggleman had Jarrod Washburn pinch run for Johjima after he got beaned in the 9th. Now, did this decision help us score 2 runs in the top of the 9th to take the lead and give us a win until Putz blew it in the bottom of the frame? Yes. But what the heck? Our usual runners had already played: Cairo, Reed, and Willie. We were down to three choices on the bench: Vidro, Clement or… Washburn?

Asked after the game about the decision, McLaren glossed over it, stating that Clement was too slow and Vidro’s back and neck have been too tight to be useful. Now, I won’t get started on the usual Vidro banter I tend to fly into, but I will address Clement. Too slow? What the heck? As opposed to using a guy who doesn’t take regular baserunning practice? As opposed to using a guy who is being actively pursued by the Yankees less than 48 hours before the trade deadline? As opposed to using one of the few effective starting pitchers we have in a situation where his injury at the plate could have cost him the season? This has to go down as one of the most boneheaded calls in the history of this awful 2008 season. Note that I did not declare it the “most boneheaded.” It’s simply in the running with about 15-20 other decisions, all made under McLaren’s rule.

Why Riggleman, have you foresaken us? You’re just lucky that Wash didn’t get hurt. If he had, you could have kissed even the most remote chances of coaching next year goodbye.

Ichiro Nears 3,000 Career Hits: And Beyond? Monday, July 28, 2008

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Now, there are many out there who are sticking up their noses as Ichiro nears 3,000 hits as a professional baseball player, because 1,278 happened in Japan, which to most is as part of an inferior baseball organization. In the same way that Sadaharu Oh’s 868 homeruns are not seen as “true” stats, Ichiro’s achievements are being thrown to the wolves. And… I have to admit, it’s easier to suceed in Japan. Oh’s homeruns and Ichiro’s first 1200 hits happened in stadiums that are often hitter friendly, with shorter fences and against worse pitchers than in the MLB. But, to show just how amazing Ichiro’s achievement of 3,000 hits will likely be tonight (he’s only 2 away), let’s look at the numbers in Ichiro’s probable future, because in my eyes, that “true” stat of 3,000 hits is only a few, short years away.

Ichiro, as of this morning, is on pace to hit only 199, which would bring an end to his current record of 7 years in a row with 200 or more hits. Assuming he does indeed finish with 199 hits, Ichiro will have averaged 224 hits a season over 8 seasons. Now, of course, that average is likely to decrease over time for a bevy of reasons: Ichiro’s age, the possibility of him becoming a 3-hitter rather than leadoff, etc. I’m going to stick with that 224 number just for the sake of these estimates, but we can probably look at these numbers as a probable max for Ichiro’s career numbers as far as hits are concerned. So broadcasting 224 hits, and assuming he hits 199 hits this year, let’s see when Ichiro should hit 3,000 hits in the MLB alone (although I’ll include his Japanese number beside it in parenthesis).

At the close of the 2009 Season: 2,015 hits (3,293 Japan+MLB)

2010: 2,239 (3,517)

2011: 2,463 (3,741)

2012: 2,687 (3965)

2013: 2,911 (4,189)

2014: 3,135 (4,413)

So there you have it. In 2014, a mere six seasons away, and a year where Ichiro will play at 40 years old, he will crack 3,000 MLB hits and finish 19th on the all-time hits record list just 6 hits shy of Tony Gwynn. I think what could be really interesting about that season, though, is that when he gets his 3,000th MLB hit, he will also gain his 4,278th career hit, which will beat Pete Rose’s all-time hit record by 22. What a couple weeks that could be! I can hear the fuming debates already.

For those of you who were curious, here’s the near impossible forecast of Ichiro continuing to play into his forties (at this unbelievable average of 224 hits a season).

2015: 3,359 9th all-time

2016: 3,583 5th all-time

2017: 3,807 3rd all-time

2018: 4,031

2019: 4,255 One hit short of Pete Rose

2020: 4,479

So there you are. If Ichiro stays on this unbelievable pace, he will break Pete Rose’s record of MLB hits on the second hit of the 2020 season. He will be 46 years old. And if he stays in as amazing shape as he has been so far and keeps avoiding injury year after year, this becomes more of a possibility and less of a pipe dream. But let’s remember that this is his MAX potential. Achieving beyond this rate would be impossible. Oh, and he’ll finish the 2020 season with 5,757 career hits.

Now that’s something to smile about.

5,000 Games, Any Improvement? Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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Evidently the Mariners completed their five thousandth game this afternoon. They also lost their 2,644th game (or so… my quick addition didn’t end up adding to 5,000 with these stats, but trust me, reputable sources like CBS Sports and MLB wouldn’t steer me wrong). Before I get to our current season numbers, let’s check out the percentages by decade.

The 2000’s to date: 729-667 .550

The 1990’s: 764-787 .490

The 80’s: 673-893 .430

And… the three years of Mariner baseball in the 70’s: 187-297 .390

Looks like improvement to me, no?

But season by season, our current 38-63 (.376) isn’t quite as wonderful. Even though we’re still a couple more losing series away from that dismal 56-104 (.350) season of 1978, at .376, we’re the third lowest in Mariner history (second is .364 (59-103). And yes, if you were curious, we are on pace to lose 100 games, 101 actually, which has happened only three times previously.

Check out the history of our wonderful organization here thanks to my good friends at baseball-reference.com