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Weekend Mailbag – 07.21.06

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on July 22, 2006

Every week from this day forward, I’ll be answering the inquiries I get during the week, rather than spreading them out over the posts. Keeping them all in one place, seems like a better idea.

Here we go.

Q: Hi Jason, I wondered if you had any info about how seriously the M’s are actually going after Soriano?


c na

A: I don’t believe it is serious at all, in fact I’m not convinced that there was more than a simple introductory phone call made. Nationals Gm Jim Bowden would certainly ask for, and ultimately demand, top talent such as Adam Jones and Jeff Clement, which would likely kill the deal. The Mariners do not appear to be interested in dealing their best two prospects, at least not for a potential rent-a-player, in which Alfonso Soriano would certainly be.

Seattle has been connected to Washington in trade rumors outside the national reports about Soriano. But nothing is likely to happen with the two clubs.

Q: I was trying to find out how Brandon Morrow was doing for us. I saw on the AZL website that he has pitched one inning on 6/22 and nothing else. I also couldn’t find him on any of our minor league websites either. Where is he now?

James Vance

A: He’s still on the rookie league roster, but he had some time off and he’s doing a lot of side work to improve his arm strength and get ready for extended innings. I just spoke to M’s minor league pitching coordinator Pat Rice and he said Morrow should pitch in the next few days down in Arizona.

Q: What is the deal with Anthony Varvaro and what does he throw?

Gerry in Snohomish

A: He’s only tossed a few innings down in Peoria but his recovery is going fine. He’s a little gun-shy about letting it fly, understandably, but there are no lingering medical issues. When healthy, Varvaro sits in the low-90s, touching 94, and has just about every pitch in the book; split-finger, two and four-seam heaters, curve, slider, change.

Rice is working with him on cutting that down to three of the best offerings, as they try to do with all pitchers, unless they command them all well from the start. His role is yet to be determined, but as soon as he’s ready for the workload, he’ll begin his career in the starting rotation.

Q: Hey, Jason. I really like your site, I appreciate it very much. My question is about the M’s minor league ballparks. They all seem to be good to our pitchers while the road parks tend to be very, well, rude. Why is that?


A: Thanks for the kind words, Jon. With the exception of the two short-season clubs (Peoria and Everett) the M’s ballparks do favor the pitcher at every step. Wolff Stadium in Class AA San Antonio is among the top few most stingy ballparks in all of baseball in which to hit home runs. The Mariners like that fact, however, as it helps young pitchers along with confidence, to where they can actually work on getting better every time out, rather than worrying so much about a routine fly ball leaving the yard, such as it is in most parks in the Class A California League, though, naturally, Inland Empire plays in a park that slightly favors the pitcher.
It also gets hitters ready for Safeco Field, a notorious hitters park, especially to left and left-center field.

Q: Would you trade Adrian Beltre AND Richie Sexson this month without getting equal bats in return?

A: Many things can equal a good trade, so yes, I would. If a team wanted to take on all or most of Beltre’s contract, I’d jump all over it, regardless of Sexson’s situation. It’s not hard to find a 3B to slug .400, and while Beltre’s defense is pretty darned good, I’d rather have an average defender at the hot corner with a better bat.

As for Richie, well, I’d have to have another deal in place before I’d trade him without some sort of offensive value coming back. if I knew I had a deal in place for Sexson, I’d be scouring the league for a younger version of Sexson, at worst. Pat Burrell, perhaps, or better yet, a cheaper lefty stick.. Even if the contract is nearly as bad. But Sexson is producing, so for the record, I wouldn’t trade him for nothing.


59 Responses to “Weekend Mailbag – 07.21.06”

  1. Willmore said

    Jason, there are only 4 3rd basemen in the AL who have a higher slugging percentage than Beltre on the road. And all of them are righties. Can you really expect to find someone who will be better at Safeco than Beltre ?

  2. Not at Safeco, but in general, YES, and the key is, for a whole hell of a lot less money.

  3. Willmore said

    By the way, what a start by Blackley. 8.2 innings, 4 hits, 0ER, 9 strikeouts. Why was he pulled just short of the complete game ?

  4. he was tired, and over his pitch limit.

  5. Willmore said

    Jason, but how many 3rd baseman can post an .837 OPS away from Safeco ? Not many, I would guess.

    Beltre’s problem is 100% mental. He has 18 doubles in 185 ABs away from Safeco, and only 7 doubles in 186 ABs at Safeco. Safeco’s dimensions should only help doubles. Once he stops trying to homer in every at bat with a man on base, he’ll do great. He needs to realize that the way to hit home runs is not by hitting a fly ball as high and as far as possible, though that is one way, but by hitting every ball hard to wherever the pitcher allows you. If it’s a low and outside fastball, slap it to right field, if it’s high and inside, go ahead and pull it to your heart’s content.

    There’s nothing wrong with him physically, and I think we can afford to keep him another year. His value can still rise.

  6. Willmore said

    And about Blackley, I checked the log, and he actually got 3 outs in the ninth, but a passed ball prevented the strikeout to end the game. Fantastic performance for Blackley, and just what was needed to rebound from some of his recent starts.

  7. Willmore said

    Also, some great news for Sexson, Beltre, Lopez et. al. There are more games away from Safeco than at home the rest of the way 🙂

  8. Dude, get over it… Beltre is an albatross. Would you rather pay Beltre 13 mil per to slug .400 OVERALL or someone else half that, or even less?

    Thank you, drive thru, please.

  9. Willmore said






    Those are year-to-year stats of our 3rd basemen at Safeco before Beltre.
    We’ve had cheaper options, and they stunk. Except for Bell’s ’01, when he was protected like Cheney, we have had no offense at 3rd. Beltre, at least, is not a giant hole in the lineup. His .731 OPS isn’t great, but it’s adequate.
    Give me an option of who you want at 3rd base, and if it’s cheaper and provides similar offense, I will be behind you on that person. I don’t see an option. Lopez at 3rd would be great, but who would you put at 2nd, and why would you ? Lopez is doing great at 2nd and is providing offense there.

    I think that Chipper Jones might do better at 3rd, but he’s in the NL, expensive and probably unavailable. I think that A-Rod would be great. I think that Chavez would do fine. But they aren’t coming to Seattle. Beltre is as good as we can expect, and if it costs us 12 mil a year, so be it. We are not Tampa to sacrifice performance to save a few bucks.

  10. Willmore said

    minor correction: the stats are OVERALL, the Safeco comment is a time-frame, not a split.

  11. Dude, what part of “13 mil per year” do you not understand?

    The M’s didn’t pay any of those other guys 13 mil… Only Cirillo made any money at all of the regulars (Spiezio wasnt a regular).

    Get Beltre out of here, toss in a similar bat at far less cost and it’s a net gain.

  12. Goose said

    Speaking of Mariner third basemen, did you know that in the last 10 years, we have had ONE full time third basemen put up an OPS of .800 or better?

    Russ Davis put up a .805 OPS in 1997.


  13. Willmore said

    I understand your point, I just think that despite Beltre’s unsatisfactory performance when compared to expectations and salary, he has done adequately for us. He’s not worth 12 mil, never was, likely never will be, but he is our best option at 3rd. I doubt you’ll xhange your mind, so let’s agree to disagree, as usual.

  14. Willmore said

    Goose, haven’t you heard ? It’s the curse of Bill Stein.

  15. Beltre has not been adequate at all.

    He’s been a disappointment. The money counts, so you can’t just throw it out and say he’s been average.

  16. SethGrandpa said

    Why does ANYONE think we should keep Beltre. What has he proved to you people? If he was making 5 million, I could MAYBE understand it, but he’s not…he’s making 13 million!!!

    After looking at message boards and blog posts over the past week I swear that the Mariners have some of THE most dilusional fans in all of baseball.

    I’m not trying to attack some of you guys, but come on!!! Use some common sense. That’s all I ask.

  17. I’m with ya Seth.

    If the M’s can shed salary, Beltre isn’t hard to replace offensively, and overall, the club can get better with that payroll space.

  18. WAB said

    I have a hard time believing that he’ll be dealt anytime soon, anyways. We’re still winning 2, losing 2, winning 2…

  19. Beltre’s trade status does NOT hinge on wins and losses, however.

  20. DIQ said

    With all these rumors flying around that AsCab trade looks sweeter and sweeter…..

  21. Cabrera wouldn’t have been ready for another year and a half minimum anyways.

    He was a nice player with a 60 ceiling, but Perez is helping this club when he gets to play.

  22. WAB said

    Hmmmm…that’d sure be a huge shakeup. I just don’t like the sound of it, especially when you consider how inconsistent and unstable this team can be. I’d much rather wait ’til the offseason and then trade him back to the NL. But, if it has to be done now, it has to be done.

    BTW Jason, hearing anything in terms of interest in a LH platoon bat for the DH spot?

  23. Yeah, his name is Chris Snelling.

    When they club is ready to bench Everett or DFA the goon, Snelling is the guy.

  24. Edman said

    Why is the money Beltre’s paid, important to his production?

    It relates to value, sure. But, he gets paid either way, and the M’s are paying, either way. Even if they trade him, chances are they’d have to include a large chunk of money.

    So, just when he’s starting to produce, we should trade him away? We begin a search, once again, for a productive bat. We give someone else money to let him play.

    Forget the money…….that’s history at this point…..and we’re not going to find a team willing to help us out of a bad contract. So, you live with it.

    If Adrian hits around 20 HR, drives in 80, steals 25 bases and hits near .280……I’d be happy. I wouldn’t be elated, but at least he wouldn’t be a big vacuum in the lineup.

  25. I dont believe that of he gets traded, the M’s are paying everything. Because if he gets dealt, it’ll mean the M’s found a team willing to take on a rather large sum of the contract.

    Right now, the M’s need to ride out his recent success. He’s been hitting. Let him hit.

  26. Willmore said

    Edman agrees with me. That settles it, I was wrong. Jason, you’re right, Beltre is a bum.

  27. fertfert said

    Hey, Jason, do you think Atchison is ready for a return to the majors? I know he wasn’t incredibly effective in his stint here, but I think he could at least shore up our bullpen, especially if he somehow replaces Mateo. What’s the report from Tacoma on him?

  28. Re: Beltre

    The choices are;

    Trade him, save SOME of the 13 mil, and believe me if they deal him, it’ll be with the acquiring club taking on about 70% or more, and adding a league average 2B or 3B in his place… in salary, offense and defensive performance.

    Lopez could move to third, where I’ve said all along his physical skills fit best.

    re: Atch

    The org isn’t really high on him anymore, but I think if he’s healthy 100%, he would outpitch Mateo any day of the week.

    The next relief arm in the minors to get a shot is probably going to be from AA again.

  29. Willmore said

    On a road to Seattle via Arizona:

    Morrow: 1 inning, 2 walks, 1 SO. 😦
    Tillamn: 1 inning, 2 SO. 🙂
    Nageotte: 2 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 SO … 🙂 or 😦 ?

  30. Willmore said

    So … Michael Wilson … Tacoma a-calling ? When Snelling gets the call, who is called up, Wlad or Wilson ? Wilson has shown, IMO, that he can hit AA pitching, while Wlad is only starting to show it. What do you think, Jason ? How is he doing against lefties/righties ?

  31. WAB said

    Yea, I was just wondering because Snelling seems to have fallen off a bit…last I checked his avg was down to around .250. But, I suppose if he’s seen as an MLB hitter already, it wouldn’t really matter what he’s doing in T-town.

    Regardless, Everett needs to go…I’ll be happy with Greg Freakin’ Dobbs even.

  32. Goose said

    Check out Dave Cameron’s latest post on Beltre. Very interesting numbers.

    If you take out April, he’s hitting .286/.341/.472 on the season. Which is pretty much what we expected from him when we got him, minus some power.

  33. I think Snelling is bored… and pissed.

    If I were calling up an outfielder from AA I’d send for Wilson.

    Wlad is younger and has more time… and is probably more likely to have his development detoured if he’s rushed…

    Plus, he’s the better prospect still, thought it’s close. I just think Wilson has a better chance to hit right away in AAA.

    Vs. RHP
    Wlad – .259/.354/.481 in 256 AB
    Wilson (AA) – .318/.410/.549 in 83 AB

    Vs. LHP
    Wlad – .277/.344/.543 in 63 AB
    Wilson – .421/.450/.842 in 19 AB

  34. BTW, did I deliver on the Morrow news or what?

    I said he was probably going to throw in the next day or two, and voila! He goes an inning within 24 hours.

  35. Re: Beltre

    Look at his HOME splits since May 14…


    I’d take that in a heartbeat.

    April and early May killed his numbers. Sexson, too.

  36. AK1984 said

    Is Roberto Petagine on the Tacoma Rainiers? If he’s a part of the roster, then the Rainiers have 24 players on it; the Pacific Coast League, from what I can recall, has a roster limit of 23 players per team.

    In other news, I’m glad that Clint Nageotte, Jorge Campillo, Renee Cortez, and Jose Morban are rehabbing down in Peoria. In any case, it’d be nice to see them playing for the Tacoma Rainiers; it’d also be nice if the Seattle Mariners organization ridded the Rainiers of non-prospects such as Scott Atchison, Aaron Looper, Justin Huisman, and Scott Youngbauer.

  37. Morban has no business in Tacoma.

    And Triple-A has a roster limit of 24, not 23.

  38. Wade said

    I think Adrian has turned the corner. He seems to be having fun now and is not swinging at so many crappy pitches and is covering them when he does.

    I’d love to see him keep it up in the 3 spot once Jose get’s back.

    And props to Hargrove for avtually getting Perez some PT – amazing how a guy who smokes lefties can contribute when you let him.

    I think the time is not to cut bait on Everett… get Chris up here and complete the transition.

  39. Allen Jacobs said

    Jason – you mentioned the next bullpen callup would likely be from AA. Blackley, James or Kahn?

    Agree with your guess that Snelling may have the wind taken out of his sails. What is Bavasi waiting for? C Rex is hitting in the .220’s and is on the verge of collecting his vesting option. Of all the poor decisions Bavasi has made this is really puzzling.

  40. Edman said

    Is Snelling is pissed, and letting affect his play, he’s only doing himself harm. If he’s too stupid to realize NOW is when he should be turning it up, then he’s not ever gonna get here. Seattle is likely to be making some changes. Pissing away opportunity, is stupid. At the very least, he could be getting himself onto someone’s roster, via trade.

    Just like Livingston, I have no stomache for guys who take a little adversity, and dwell on it. Life in the majors isn’t going to get any easier. One thing Piniella got right was that you can’t coddle kids. I agree, that you have to nurture. But, having to tip-toe around their fragile egos in a game that’s ALL about failure….or at least, those who fail less than others.

    It’s a tough game, and only those who can tough it out, survive.

    Plain and simple….Snelling is the only one who controls his fate, ATM. He plays well, somebody will want him….even if it isn’t Seattle.

    Personally, I just don’t think he’s hitting well at the moment, but it’s a lot more acceptible for some, if he’s got an excuse as to why he’s not living up to his myth status.

    I love the kid, he’s got a ton of talent. Where I separate myself, is unlike most, I don’t believe he’s a savior. Many kids with stats just as good, have never made it to be even a mediocre major leaguer.

    Only thing he’s a guarantee of, is that he’s got a fighting chance…..nothing more.

  41. Willmore said

    Allen, I would think that the list is more like: RRS, James, O’Flaherty.

  42. Willmore said

    With RRS the favourite because he’s more experienced and a lefty. Though O’Flaherty might get the nod because he has more experience this year, and RRS is off of an injury.

  43. KB said

    Yeah, O’Flaherty is a good bet, as Kahn probably needs more time to adjust.

  44. G-- said

    If team is willing to take Beltre and pick up 70% of his salary, the question becomes, is Beltre worth 9.1 mil per?
    IMO, I don’t think we can afford to lose him at this point of the season. If his market value now is 9.1, the 13 mill is a SUNK cost and thus irrevlant to the decision.

  45. jhelfgott said

    “Many kids with stats just as good, have never made it to be even a mediocre major leaguer.”

    Name some – and go beyond AVG/OBP/SLG. Look at contact rate, plate discipline, XBH%, things with predictive value.
    And take scouting reports into account, too. A lead-footed 1B with negative defensive value and a long swing doesn’t count.

  46. Lee said

    Ryan Anderson? Ben McDonald?

  47. Willmore said

    Lee, jhelfgott is talking about hitters.

  48. jhelfgott said

    I think you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who agrees that two pitchers whose careers were ended by arm troubles are comps for Snelling.

    Fun little study: Snelling’s top 10 PECOTA comps, and their career OPS+:

    1. Jeremy Giambi: 112
    2. Rusty Staub: 124
    3. Bruce Bochte: 113
    4. Wade Boggs: 130
    5. Doug Rader: 105
    6. Richie Hebner: 119
    7. Bobby Brown: 100
    8. Mark Grace: 119
    9. Bill Madlock: 123
    10. Keith Hernandez: 129

    Those are the 10 guys in the entire history of baseball whose statistical and physical profiles most closely resemble Snelling’s. They range from exactly league average to 30% better than league average.

    If Chris Snelling stays healthy, he will hit in the majors.

  49. Scruffy Lefty said

    RE: Edman

    “One thing Piniella got right was that you can’t coddle kids.”

    Another thing Piniella did was call up Snelling when he was 20 because he could rake

  50. Willmore said

    the leaves in Piniella’s back yard.

  51. Lee said

    I’m aware that we’re talking about hitters. Just bringing up a few examples of well-regarded prospects who didn’t pan out to remind everyone that projections are just that: projections.

    For what it’s worth, McDonald didn’t have arm trouble until very late in his career, well after he had failed to live up to expectations.

  52. Edman said

    If Chris Snelling stays healthy, he will hit in the majors.

    He better start hitting AAA pitching, or he’ll never get the chance to prove you right.

    I love Snelling as a player, but, if he’s mopping around letting his game slide…….then, he’s only hurting himself. No team is going to promote a player who puts himself into a funk. MLB is hard, and if you don’t have the drive to do whatever it takes to get there……you never will.

    He’s running out of time.

  53. DIQ said

    Who says his moping around?

    He got off to a slow start. He has nothing left to prove in the minors.

  54. jhelfgott said

    Lee: If your point is that prospects often fail, all I can say is: duh. You even could have done better with examples than 2 pitchers with dynamite stuff whose careers were ended by horrible arm injuries.

    Edman: Snelling´s had one bad month in Tacoma. He hit .301/.391/.507 in June.

    60 bad ABs in July, especially when he´s still making solid contact (13Ks, nothing out of the ordinary) and drawing walks (7BB), is pretty far from damning.

  55. KB said

    If anyone’s interested, 3rd-round pick LHP Anthony Butler was promoted to Everett and started yesterday going 4.0 Innings, givings up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 BB’s while striking out 4. He also picked off a man at first.

    Good to see one of the early-rounders finally local so we can check ’em out!

  56. Willmore said

    Hey, Jason, is Garciaparra good enough trade bait for the deadline to warrant some value from other teams ?

  57. johnb said

    Time for a new post Jason, I just can’t stand looking at Lincoln everytime I log on.

  58. OakCreekBall said

    I’ve been watching Tony Butler pitch for 6 years now and it comes to no surprise to me that he has seen success at every level he has competed at. I’ve faced him a couple of times and you just knew the kid was destined for something big. He’s making a lot of people back home happy but we still cringe everytime we think of the Brewers passing on him in the 2nd a couple days after taking him in for a private bullpen workout at Miller Park. He will definitely have the hometown support behind him when he makes it up to Appleton, WI for the Timber Rattlers. You guys will be pleased when he makes it, and I firmly believe he will.

  59. From what i have heard and seen and watched, Butler is a surefire big leaguer… at least as surefire as any lefty starter the M’s have below AA.

    He’s Arthur Rhodes — at worst.

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