A Tough Week on the Waiver Wire

By Blaidd Drwg

It has been a bad couple of weeks for former Mariners. The transaction wire is just full of bad news:

June 25th – Washington National – Designated 1B/3B Greg Dobbs for assignment.

June 21st – LA Angels – Requested waivers on OF Raul Ibanez for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release

June 20th – Arizona Diamondbacks – Designated RHP J.J. Putz for assignment.

Raise your hand if you had any idea that Greg Dobbs was still in the majors. JJ Putz, at age 37, suddenly could not get a MLB hitter out, posting a 6.59 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in just 13 innings. I am pretty sure that someone will sign him once he clears waivers since the D’backs are on the hook for the roughly 7 million they owe him for this season. It wouldn’t be a bad risk to take, especially if he suddenly becomes effective again.

I thought Ibanez, despite the good month and a half he had last year, was done and I was confused why the Angles signed him and expected him to be more than a bench guy. I always had a healthy respect for Raul and Dave Schoenfield wrote a nice tribute to him here. If Raul is really done (and I hope he realizes he is done), he should sign a 1 day contract with the M’s, retire and get to throw out the first pitch sometime before the season ends.

How Not to Throw a Baseball

By Blaidd Drwg

I do like Raul Ibanez, he has had a decent career and seems like a genuinely nice guy. He is, however, a horrible fielder. Teams have been taking extra bases on him all season because of his terrible arm and he really should be playing DH at this point. The August 6th game against the Blue Jays may have been a new low for his defense. In case you have not seen it, this is just embarrassing:

Edit: It was a bad day for posting videos. Here is the link since the original isn’t working anymore: http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=29489041

To Trade or Not To Trade, That is the Question

By Blaidd Drwg

We are just days away from the trading deadline and the question for teams on the fringe of contention is “to sell or not to sell?” Basically, do we trade our fringy marginal veterans to a team in contention for something more than a bag of warm peanuts.

The Mariners are one of those teams; they currently sit 11 games back of the A’s for the division lead and 8.5 games back of Baltimore for the wild card. While teams have come back from further out, the odds are highly unlikely (ESPN has the M’s playoff chances as 1.1%). Considering a heavily negative run differential – only two teams have a worse differential in the AL: Houston and Chicago, I think it is time to sell. What do the Mariners have to sell though? Really not a ton. You don’t want to move any of your young guys, so Ackley, Ramirez, Franklin, Miller, Zunino, Smoak, Seager and Saunders are off the table. Felix is pretty much untradeable because of his contract. So who does that leave? Here are the most likely candidates:

Kendrys Morales – he is a free agent at the end of the season, so he is a likely candidate. He is having a good, not great season and plays marginal defense, which probably means he heads to an AL team as a DH. I would guess he is going to end up in Tampa, Cleveland or New York and they will probably be able to get major league ready talent for him.

Raul Ibanez – he seems to have found the fountain of youth, but he is 41 and I doubt that he can sustain his home run prowess for too much longer. He is a terrible defender and teams constantly take advantage of his weak arm. His defense is so bad, that he has virtually negated his offensive WAR value – baseball-reference.com has him at 2.2 oWAR and -1.5 dWAR. He is a nice story but not a long-term benefit to the team. This is the classic case of buy low-sell high. His likely destination is the same list as Morales.

Brendan Ryan – he can’t hit but he does have great value as a late-inning defensive replacement, so the M’s could probably flip him for a grade-C prospect at this point.

Endy Chavez – He can neither hit nor field and is at best a 4th OFer, but he keeps sticking around the majors for no good reason. The M’s can probably get a warm body for him.

Joe Saunders/Aaron Harang – they are both the kind of pitchers that tend to get traded at the deadline; back of the rotation guys who teams are willing to overpay for because they want a veteran back of the rotation guy down the stretch run.

The Entire Bullpen – yep, I would move any of these guys because, frankly, relievers are a fungible commodity, but your most likely candidates are Oliver Perez (love those lefties) and Tom Wilhelmsen.

Buster Onley seems to disagree:

The chief officers of those franchises must assess what surrendering in July would signal to the fan bases, because once the Royals trade Ervin Santana, or the Mariners trade Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales, that means they’re telling their fans that they’re willing to give up any chance of a comeback, and they’ll see the evidence in the attendance.

Teams that sell off in July are telling their customer base: We don’t have any chance.

That’s a hard thing to sell for the Royals, who haven’t been in a postseason since 1985, or the Mariners, who have been almost irrelevant for the past decade and seem to be building something in the past month. Keep that in mind over the next six days, as you scratch your head about some decisions that confuse you.

Well, I am not sure that you would actually see it in the Mariners attendance if they traded any of their veterans. Let’s face it, people are not coming out to the park to see Raul Ibanez or Kendrys Morales and you are not going to get an attendance boost because Saunders or Harang are on the mound (but you probably would get a boost from their potential replacements on the mound – Taijuan Walker or Danny Hultzen). I don’t necessarily trust the Mariners attendance figures, since they go by tickets sold and not butts in the seats (and there are a good number of season ticket holders that don’t show up for the game) but they haven’t exactly been going gangbusters with their attendance, drawing just a shade under 22,000 per game and they have yet to sell out a game this season (although I do believe they have officially sold out the game on August 10th). Heck, they never topped 26,000 in any game against the Red Sox in July, and the majority of fans in attendance that series were in Red Sox gear. Here is a nice scatter chart of their attendance this season:

It has been a while since we have had a graph on the blog.
It has been a while since we have had a graph on the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you care, here is what the attendance looks like based on the day of the week:

Day of the Week Avg Attendance
Sunday 25,613
Monday 19,640
Tuesday 14,853
Wednesday 17,475
Thursday 19,160
Friday 24,538
Saturday 30,814

What will cause the attendance to decline isn’t the team signaling it has given up, it is the same thing that it is every year – the team just isn’t that good and will fall completely out of contention, meaning that 5,000 people will show up for the weeknight games in September.

A Seattle Send-off for Mo

By Blaidd Drwg

What looking down the barrel of a loaded gun is like.
What looking down the barrel of a loaded gun is like.

It is somewhat rare for a player to call it a career while still performing at a high level. Mariano Rivera is a player who is doing just that. Mo is hanging it up after the season. He is going to be 44 in November and has decided it is time to spend more time with his family. Mo should end up his career with 1100+ appearances, 650+ saves, an ERA around 2.25 and a WHIP around 1, not to mention that he is arguably the greatest post season pitcher in MLB history. In 2018, you should be hearing Mariano Rivera’s name called at the podium in Cooperstown.

How good has Mo been in his age 43 season? How about 28 saves, 8.3 K/9 Innings, 4.83 K/BB ratio and a 1.44 ERA. Granted, his WHIP is 1.21 (which would be the highest of his career as a closer), but the guy is still one of a handful of guys I would want on the mound with the game on the line.

A few weeks ago, the Yankees were in town for their only time this season. Mo entered the game in the bottom of the 9th on the last game of the series, giving everyone one last chance to see him. This fact was not lost on several people sitting in my section – people who are Mariners season ticket holder and fans. There were several of us who gave Mo a standing ovation as he entered into the game, giving him the proper recognition he deserves. I couldn’t possibly dislike any team more than the Yankees, but Rivera has been something special for the better part of 2 decades and that needs to be recognized.

I decided to snap the picture in this post, trying to catch the delivery. The batter? Another old geezer – Raul Ibanez who is also north of 40. It is not every day in baseball that you get to see 2 40 year olds square off at the plate.