The Mariners were 11-11 while Olivo was elsewhere.
Dan Haren was shoving tonight and nobody other than Dustin
Ackley with the lead off hit did well for the Ms. Olivo did not
throw the fat 2-1 change up to Albert Pujols who launched it for a
2-0 lead…Vargas did.
The rest was desultory. The Ms rolled over and died. Olivo boxed
some balls around, Pujols stole second and Trout advanced. Pujols
That’s the deal with him…I want to blame Olivo for the crap
pitch to Pujols too, since its the worst pitch he’s thrown in three
weeks, but that is a reach.
Did I mention some more of the sucky at bats.
For the last month the team has started doing things that good
teams do. Hot games by hitters, great defensive plays, pitching
that is special. Tonight they looked like the crap product that
we’ve watched the past two years.
I get after Geoff Baker a lot, but he’s got a lot of energy and
keeps after it. Below is a piece that sums up what the team is
doing with respect to the rebuild and the ownership. It is spot
My word of the day is obdurate. “Hardened in wrongdoing.
I think it captures the efforts of the Mariner leadership:
Armstrong and Lincoln.
Mariners avoid making Chone Figgins call, but can’t keep
doing nothing with him
Posted by Geoff Baker
Casper Wells looks to be off to Class AAA in an announcement
the Mariners will likely make within the next couple of hours.
Miguel Olivo is on his way back off the disabled list and will
likely be in uniform tonight, especially with the team’s backup
catcher, John Jaso, still sore from the other night.
But the Mariners are still not doing anything with Chone
Figgins. And that can’t go on indefinitely. Not at the price of
young players who are supposed to factor in to this ongoing
The M’s could have kept Wells in the majors and simply
designated Figgins for assignment. In that case, they would have
had 10 days to outright him to the minors (which he’d likely refuse
and opt for free agency), trade him or release him.
That the Mariners are not willing to part with a player they
are on-the-hook to just under $16 million in remaining money is
understandable. You can’t blame any team or general manager for not
wanting to swallow that kind of cash. No matter how many good moves
Jack Zduriencik makes, once he swallows $16 million with 1 2/3
seasons to go on any player’s contract, that will offset three or
four future positive things the GM might do.
That’s how ownership views these types of losses.
So, no. You can’t blame the team for refusing to cut the
Figgins cord just yet.
What you can blame the M’s for, as I mentioned on Sports
Radio KJR in my one-hour special last night, is continuing with the
They have given six plate appearances to Figgins since May
3. One long game’s worth of PAs in three weeks.
If the object is to recoup some value for Figgins, how do
they plan to do that when they aren’t playing him? That’s what you
can blame the team and the GM for. For doing nothing and making
others pay for it.
Photo Credit: AP
There isn’t much middle ground here. You’re either keeping
Figgins around because you need him, or because you want to trade
In either case, sitting Figgins on an almost-permanent basis
satisfies neither need.
There are probably still teams out there that value the
skillset Figgins brings to the table as well as his versatility.
They just don’t value it at $16 million.
Maybe the magic number is $1 million. Maybe $2
Maybe there’s some team out there that figures that type of
money is worth the gamble in hoping that they can fix whatever has
been ailing Figgins and his game since 2010.
If those teams are out there, let them step up and name
their price. And let the Mariners pay it and move on.
Otherwise, waiting around while Figgins takes up a roster
spot does nothing.
The Mariners clearly don’t need Figgins on the field. They
needed him the past month when Miguel Olivo went down and left the
team short yet another right-handed bat. Did they play Figgins and
use his switch-hitting ability from the right side? No.
They played Wells instead.
So, if they value Wells and his bat more than Figgins, why
is Wells going? Sure, he has Class AAA options left and I’ve always
said, in a tough choice situation, there’s a reason they call them
You don’t want to part with a guy forever if you can part
with another guy temporarily.
But that’s only for tough calls. This call isn’t really that
tough. It is tough for financial reasons, but again, if the
Mariners don’t plan on doing anything to improve the trade value
Figgins currently has, why are they keeping him around?
For his good looks? For his sage advice? Players who aren’t
good enough to play for a team are not the ones other players seek
out for advice. The whole veteran leadership thing only works when
you’re actually contributing to something on the field. Otherwise,
you’re what’s known as a “coach” and paid a lot less than $16
million over 1 2/3 seasons.
So, if we can be critical of the M’s here, it’s for being
stubborn in their refusal to admit the obvious.
They don’t think Figgins is good enough to play for them
more than six plate appearances in three weeks, even with a
shortage of right-handed hitting options.
They aren’t doing anything that’s going to increase his
trade value, like playing him so his attrocious numbers can improve
and his reputation can be restored.
And yet, they just sent down a guy they’d been opting to
play instead of Figgins in occasional games against left-handed
Just curious, if that first inning flyball Wells hit on
Tuesday had traveled two more feet for a grand slam, would he have
stayed in the majors?
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said prior to that game that
he’d like to see Wells do a better job of hitting left-handed
pitching. Given the .233 batting average Wells had versus southpaws
at the time, it was a fair statement. What wasn’t so fair was the
lack of context in noting that Wells had barely played to that
point. How’s he supposed to hit anybody if he’s only getting into
one game per week?
In the end, that last point by me is probably the excuse the
M’s will use to justify demoting Wells. That he wasn’t playing
enough. That it was hurting his development. That’s a bunch of
poppycock. I’m all for young players earning their playing time and
being forced to make do with the scraps they get, but I can’t shake
the feeling that this decision had nothing to do with
That it has everything to do with just under $16 million
owed to Figgins.
And this is why fans get confused and eagle-eyed media
members get confused as well when teams state that it is about
youth and rebuilding. Because for the 2012 Mariners, it isn’t so
much about that as it is shedding the contracts of pricey players
and then figuring out when they’re going to seriously start trying
to contend again.
If the whole rebuilding thing goes well for a couple of
guys…hey, man, bonus!
But if not, this rebuilding plan stuff allows the Mariners
to tread financial water, keep expenses in-line with declining
attendance revenues and simply wait a few years to either sell to
another owner, or gain a huge cash influx for the current owner
from an updated TV deal. And in the meantime, Ichiro’s contract
runs out. And the Figgins contract gets resolved. Then, the
Franklin Gutierrez deal (which the M’s no doubt regret) goes by the
wayside as well after 2013. Last year, it was about getting Milton
Bradley and Jack Wilson off the books.
All about the Benjamins, as Puff Daddy once sang.
And right now, this Figgins stuff trumps player
The “plan” seems to be to wait for the trade deadline, let
the contract dwindle a little more and then see whether somebody
gets hurt and a team becomes desperate enough to fork a few
seven-figure bills Seattle’s way to eat a small percentage of the
I don’t like it. You don’t like it. I doubt Zduriencik truly
likes it (even if eating the deal right now will cost him big
political points upstairs). And I guarantee you Figgins doesn’t
Figgins wants to play. The Mariners won’t play him. And they
won’t let him go.
And so, the biggest mistake of Zduriencik’s tenure with
Seattle keeps getting magnified while others pay the