Steady Hand at the Tiller
Stay rational, Capt. Jack


Q.  Can the ballclub afford to let Mike Zunino "hit" like a pitcher?  It basically gives the other team the DH.

A.  It really can't.  Then again, Mike Zunino doesn't hit like a pitcher.


Q.  Would Dr. D replace Dustin Ackley?  Logan Morrison?   What would be the best moves?

A.  If you're going to fire an employee, you need to do it after his BEST day, not his worst.  If you're going to file divorce papers*, you need to do it when you're having your best week of the year as a couple.  Then you know it's not an emotional reaction.  

The M's just got throttled by a meatball, shut out maddeningly for 3 straight hours.  This when even a single run at any time would have put them at .500 and kept them on a 4-game winning streak.  That ain't the time you prefer to make decisions :- ) on playing time.

*Dr. D believes in treating marriage as if you were in a space capsule to Saturn.  You can find a way to get along if you have to.


Major league GM's are not known for making wholesale roster changes on May 1.  That is because they've been there, done that.  Players have slow months.


All that said, none of us will shed any tears if McClendon gives away a lot of the May P.T. for Ackley and LoMo.  Hopes are fading that these two will be impact hitters, so you don't have a lot to lose.

I'd strongly consider swapping out Weeks for Jesus Montero, and giving Montero 50% of Morrison's time.


Q.  Are the M's mathematically likely to give back a lot of the +100* runs differential from 2014?

A.  Dr. D made this argument, but it applied (basically) to (1) the bullpen and (2) Iwakuma plus the young SP's.


Q.  How's the bullpen?

A.  Pre-season, SSI thought they might give back -10 games compared to 2014.  After a month, Dr. D's confidence is restored.

You remember Fernando Rodney got detonated on April 12-14 (?) for 4 runs and 2 runs.  Much debate ensued whether to replace him.  Dr. D smiled benignly.  "Looks like the same guy to me," he sez.  Since then, Rodney has been noticeably better than in 2014.  He's ripped off a long string of 0-walks saves and these saves have been the most routine that Rodney has ever given us.  

Remarkable, but Rodney's age-38 (?) season he looks better than ever.  Well, there have been quite a few elderly closers, Lee Smith and Mariano Rivera and etc.  Apparently Fernando Rodney will be one of them.


Carson Smith was a question mark going in to the season.  He ain't now.  Not much.  With Charlie Furbush that is three stud relievers, two more than most teams have.

You slot down everybody else, Medina and Farquhar etc., and as #4-5 bullpen men they are simply good.  The bullpen's FIP is #3 in the league.  Dr. D's fears are laid to rest, mostly.


The results have been weird, but we trust that you yourselves are smiling about the way Taijuan and K-Pax are evolving.  Both have good FIP's anyway, and that's despite battling themselves early.

So, the "giving runs back from 2014" problem is not a big deal for me. 


Q.  Is Nelson Cruz going to hit 80 homers?

A.  :- )  Yesterday's game was the first time all year that he looked poor in the batter's box.  Apparently April was a hot streak and Cruz will not exceed Hack Wilson's 190 RBI.  But then again, Cruz has always been the Dominican Jay Buhner (swing more; you can't BB your way off the island).  Time for Robinson Cano to take his turn being hot.


Q.  A lot of things have gone wrong and the M's are still around .500.

A.  By a lot of things you might mean:

  • Mike Zunino having by far the worst month of his career
  • Logan Morrison OPS'ing 41
  • Taijuan getting blown up (since fixed)
  • K-Pax having an ERA that is twice his FIP (getting fixed)
  • Three or four hiccups in the bullpen
  • Iwakuma on the DL, ERA of 6 plus
  • Dustin Ackley turning out (?) not to be a #2 draft pick
  • Cano and Seager have been mediocre

So with half the ballclub going belly-up, is their record 5-17?

If we had a club full of Jose Vidros and Carlos Silvas, I'd say yeah.  But this is a talented, fungible Stars & Scrubs roster. They've got time to swap parts around and figure it out.


Two things that have looked better than expected:  Brad Miller, and Seth Smith.  Also Justin Ruggiano looks better in the box than we feared he might, but he hath not attained to the first two.  

Cheap at twice the price, babe.  Gimme a handful of Scrubs like those and I'll go to war witcha.

See you at the ballpark,

Dr D




Nary a missed note.
In a perfect world we get a tweaked tendon somewhere allowing us a DL stint to splat some AAA spaghetti against the wall.
Sans that Montero for Weeks is a fair way to go.  
Getting Taylor on the roster is a bit more touchy if for no reason than we have a lovey-dovey relationship with Bloomquist.  


It's getting late for Ackley. I'm not sure how much more time they can give him to get it together. Zunino I get. There just aren't any viable alternatives. But Ackley just can't hit at least not consistently and there are some alternatives for his AB's.


But I'm ready to jettison the yearly month of production for some consistency. It's May 2 and College Hitter of the Decade is under the Mendoza line...again. Every step forward is an oasis a brief stop for refreshment before another long trek through the Sahara of futility.
It was sad the way Tony Sipp detonated him with three pitches out of the zone low and away while he flailed at every one each one lower and further out than the one before. We already pay Miller to do that. Yeah even Seager will K on that stuff but we'll get something in the meantime from him.
Kid needs a change of scenery. It ain't happening here and most likely nowhere else. But if it does it's somewhere else.
I'm where Moe was last season. But like Doc says I guess we have to wait until he busts out for a week before we dump him. Maybe we can get something decent in return that way.

GLS's picture

The guy has enough going for him and enough potential that someone will want him. Personally I prefer to stick it out with him but if the Mariners are inclined to go another way I'm sure they can get something for him.

GLS's picture

I'm in no hurry to get rid of Weeks. Weeks has a track record and he's too young to be done. Montero is fine where he is. Let's see if he can sustain down there for at least another month if not two.


Listen my children and hear the call
Of the M’s last unexplainable tragedic fall.
On the 2nd of May in two-thousand-one-five
When every M’s fan had to witness the dive
and remember that infamous game of baseball.
Someone said to the ump "If the Astros do strike
By glove or by bat in the game played tonight
quickly so quickly send someone to march
And hang a lantern aloft in the topmost roof arch
Of the Safeco skyline as a signal light
One if by glove and two if by bat;
The fans on the side of the sound they had sat
Prepared to respond and to spread the alarm
Through every Northwestern village and farm
For the true rounders fans to rise up and to arm."
By the side of the sound seated faithful M’s fans.
Transfixed to the roofline awaiting a glance
The look that would tell them the ending the score
Re-fearful that their team would lose one game more
Impending destruction was felt in advance
Inning one and now two had just passed into past
As the M’s hitters swung both bewildered and gassed
Our vaunted young pitcher threw poorly and bland
Houstonian batters were soon in command
Crooked numbers on scoreboard were sure to be vast
Gazing up at the rooftop one torch soon would fly
As exhausted M’s fandom were swift to decry
But alongside the first there were shone soon two more
Both in batting and gloving the Texans were more
Our hopes for the season were starting to die.
The Astros are coming!
We take up the call
The Astros are coming!
Proclaiming our fall
The Astros are coming
O where did we go?
The Astros are coming
I’m tired of this show!


Not seeing it man. I think Ackleys trade value is roughly what Justin Smoak's was a month into 2014.

GLS's picture

Well Ackley plays multiple positions for one thing whereas Smoak was limited to 1B or DH. Then you have his contact% which is excellent at 88.5% so far this year and his BABIP which currently rests at .178. Now Ackley may not be the .300 hitter we all thought we were getting with the second pick of the draft but he isn't a .190 hitter either and GM's know that.
I've said it before but Ackley is almost certain to have a 10+ year major league career. When he retires on the low end he'll have been worth something like 12 WAR and he'll have a fully vested major league pension.
So yes I'm pretty sure Ackley can be traded. Now by himself he isn't going to get you much but if you combine him with another asset we could get something pretty good back. If we're thinking something to help this year I would love to get a reliever.
(Edited to change my low end WAR estimation for Ackley's career. If he becomes a career bench player and starts bouncing around the league he's unlikely to get the PA's he's gotten in Seattle and so there's no way he would ever get to 18 WAR)


Ackley will hang around for a long time in the bigs just because he will have that great month every now and again.  
I still think our best use of him (if not traded vor value) is to make him a 4th OF/BU 1B and pick his matchups with great care.  Doc has pointed out that some guys just get exposed when they play everyday....more and more that is the Ackley story.  And if you limit his AB's this year (and he clearly doesn't deserve a bunch of him now) you also lower his cost next year in arb. 
Weeks and Ruggiano aren't exactly killing the ball but I would much rather see the tow of them for the next week than an Ackley start again.  Eventually we will make a Tacoma move.

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