10 Dustin Ackleys

=== It's As Good As Yours, Chump ===

I've got a theory, and it's not even really qualified to be called that.  But this ain't a court of law; it's a baseball chat.  :- )

Jack Zduriencik was as clear as crystal, all winter long, that we'd get to camp and the Hultzen-Paxton boys would get their shot to show their stuff.  Just like Michael Pineda did, last year.  Just like Vinnie Catricala is getting, this year.

Then, the Big Three go out and dazzle the world in a 7-1 smackdown of the Arizona Diamondbacks .... and FLLLLLLSHHHH! the big blue swirl down the drain to the minors, next day.  What happened?


If we'd been in the Mariners' clubhouse this spring, and we'd actually seen the way that Taijuan Walker carried himself, and hit 99 mph muchly times, and actually seen what Paxton and Hultzen looked like on the mound ... I'm talking about Paxton's cool-breeze, grab-you-with-the-lead-glove and then punch-you-with-the-baseball-hand windup, the way the ball comes out of his hand, the contemptous look on his face, all that stuff.  Danny Hultzen's computer-fast adaptation to ML pitch sequences.  That stuff.

And if we'd seen the way the national media reacted to these pitchers this month?  And heard Bowden's shtick about 1. the 1990's Braves, and 2. the 2010's Mariners?

If you and I had breathed the air around Peoria this spring?

My theory is that it hit Jay-Z like a load of bricks this past week.  He's got a potential dynasty.  Not a Brewers West team that could win 90 per year and see what happens.  It hits him:  he's got not just three or four cool young Ackley-level talents:  he's got ten of them.*  He's got it looking like it could be something spectacular.

And he decided to save Taijuan's, and Paxton's, and Hultzen's, seventh years.


Dr D


*Felix, Hultzen, Paxton, Taijuan, Erasmo (from Jay-Z's standpoint), Ackley, Smoak, Montero, Catricala, and the #2 draft pick.

Mike Carp, Forrest Snow, Tom Wilhelmsen, Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Nick Franklin etc aren't even counted in this Ackley-level-commodities yellow sticky note.

Nobody in Seattle has perceived the magnitude of this groundswell.  They have perceived it from the East Coast.  Local blogs sit on their hands and worry about their reps for objectivity; Jim Bowden, meanwhile, talks Seattle dynasty.



I'd love to see Paxton pick up his pace, start really throwing inside and get the rep as the mean one... He's got the stuff, now he just needs to force the pace and never let the batter settle.


"And he decided to save Taijuan's, and Paxton's, and Hultzen's, seventh years."
And that is understandable, although it is a very safe bet that one of them in in the rotation by mid-May.  Must say that I thought Z would just charge into the season with one of them in the rotation, though.
Not quite on the topic, but as I've thought about it, I'm almost willing to bet that Figgins is the opening day SS, if he's still in uniform.  To get there we may see Ryan go on the short DL, as Kawasaki is showing he got game enough to stick around (he will get a start in Game #2 in Japan, btw).
And you might see Figgins start at 3B or in CF in Game #2, as well.
Show off is positional "versatility", and hope like heck he gets on base a bit.  Then maybe you quickly find a stupid needy NL team that will take him, if we throw in this year's salary.
Please let that be Z's plan.


You left out Trayvon from the uncounted, as well. Plus Moore may yet continue where he left off last week, and with Peguero, hope is still springing...
Do you think the success Saunders and Trayvon are having enters in to JZ's thinking, too? If Catricala can handle 3rd, Saunders certainly can handle CF as long as he hits, so now you have Carp and Robinson in LF/DH rotation, with Robinson, if he's seeing better and can avoid the K's, a real leadoff possibility. By June, Figgins, Guti, Olivo, Beaven, Millwood, Ryan ..may all be surplus, plus we still have the #3 pick! 


Fans have forgotten him, and he isn't in the 2012 picture it seems, but there are folks outside Seattle who put him right now as one of the M's three legit impact prospects - Catricala, Trayvon, Nick Franklin.

tjm's picture

It's funny - in biological sciences, nobody uses the word theory. There's only one theory of biology, evolution, and it's considered too hi-falutin' to get in the same ring with old Charlie Darwin. Instead, if you go to conferences and listen to the presentations, the word everyone uses to describe their own work instead of theory is story. "Our story is that the AMPA receptor is inserted . . . etc." 
So, Doc, you got a nice story there but I ain't buying it. I think Z thinks Walker is just too young and hasn't thrown enough professional innings. The latter applies to Hultzen, too. I think they really wanted Paxton to make it, but he was too wild. Too amped up, probably. I think once he gets settled in Tacoma he'll be coming up soon enough. Plus, if they bring up all these youngsters right now, they devalue the other guys and won't be able to get as much on the market for them.
That's my story, anyway.


At the bottom of the Catricala thread I asked if anyone was able to see today's game where Trayvon singled on a ground ball to the pitcher! Wha happen?
I know the kid is fast, and we need that, but if he's also seeing the ball better (hitting .538!) and beating out infield hits, and getting to second when 7-footers handle bunts, this kid is back on the map after his 42.6% strikeout rate had dumped him off.


Certainly if there were a baseball rationale -- inside Royal Brougham -- it would start with the innings pitched in 2012.
But.  Are they going to throw fewer innings at Cheney, or are they going to still go every 5 days?
If they're at 150 total innings on August 1, are they going to be shut down sooner or later for having begun the year at Cheney?  Was Pineda?
Agree that Paxton was a bit amped up, got behind some hitters - in the first week or two of ST.  Would counter that JZ knew where it would have been headed, given another three weeks.
Instead, they all had a big dramatic night, exceeded expectations and then ...

tjm's picture

. . . they all go out to the farm and Z watches to see if the other half of the team is ready - will they hit? If they hit, Paxton comes back in May, Hultzen in August or September.
I don't think he wants to waste team control years on a club that might not be going anywhere no matter how many 3-2 games the young studs lose.

M's Watcher's picture

OK, so surprise, the three kids have been showing they are ready.  So do you powerflush the rest of the rotation candidates (Beavan, Vargas, etc.) for nothing?  No, showcase them in ST to teams that are even shorter on pitching.  After Jack pulls off those those trades, restocking with prospects, he brings the kids back.  Maximize value.

EA's picture

And then Z decided that if he let them pitch in any more games it could be nearly impossible to keep them off the club.  Better to send them down early with the guys that never had a chance than to leave that tempting chocolate cake on the dining room table.
Out of sight, out of mind.  For a couple of months anyway.


Larry Stone wrote that the M's kids weren't ready, and then, paradoxically stated that Zduriencik had to get them out of there before M's fans saw them on TV and began clamoring for them.
Zduriencik knew very well that Paxton, Hultzen, and Taijuan would outpitch the M's veterans over the next two weeks.  Why give yourself the chore of explaining why you're cutting players that EVERYbody now realizes are your best players?  
That is EXACTLY why Zduriencik sent them down for pitching better than expected.  ;- )  It was now a given that they were going to make the club, given the fair chance that --- > the M's had repeatedly said that they'd have.
I give huge points to Zduriencik for having the integrity to admit that he was sending out pitchers who should have made the club.  For me personally, that admission makes the whole thing okay, and it would also make it okay if I were James Paxton.
At least they're not being hypocritical.  They're just managing their assets.


Though I'll admit I can't think of many late-March trades for pitching.
For 35 years, I've been hearing teams say "let some other clubs cut down, come to grips with the fact that they need pitching, and then we'll get good value for Jarrod right before the season starts."
I don't remember any such late-March trades actually occurring.  Anybody got one?

tjm's picture

You're right about that. Teams wait to pick up guys who've been cut from other rosters in March. Trades would have to come later.


...would be for a series of trades of our excess which allows bringing up the first guy in mid/late May (probably Paxton), the next in June (Hultzen), and then finally in late July we're set. This also allows sorting out the bullpen so that we can have some long arms available to help limit innings, while having some shutdown arms as well. This maximizes the contracts for the involved players, while still allowing for a late run to really spur ticket sales for 2013.
You're right that late March is not prime trading time - but late April to mid-May will be active as teams try not to get left behind too far. Billy Beane's thirds of the season are going to accelerate with the extra wild-card. Pressure to sort it out early this year will be intense, particularly in both central divisions, which appear wide-open.
Baker saying that Catricala will not break camp with the team is a real downer for me - I really want to see signs of the commitment to talent as the theme/meme for the year. My head says the way to maximize what we get for Figgins is this way, but my heart really wants to see Catricala, Kawasaki, Ackley, and Smoak around the infield, and Kawasaki, Ackley, Ichiro, Montero, Smoak, Catricala, Carp, Saunders, and Seager facing whoever they want to throw against us. By June, teams aren't going to want to face Seattle. Can we make a run after that? Probably too many bumps ahead to say for sure, but to me, it will be meaningful games in August when the Rosenthals and Heymans notice that the Yankees and Red Sawks don't want to face us in early August and early September, respectively, because of the probability of losing ground to the other by doing so.


looking at today's lineup gives me hope -
with Noesi pitching
(maybe put Catricala in there instead of Peguero)
The future.... unadulterated
Let's see how Greinke likes it.


And we'd get the 7th year of club control.  Arb deadline fluctuates, last week of May-1st week of June normally.  May 24th to June 5th is usually a good bookmark, which is why most players come up June 10 or so if a team is worried about it.  It's actually done by days (Opening Day til the last day of the regular season, counted by days not games), and teams try to keep guys with 2 years and 130-something days or less to avoid it for the most part. 
FYI, it looks to me like our early opener won't count for service time purposes, since it was moved up.  Service time is gonna start when everybody else has THEIR opening day, not when we play in Japan.
But if you don't care what you pay them, just that it's you paying them?  172 days = a full year of service time.
A season isn't normally longer than 183 days.  So 12 days into any season you should be able to call someone up and have them miss their year of service time.
Which means Sunday the 15th (or so) any of the kids should be able to come up.  Somebody would have to check the exact date, but really, it can happen QUICK.  When do we need a #5 starter again with this wonky schedule we have?

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