Diderot on "Whistling Past the Graveyard"
budgeting for DL time


Our good buddy Diderot sez,

Seems like there's a lot of whistling past the graveyard on this.  Didn't we hire some wonder woman who was supposed to put us on the cutting edge of all this?

I understand why the M's announcers aren't allowed to refer to this...but I sure hope JD is talking to her.  

Here's my overall concern: JD spends a whale of a lot of time assessing baseball players, and acquiring the ones he likes.  I give him no grief on this--anyone is going to have winners and losers.  He's getting his share of the winners.

But there's another side of the job, and that's hiring/managing the non-playing aspects of the team.  I'm looking for the winners here.  Obviously no one on the team so far knows how to coach baserunning.  The pitching coach has made no positive impact that I can see.  Is the farm system better with McKay?  If so, how?  Is Servais holding his own on lineup management/pitching changes?  I guess that's open to argument.  And now the new firness guru.  This is a daily disaster.

Come on, Jerry--get better at this.


"Whistling past the graveyard" - thass a cleeeeeean push there Diderot.  As always you make the 'case against' forcefully and with reality-based examples.

If Cano, Cruz and Seager especially - guys you cannot feasibly 'punish' - if the team captains throw away April and May games by getting tossed out at 3B and HR it's going to go a looooooong way towards a losing chemistry and season.  Scott Servais can (and no doubt does) make this very point to them, but it's on those three to bear down when on the basepaths.

You have to budget for injuries, and IMHO the Mariners can budget for a handful.  They can't budget for 35 pitching injuries :- ) and they can't budget for a James Paxton injury unless the offense is prepared to put up a 115-120 type season.

The farm system is down to three cigarettes on a match, no doubts there, so that's 2 of the 3 player acquisition methods that we've locked ourselves out of (when you include the Free Agency talent reservoir that other teams are helping themselves to, right now helping themselves to with both hands.)  Let's hope the brilliance of the Gordon/Diaz/whatever inventiveness can overcome that.

The good news is that Dipoto WILL spend $10-15 mill on a Gordon/Leake/Lind type that he thinks is a clever sleight-of-hand-move.  So I guess the M's have 1.5 of 3-4 player onload tracks.


In any case, I'd love to see what a healthy Haniger/Paxton/Zuumball/Cruz season would look like - am sure you do too amigo :- )

I suppose you have to try to stay avante garde on the mental-performance/injury staff but .... it seems to me like all pro sports teams, that's every sport, already put avalanches of effort into this with little to no return.  To me it's a roll of the dice, as to whether a fastball hits Cruz on the hand, and you tell me whether there's anything you can do about it other than try to build up your draws at the deck.  .... be the team that is willing to snag Gerrit Cole, I guess.


Dr. D would welcome the input of Denizens as to just how much "budgeting for injuries" the 2018 ballclub has baked in.  If an OF gets injured, for example, we can slide things around (even Ichiro or Haniger or Gamel into CF, Oakland-style) and if we take one big hit to the IF (3B, SS or 2B with Romine or Motter moving in, or Zuumball taking one off his thumb and us losing that production) then it will be up to a 'Bach or a 'Boom to step up and carry one IF injury.

I'm personally not petrified about any particular single pitching injury, because I'm intrigued by Whalen and Povse and Moore, and I've got to admit that Ariel Miranda looks like the #5 starter on an okay team.  It does seem like JeDi pulled off a smooooth maneuver reeling in Nicasio in case Diaz is the "budgeted" one that the DL sniper gets from the rooftop; I'm very pleased that we have a certifiable backup closer.

Also the #7-8 relievers are looking attractive to me with Altavilla (?) throwing so well, and an SP dropping back (free safety-style) into a position from where he can cover 3 IP at a time.

It's a club that does seem to have draws at the deck and if Paxton, the IF and the C stay on the field the 'Frame is looking forward to '18.

Or not,

Dr D


PS it may seem cheesy and may draw some snickers around the league but objectively speaking, is there really anything wrong with Ichiro soaking up some innings in blowouts?  Seriously, that means something on a 25-man roster, "buffering" the top 7 guys who would otherwise have to use up an appearance.  It's not like you have a .350 hitter to lose any more.  Have you seen his overhand curve?   Check the 2:00 mark on this vid :- ) 



There's some question about the fitness of a team that has this many pulls and tweaks.  I do not think it's answered though. 

2 things that I find particularly pertinent.  We're talking specifically about things Dipoto has done to address this at multiple different times.  Yes, he knows it's been a problem and it's very important to improve, based on attempts to do so.  He's also shown the ability to try different things when one's not working.  One could argue he's done that more than twice with fitness and health.


“The heightened awareness of what is going on here, probably a little cautious right now,” Servais said. “The issue with Jean, I think that is something he would stay in the game on a normal night. I haven’t been around Ichiro that much. When it gets brought to my attention something is bothering him, you take it very, very seriously.”

Ultimate irony, if they are now removing players with any minor ailments to keep them healthy for the season and the complaint is that it shows they need to figure out how to keep them healthy.  Also that they're not trying anything new to do so?

“I do know how you react to it in spring training and that’s what we have done,” Servais said. “We’ve pulled them out and give them a couple of days to recoup.”

It could be that there's deeper problems.  It could be that there's not.  It could even be the beginning of exactly what we're hoping for. 

Balkyboy's picture

    Nice article in the Times by Ryan Divish with quotes from Dr. Martin and Servais.  They basically say that what is being perceived by fans as a rash of injuries is just them being extra cautious in Spring Training.  In the regular season they wouldn’t even have removed some of these players from a game. 

    I also have noticed, amongst the comments on OTHER sites, some latent and not so latent sexism directed towards Dr. Martin.  Oh well.  If the person stinks or doesn’t stink, why does gender have to be mentioned?

    Whatever you think of Sports Medicine, JD’s focus on it is not just window dressing.  He has been talking for at least 2 years about how he thought it is the next frontier in baseball.  Dr. Martin has not only been given authority over 4 departments, but also has been given the extra resources to hire her own staff.  Hopefully, JD’s sense of smell is correct here.

    On another note concerning the non-playing aspects of the team.  There is a new article  by Shannon Drayer about Casey Lawrence's  nice spring.  Lawrence gives a lot of credit to the pitching staff and the technology they are employing, “We have so many resources now…”.  This isn’t the first story this Spring where a pitcher is talking up the pitching staff and resources.  Question to Dr. D or others:  how do we recognize when the pitching staff (or another non-playing aspect of the team) has made a plateau leap?

    Finally, Luke Mounger over at Lookout Landing says Ariel Miranda put away two batters in the 3rd inning of last night’s game with his slider.  This is the pitch he added this Spring with the help of the pitching staff.  Wishing you continued succes with that Ariel!


If I were to suspect that sexism had an impact on her role, it would be a positive sexism that helps her -- that her natural instincts, feel for nurturing, etc. evolved out of the hunter-gatherer system* that mankind spend 100,000+ years living, and are an advantage to her in this particular role.  Men:  "charge!"  Women:  "Watch out!"  (Alternatively, God created men and women recently with these differences intact.  Either way we wind up in the same place.)  This is true even in my own family, where I want my son to dig a posthole in the rain and she thinks it's too cruel.  :- )

I've got a speech therapist (since my extreme concussion) and the therapist is a female - with a really remarkable ability to read my body language and assess my abilities and deficiencies.

Society nowadays wants to *minimize* differences between males and females, but I think there is a lot to be learned from studying it.  On average, I believe those differences balance -- for example, there's some evidence that men and women both average 100 on the IQ scale, but men are more dispersed (more idiots and more chess GM's).

I admire the strengths that women bring to the table and believe that Dr. Martin is in a position which will exploit her natural talents (if any) to the M's advantage.

Of course once you go down this road, you open up the possibility that males may have gender strengths also, which is verboten no matter how many NFL quarterbacks and coaches, asphalt layers, septic tank diggers, chess GMs or rock guitarists you count ;- )  What's wrong with simply starting with the premise that gender strengths balance, and going from there to study them?


I have to fall on the side of "noise" when it comes to the injuries. Either that or Jobu has left a residual curse from last season. It's seems short-sighted to blame Dr. Martin, McKay, etc for veterans pulling up a little gimpy. You think Dr. Martin, who probably has spent the spring inputting data and evaluating charts, knows Cruz better than he knows himself? If there was ever a model of what baseball health should shoot for, it's Ichiro.  He pulled himself out. How much time has McKay and gang spent with any of these gimpy guys? Seems to me all McKay's young bucks are doing just fine with the legs. (hint: they're young)

Granted, the numbers are a little disconcerting. And the track history isn't great. The reality is that injuries are a big part of the game, unfortunately. As Doc says, it's often a roll of the dice.  Show me a team that year over year avoids numerous injuries and I'll show you a team who's cheating ;)


I -- and Bill James -- have always insisted that the dominant factor in sports injury - by far - is simple bad luck.  In fact he insists that a individual PLAYER who has had 4 unrelated injuries (like Iwakuma or Paxton) are no more likely to get hurt than anyone else.  It's just that we notice it far more.


I was having all the same questions about the new madam of fitness that was hired. How do you hire someone to do this exact thing and then have so many guys with pulled muscles?!?! Some heads need to roll. Hers, the trainers, the players someone. 

All that was right up until Ichiro, the man who everyone says, is the most prepared player on the field. The most disciplined. The guys who spends more time stretching than anyone. The guy Dipoto said was in better physical shape than most 20 year olds. 

When he pulled/strained/tweaked or whatever a calf muscle, is it really on the new Health guru or is it just a bunch of odd coincidences?


I've already gone on record about Ichiro pitching.  I love the idea of using Ichiro out of the Pen. I mean the guy is legit. He may not have that 95mph fastball he did back in the day but that curve is pretty awesome. I think the commentators are the best part of that whole deal though :D

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