The Catcher Position
Let's try this Zuumball thing again - this time in an ML organization



I think if Dipoto was already thinking about cutting / non-tendering Clevenger before the comments, then he should have cut the ties then.

Dipoto has a very good idea what the M's roster is going to look like for the Rule 5 draft right now. There may be one or two decisions to be made, but Clevenger is not one of them... and he never was. Either the decision has been made to keep him on the 40 man, and store him in Tacoma because at $800K he is somewhat of an asset... or he is going to be non-tendered. There is no way this incident should have had any bearing on his employment, because the team has had plenty of time to evaluate him when he was playing. Nothing about Clevenger or the M's catchers changed when Clevenger went on the DL. Sucre was still only defense. Iannetta was still old and not hitting, and Zunino was still the heir apparent.  

Moreover, IF this incident did for some reason change the team's perception of Clevenger, Dipoto knew that less than 24 hours after the tweet. There is no reason to wait. There is no reason to suspend him. Just cut him. 

Thus, when the decision was made to suspend Clevenger, it made little sense to me... but since we all thought Clevenger could hit 12 months ago or so, maybe Dipoto is willing to give him a chance. However, if Clevenger gets non tendered in November... That is way too late, and again would be flat out petty.


I'm not super aligned with 'Rain on the above, but kudos because it's thought-provoking and well reasoned.  Especially appreciate the observation that at $800K, Steve Clevenger is an interesting asset.  That's especially because he hits left vs. Mike Zunino's right ... especially because he's a left hand catcher period.

Will take the other side about the non-tender.  James' original point was that if you don't feel a ballplayer is a good match for your organization, you can quietly pass on him in the offseason.  What the Mariners did was to punish Steve Clevenger for calling a savage riot that which it was.  In language that left his chin open to the media's right uppercut, to be sure.  And Diderot is probably right that this decision had plenty of "input" from DiPoto's employers.  Seattle is not the most tolerant city in the world, when it comes to minority opinion.

But in any case, it's in the rear view mirror.


Far more interesting were DiPoto's remarks about Chris Iannetta.  Can't find the link right now for some reason.  The gist was, "Chris did everything he could possibly do, the first few months, to help this organization take a step forward from where it was."  This was precisely SSI's take on the reason for signing Iannetta.  But what's striking here, is the implicit comment:  we no longer have a locker room full of uncoachable free swingers.  We have arrived, when it comes to coachability.

Iannetta makes $4M+, which is indeed a lot for a backup catcher.  And his biggest role was that 'leadership' aspect.  So, if we read the tea leaves right, M's fans can turn their attention to Mike Zunino's projection for 2017.

Zuumball hit 12 homers in 55 games, a 35-homer pace, and we all saw his ability to shorten up, let a pitch travel, and explooooode onto the ball.  He still hit only .207 and struck out at the same rate, with the same pull tendency.  He did walk quite a bit more.

The prospect of a (someday) 30-homer catcher, who gets strikes called at the shins and who is a pleasure to have in class, is mouthwatering.  DiPoto characterizes him as having "positioned himself to be a part of our core going forward."



Here's a way cool article on the new-blitz Seahawks.  And in case you were wondering, I personally felt zero regret over the non-pass-interference penalty at the end of the Falcons game.  Mostly because twenty other plays coulda swung the game, and also because Jones face-masked Sherman to get open in the first place.

Or not :- )


Dr D



Doc... Thanks for the kind words again.

I'm not sure how many are watching the playoffs closely, but the Cubs are USING 3 catchers in these playoffs. Again, not only do the Cubs have 3 catchers on a playoff roster - which is extremely unusual these days, but the Cubs are using Montero, Ross and Contreras as a way to attack teams. All 3 of these catchers have had key hits in these playoffs, and all 3 have made plays from behind the plate as well. Yes, it is true that not many catchers can play LF as well as Contreras, but the Cubs are using their flexibility as best they can.

Normal M's fans may not be paying attention to this strategy, but I'm sure that Dipoto is.

Thus, the M's back up catching position has potential to be more than just the Sunday quarterback and occassional pinch hitter. Unfortunately, we all know that the M's do not have a solid 2nd catcher - I'll avoid the easy Zunino joke - and just say I highly doubt the 2nd C is currently on the M's 40 man roster. I do think Sweet Jesus will be back, but I'll be surprised if Sucre does not start in Tacoma.

Therefore, what are Dipoto's options for the back up C?

How about one that can platoon at a different position?  Dipoto, Servais and many others have preached about the importance of position flexibility.

With many saying that the M's need a veteran back up for Vogelbach just in case... what about a trade for Maurer, or a free agent like Navarro or Napoli or a Wieters?

Lots of options... we will just have to wait to see what Dipoto has in mind.

Nathan H's picture

Gus Bradley, when the chips were down, relied on his secondary to man up and his LBs to cover. He didn't blitz much.

Dan Quinn, when the chips were down, relied on his D-line to create pressure, adding a twist or a stunt here and there. He didn't blitz much.

Kris Richard, when the chips are down, relies on blitzing LBs to create pressure on the QB and force a mistake. 

It's a different approach from the successful Seahawk defenses of the past. It might also become the most effective approach in the modern NFL; Carroll's defensive philosophies combined with Richard's penchant for adding a LB to a pass-rush every so look at the defensive DVOA numbers and tell me what is stopping this team from putting up another historic performance. The possibility that they might be more effective than the 2013 squad is real.

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