The Game Within the Game - from the GM's seat
Brad Miller vs Nori Aoki


Not pictured:  a pro athlete known for his narcissism


Sometimes you argue for two hours, and can't quite figure out what the problem is.  And then this little detail stops the show and all becomes clear.  Take two guys in court, arguing in front of the judge "THE OTHER GUY SWUNG FIRST!" and the trial goes on four days ... you can't figure out what Silentpadna was doing in the brawl in the first place, but sure enough he was there.

Then one of the brawlers finally admits, as an incidental detail, "Well, I might have sat down in their booth and put my arm around his wife and said something a little inappropriate."  

... Oh.  Now we get the PICture.


Brock and Salk, via the Post-Intelligencer and Lookout Landing, quoted Robinson Cano that way.


"Andy came into my locker. 'Hey, I wanna talk to you.' I said, 'Oh, yeah, go ahead, Andy, what's up?' He was like, 'I'm gonna play the bad guy.' I said, 'Bad guy of what? What happened?' (Van Slyke said) 'I know you talked to Miller, but I mean, you know, he's a guy that you cannot say anything.' I said, 'I didn't say anything to him. I just said what is good for the team.' He said, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, but when it comes to hitting don't talk to him.' I said, 'That's how you feel like it, perfect.'

After that day..."


:: blinks ::

Say that again?

1) Brad Miller, a guy with 600 at-bats in the bigs and a .248 AVG and a stalled-out career, was a player "that you cannot say anything [to]"?!

2) And.  The young Zduriencik golden boys didn' wanna hear it from ROBINSON CANO?

3)  And.  The Mariners 1B coach started* a civil war in the clubhouse ... taking the side of the uncoachable rookie*?

Dr. D has seen more than his share of locker room dysfunction in the sports world.  Notably, Mariners dysfunction.  But this one, gentlemen, was a beauty.  Way to go Jack and Lloyd.


Conceptually, the Brad Miller trade is now a completely different topic of conversation.  Jerry DiPoto knew why the Mariners had been predicted to win the league, and had turned out to be worthless.  It was merely a question of what he could get back for Miller.  And if Cano's version of the story is remotely close to accurate, then DiPoto took precisely the approach that Dr. D would have taken.

We notice that the 2nd-most feebleminded Mariner, Danny Farquhar, went out in the same deal.  For [nonexistent] baseball IQ, Farquhar was a very sturdy rival to Brandon League in Mariners' history.  We notice that DiPoto shed another head case, Roenis Elias, in a mystifying deal.  Question in Dr. D's mind is whether this would apply to Tom Wilhelmsen as well.  No idea.


As we all know, a very, very similarly self-absorbed approach to baseball hitting is assumed by the Mariners' new left fielder, Norichika Aoki.  Bob Dutton has a fine piece on him.  Excerpting a bit: 


“I see his background,” Cano said, “and he’s a guy who takes a lot of pitches. He works deep into counts. That’s what you want. You want a guy to go to the plate and show you what the pitches are.”

Club officials marveled at Aoki’s consistency: batting averages of .288, .286, .285 and .287 over his four big-league seasons, with on-base percentages of .355, .356, .349 and .353.

“He’s a tough out,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s a guy who pitchers don’t like to see out there because it’s foul ball after foul ball. It’s a battle. It’s always a good at-bat.”

Cano said those extended at-bats have a ripple effect throughout the lineup.

“If you can see, from the dugout before your first at-bat, what the pitcher has,” he said, “it’s a plus. Because now you go to the plate and, (for example), you know about his breaking ball. 

“Say he has a slider, you can see if he’s throwing it for strikes. You know that, and it’s a different game.


It's one thing for an NFL coach to say he wants his defense to toughen up, and to put posters all over the locker room.  It's another thing for him to do that, and then to go bring in Ndamakong Suh.  :- )  The first practice feels just slightly different then, knowwhutImean?


Do not take these medications on an empty stomach
Do not take these medications on an empty stomach

And another thing for the coach, two months down the line, to cut a couple of players who are dogging it.  And then, a month later, to announce a rookie starter who has a rep for vicious play.  When the coaches MEAN it, their message will prevail.

One thing sabermetrics cannot capture, and has never even attempted to capture, is "What causes a player to have an UP season?"  Well, I'm not too sure.  But I sure as shootin' know what causes them to have DWN seasons.  Self-absorption.



Early sizzlers for the M's in spring training?  In terms of increasing their chances at the 25-man roster, and/or the extended 29-man roster that lurks in Tacoma?

BOOG POWELL 1-for-1 today while playing CF.  Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; such men are dangerous.

SHAWN O'MALLEY 1-for-2 which brings him to 6-of-12, with two walks into the bargain.  vs a single strikeout.  Last night, with the M's coming back in the 9th, Dae-Ho Lee grounded into a double play and then O'Malley, man on 3B, drew a nice walk.  Nobody at SSI knows whether he can back up SS?

DAN ROBERTSON 1-for-1 with another walk, so he's 6/11.

SETH SMITH was 6-of-7 before today, LOL, which LeBron James couldn't dream of doing from the free throw line.  He did get oh-fer'ed on Tuesday.

But, like Pete Carroll and his 100 roster moves the first two years, Jerry DiPoto is filling his camp with battlers.  That's okay by us.


Dr D




You've outdone yourself Doc!

Quoting Julius Caesar is way good.  Grand Slam for you!

Imagine a gutsy move where both Boog and O'Malley make the team!!

Ah, won't happen, will it.  I'm betting on O'Malley and Romero right now. Maybe. Maybe Taylor, maybe Sardinas...I don't know.  Romero, anyway.  Did anybody see Aoki in CF today?   We ought to see who all SSI'ers think will fill those two spots.


I would bet on Lee and O'Malley. Tough to imagine them exposing both Montero and Lee by going to Romero but they do seem to like him.

I somehow didn't realize that Sardinas is only 22 years old - top 100 MLB prospect in 2014 rushed to the bigs at 20. I would like to see if he can do something with 500 AAA AB's. Maybe not but I would like to see it. 


Hard to imagine Dipoto allowing both Montero and Lee to walk away or even trading both away, knowing the condition of this farm system.

I see Montero getting the first crack, with Dipoto hoping / trying to convince Lee to stay at least until June 1. Romero gets screwed again. I hope I am wrong.

As far as a utility guy... Sardinas. Same kinda thought process, but in reverse. Can not put both Taylor and Sardinas in Tacoma... there just is not enough room. One has to be in Seattle, and with Sardinas working in OF / CF, that puts him over the edge.


Re: Cano, Miller and Van Slyke

Great article, Doc. I read a story in the times about Cano's exchange with Van Slyke, and I took it (admittedly by reading between the lines) that what Van Slyke was trying to say was Miller had been working to incorporate some specific coaching from Van Slyke (and perhaps McClendon as well) and that during this period new and different input wasn't helpful. In other words, he was brittle AT THE MOMENT. I don't think Van Slyke meant that Cano should NEVER talk to Miller. Just NOT THEN. (Caps for emphasis, not for shouting.)

Don't know if I'm right on that, but it's a different slant on it. As you say, it's ridiculous for Van Slyke to designate Miller as off limits to Cano, but perhaps at the moment he had his reasons.

* * *

I can't get into Spring Training baseball. I guess it's for the same reason I can't get into Minor League baseball. To me for the most part it doesn't matter, though admittedly in a few cases it does.

RockiesJeff's picture

Thanks Doc! Long day and can put my feet up and relax immersing myself in your wisdom! Everybody loves the long ball or the spectacular. But, for the most part, baseball is a game of skill lived out with a disciplined mind, controlling the little things and battling through to the end. I can't really say as I am very much out of the loop away from Seattle but it seemed that Z was never enticed by such things....see it in the drafts, the signings, team make up. Looks like we might have us a baseball team.

Have to love the Spring!


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