SSI Hot Seat: M's Semi Runs Over Little Blue Bicycle
Mess with us at your PERIL


For those just joining us:  Hot Seat, the way we'd sound on radio.  Off the cuff.  Virtual radio, no facts, no figures, light on the data, heavy on the human reaction.


HOT SEAT:  Franklin Gutierrez looks great, and looks great in all the right ways.  Tape-measure shots to CF.  Whattaya think?

DR D, NO MALICE AFORETHOUGHT, IN FACT NO AFORETHOUGHT aforethought:  The 2009 Franklin Gutierrez was credited with 7.0 WAR, which was a giant blemish on WAR's face.  Gutierrez was a league-average hitter playing a real good center field.  

The idea that this "7.0 WAR" player is worth more than, say, Josh Hamilton, and that Major League Baseball (TM) is certifiably ready for the loony bin -- it pays Hamilton, but doesn't pay Bourn -- that idea is part of what causes the lingering skepticism over sabermetrics.

But!  Having gotten that into perspective ... Franklin Gutierrez is fully capable of reprising Mike Cameron.  20 homers, 20 stolen bases, a .280 AVG, and a great center field (100-110) OPS+.  That's a minor star -- I won't pay him for 7 WAR, but I durn tootin' will pay him for 4 WAR.

A 20-20 Gutierrez is comparable in value to a middle infielder who is a good defender and a fairly good hitter.  Ian Kinsler is comparable in value to Mike Cameron 2000-2005.   Brandon Phillips is.  Howie Kendrick.  If the Mariners added a Kinsler-, Kendrick-level player out of nowhere, we'd take it.

The M's had a Cinderella season in 2001 partly because Mike Cameron came out of nowhere to do huge collateral damage.  The M's do in fact have a 95-win scenario in 2013, and it probably involves Franklin Gutierrez hitting 23 homers and winning the Gold Glove.

Once again, Dr. D confesses:  he was too skeptical about Gutierrez' hitting talent, the last three years.  It's becoming apparent that his disease was a bigger cause than SSI thought that it was.

(Edit to add, post hot seat, that gives the M's player with highest "quality of opposition" this spring as ... Franklin Gutierrez.  Guti's faced tougher pitching than anybody.  His SLG is about 1200.)


HOT SEAT:  Mo' Dawg takes the board deep!  He turned two pitching wedges way down on Rauuul from the start.

Dr. D:  They were right and I was wrong.  Rauulll was, in retrospect, a shrill move.

Chime in, if you were with Mo' Dawg.  Humble pie for Dr. D.


HOT SEAT:  What's with all of the excitement on KJR-AM?

DR D:  The people hanging around the clubhouse are buying in to the 8-game winning streak.  Big time.  

First a jock will qualify it, of course, with sixteen different ways of saying "it's only spring training" so that the jock in the chair next to him won't make fun of him ... and then, deflector shields in place, he'll go on to talk about why he's excited about the 2013 Mariners.  Based on the 8-game winning streak.

What you, Gentle Reader, are seeing is NOT that jocks fail to "get it" on 8-game sample sizes.  It's not so easily dismissed.

What you are seeing IS that there is (inferentially) a vibe in the clubhouse, all of the athletes in there saying "I got this.  We're going to be good this year."

Mike Morse knows what MLB pitching looks like.  Kendrys Morales knows what he'll be dealing with in April.  You know who else is fully aware of the task ahead?  Franklin Gutierrez.

These guys know what the last 2,000 feet look like on Mt. Rainier.  And they are walking around vib'ing that they've got the self-arrest techniques to make the climb.

You know who else knows what the last 2,000 feet look like on Rainier?  Dustin Ackley does.  Kyle Seager does.  Michael Saunders does.

These particular ballplayers now know what they are up against, and these particular ballplayers are walking around relaxed and smiling, and going out into games against Chris Capuano, Matt Cain and Co. and bashing their blinking heads in.

I don't say that April can't arrive, and that a slump can't start.  But it says here that Spring Training is registering seismo's.  This only makes sense.  Zduriencik has been stockpiling real talent, and it was going to jell SOME time.

Looks like it's probably now.




ghost's picture

Remember back in, I believe, March of 2011, when the Ms started off 2-5 and then ripped off a 9 game winning streak or somesuch? But that club was doing a lot of its winning off the reserves with their reserves...winning a lot of close games 4-3, etc. This club is completely DOMINATING when its starters vs. starters and giving up runs in garbage time. Most of their wins have been built on early scoring except that Angels game.
I think, also, that it involves a certain confidence born of the reality that no matter what line-up Wedge chooses, it looks like a big league line-up by talent.
All 61 guys in camp right now could make a strong case for being a member of the 2013 Astros. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.


We have lots of guys now that have "been through the wars" (Ron Villione reference)... The difference this year is that they are all talented with upside. I'm really excited about this year.


Who would be the LEAST likely to be Astros-caliber?  :- )
Wedge said the same - they're *all* there because the M's think they could play in the majors this year.  Sixty-one.  LOL.  So is #61 a fringe big leaguer too?

ghost's picture

...and I'm comparing it the Astros' most likely 25 man roster...
Of all the guys to make the cut in Seattle, I can find only 3 (THREE!) that I would not rather have than the worst Astro.
Yeorvis Medina
Jonathan Arias
Jhonny Nunez
That's it. LOL
For the life of me, I can't figure out why the Mariners think Yeorvis Medina is worth a 40-man roster spot, but aside form him, every slot on the 40-man is taken by someone I actually like at least somewhat.
Seriously...look at this Astros ST roster:
Hector Ambriz - 29 year old reliever with a horrendous HR problem that isn't going away any time soon.
Xavier Cedeno - 26 year old journeyman non-prospect
Jose Cisnero - marginal 24 year old SP prospect with high Ks but high hit rates
Paul Clemens - career minor league K rate: 7...that plus gopheritis = EW!
Jarred Cosart - comps to Andrew Carraway with worse command. Not totally without his charms, but...not a big name prospect
Rhiner Cruz - Horrid BB rate, and those high walk rates are bad news when you don't fan a ton, which he doesn't...26 y/o already time to grow really
Sam Demel - age 27 season and yet to crack the big leagues...nice K rates in the minors but gopher problem at higher levels
John Ely - Marshmellow-baller with sky-high HR rates for the minors, low BB rates because he challenges too much - not a prospect
Josh Fields - Yes, THAT Josh Fields - an OK relief prospect with some serious mechanical problems
Lucas Harrell - Wow...AWFUL...minor league K rate of less than 6, bad K/BB...just NO
Philip Humber - LOL...well maybe they'll no-hit us now that they have this guy - he profiles as a right handed Joe
Dallas Keuchel - last year in second trip through AAA fanned 50 in 90+ innings. Gonna be 25 this year. wow
Chia-Jen Lo - interesting Korean import...but 27 and just out of rookie ball
Jordan Lyles - Fourth time's a charm at AAA maybe? He keeps getting hurt, but horrendous K rates in upper minors
Bud Norris - MLB ERA of 7.84. And is 28. Ouchies
Brett Oberholtzer - minors line looks similar to a John Halama or Doug Fister before he got better...he's only 23, but...he doesn't have Fister's secondary game or size...I don't see much upside
Rudy Owens - ANOTHER horrid K rate mushball artist with decent command. What is UP with all of these types??
Brad Peacock - Had a decent year in AAA at age 24...but has been all over the place throughout his minors career and never really stood out...gopher problem and hit rate problem
Ross Seaton - Career minor league K-rate of 5.8 - moving along, nothing to see here.
Jose Veras - passable middle reliever with a few decent seasons of late...horrible with the Yankees but has steadily improved.
Alex White - Struggled with the ROckies with bad BB rate, but minors line suggests that won't continue...bad K rate though...will die in Houston
Wesley Wright - good solid LOOGY
So...I found two decent relievers on their big league roster...and ZERO good starting pitchers. Think they could use a guy like Garland or Bonderman? LOL OK...Phil Humber, if he stays healthy isn't horrid. And Alex White has some upside there...though not much. Yeesh...I am REAAALLLY stretching.
Now go look at those Mariners again. Who on our pitching list isn't fit for Houston? Who wouldn't instantly make their depth chart more impressive?
It doesn't get much better on offense. You've got
Carlos Corporan (28 years old when he finally had a decent year in the bigs in limited duty...looks mostly BABIP luck aided with a bad K/BB and Jason Castro (who has some power upside that is thus far untapped, and held his head above water at age 25) sharing the catching role.
The infield is Chris Carter (good looking young slugger), Jose Altuve (slap hitter and a horrible fielder for 2B), Matt Dominguez (untested, but some upside), and a collection of total losers at short headed by Tyler Greene...
The outfield is a total joke...the best hitter in that entire group might be RIck Ankiel. Oh the humanity!
Their only hope is to get Wallace in at first, slide Carter into LF and hope he doesn't spike himself out there. They have no one who can competently man CF other than former Met prospect Martinez.
Now go look at our roster. Name ONE position player on our list of 61 that wouldn't improve their ballclub somewhere. Even if you want to argue that, say, Altuve is better than Andino...I'm here to tell you...they need a good glove man to back them up on the infield...and that would be a silly argument anyway since Andino is a known commodity (a supersub at best).


Ronnie Paulino is NOT distinguishing himself - .167 OPS!

muddyfrogwater's picture

That's a palindrome BTW. Nothing wrong wrong with honkin' the horn for a guy in his walk year.


He has an option that will most likely be taken if he has a decent year.

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