Why does SSI lean into the monitor a few inches when Greg Johns has an opinion? Of local sportswriters with access, Dr. D simply finds him to have the soundest baseball judgment since Geoff Baker. Also, Johns is more willing than most to telegraph what is really going on. Gotta love a writer who respects his readers as having the intelligence to handle the truth.
Moshing off Johns' latest mailbag:
Hadn't noticed that he'd been cut at age 28 after hitting .161. It's one thing to fall short, like a Mike Carp; it's another thing for a #2 overall pick to go home and farm chickens. Bet you Ackley would show up on a pretty short list of recent catastrophes.
At SSI we cast about quite a bit, what was Ackley's deal. We got down to shaving the beard. Was it mental? Usually something like THIS involves a fatal swing flaw; for Jeff Clement it was soft stuff inside. Maybe Ackley's problems with outside heat were just too much for him to overcome.
It is Zduriencik's bad luck that his glamor prospects didn't pan out. He invested a lot of Safeco time in them, gave them every chance, and simply rolled snake eyes.
Dipoto's approach does not require 2,000-AB investments in his best and brightest AAA players. Now that Dipoto has swapped out Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker, you start to wonder just how absolute he IS about that. ... Zunino doesn't really count as an exception; that's catcher. Defense is enough in the downside scenario.
Journ-O-Speak translation: used to be Edwin Diaz*, fell off the radar, but looks like he has his arm back. Upside scenario is more likely than people understand.
Well, not really Diaz. But y'know.
SMYLY AND GALLARDO
Interesting that Johns implictly signs off on these two as being full-on replacements for the last two, even in isolation. I certainly do not; picture Jim Carrey's Grinch standing on the mountaintop, "Gallardo? I loooooaaaaathe you." But I'm not Jerry Dipoto, who is willing to spend ten million bucks on Gallardo's innings this year. Ten million's a lot.
In the next paragraph, Johns gives Heston and Whalen as next man up -- we figgered that -- but then puts Dillon Overton in the next little tier. This one could be Johns' own throwaway answer.
Brent Stecker is a good writer too. Here he interviews Smyly, who says he wanted to come to the Mariners, and who gives a bit of technical info on his 2016 game.
DYSON VS LEFTIES
The M's think they'll face fewer LHP's next year, so Dyson can play more. Don't forget the Mariners have Dyson for exactly one season; he's a rent-a-player getting 300 at-bats. They gave up 4 blinkin' years of Nate Karns for this.
I wonder if it's possible for an entire team to face significantly fewer, or more, LHP's in a season? Matt?
Slow start, then Danny Valencia plays first base every day. Ulp. Valencia has played 212 innings at first in his career, about 24 full games. That could be tantamount to Adam Dunn at first -- but Valencia does not hit forty homers. He slugged .446 last year, not really good enough for a bat-first 1B. And last year was Valencia's only year in full exposure to sunlight. First base looks very, very shaky. Also, playing a new position seldom helps you hit better.
I wonder how Boomstick would be at first. Or Jarrod Dyson .....
On the other hand, here is an article Sunny Side Up, talking about Danny Valencia as a breakout player. It's true he has hit .290 / .350 / .475 the last two years combined, similar to MELKY back when we wanted him. Here's that old humor piece on MELKY OTC. If they add a prime Melky to everything else, that'll be okay wit me.