Angels 6 .....

Devo Swag - for all your meltdown needs.  Coming to an M's team store near you


=== Blake Beavan ===

Dr. D throughly admired his moxie and his command.  And he caught Prince Albert with a couple of early-count changeups.  Tonight he threw the ball well, by his standards.  He executed pitches just about as well as he can execute them.

Watching batters with 53 OPS+'s pop the ball up, and watching Albert Pujols whack the ball out of the park, a sudden thought occurred.  I wonder if Blake Beavan's unusually good at catching rabbits, and unusually susceptible to being trampled by elephants.

The "here it is, hit it" 91 fastball on 2-1 leads to batted-ball outs against AAA players and against Alberto Callaspo.  Has anybody ever checked Beavan against dangerous hitters?

It's a thought.  At BJOL there has been a discussion about historical "bully" pitchers -- Don Drysdale actually did pitch unusually well against weak teams, with no pressure on, and tended to wilt against good teams, with pressure on.  I think he was 0-13 or something against Juan Marichal.

Beavan doesn't have a bully personality; he's a courageous man.  I wonder (w-o-n-d-e-r) if his "show me" attitude stands up to the scrutiny of, say, a Yankee lineup or, say, 100 starts in the majors.

One strikeout tonight.


=== Tom Wilhelmsen ===

Did the heavy lifting for League on Friday.  He rocked Mike Trout's world with a [12-6 Curve, 98-MPH] fastball left and right.  

This forced his plan through:  there were two out, nobody on for Prince Albert.  Capt. Insano battled gamely through to a harmless walk.  He then retired Kendrys Morales easily on an 0-1 topped groundout.

Nobody noticed that Wilhelmsen had done exactly the same thing for League in League's "save" against Texas.  Wilhelmsen fought the heart of the Texas order hammer and tongs, saving the game in the 8th inning ... then League the Titled Magic Closer crept in to face the #7, #8, and #9 hitters there.  The first batter crushed a fastball right at an outfielder, though League did retire the #8 and #9 hitters routinely with the PSI gauge down to exactly zero.

Naturally, the TV crew proclaimed League "BACK!" after that sham outing in Texas.  Dr. D looked on forlornly.  He knew better.


=== Brandon League ===

SSI has consistently argued that the intersection of (A) League's telegraphed pitches and (B) League's wildness gives a recipe for --- > guaranteed pain and anguish.

I'm glad to re-visit that periodically.  Things change.  Maybe this diagnosis is no longer in order?  Let's visit it again tonight.  What actually happened out there?   :: ticks list off on his fingers ::


1) League came in, to face the bottom of the Angels' lineup, with the body language of a man facing an amputation.  Without whiskey.

2) League's first pitch was a telegraphed fastball, of course, and Mark Trumbo (who averages 38 walks and 161 strikeouts per season) leisurely whacked it into center for a clean single.

3) League, fighting his command all the way, walked Alberto Callaspo.  Alberto Callaspo has a 63 OPS+.

4) League made a fielding error.  Because you couldn't have pulled a needle out of his lips with a tractor.

5) League's first pitch to Erick Aybar ... OPS+ 53 ... was a telegraphed fastball whacked into center field for the game winner.


Hm.  I'm going to go with "Yep."


After the game, Wedge says he has no choice.  League's the closer.  There's nobody else down there.

Hesitation will make your worst nightmares Come. True.  Dr D cheerfully invites anybody to explain to him, in one-syllable words so he can understand it, how a "rissssky, Gollum, rissssky" April promotion of Steven Pryor and Carter Capps could have







Wedge may indeed not have a lot of choices. League is their only real mid-season trade chip of worth, so he may have orders to get him right. He may well have had orders to give Figgins that shot as well. Reading between the lines on his comments about this week's Figgins-Wells fiasco, he likely didn't have a choice there either.
He did choose to PH Ryan instead of Ackley in the 9th, so he's not blameless but there are factors at play in his decisions outside that day's game - whether we like it or not.


That's what I say to Wedge.
Gollum? How about Wedge saying (of League), "He's my precious, my precious!!!"
I said a bad word and turned the TV off after Kendrick torched off.
And after the walk to Callaspo, but before the throw into LF (nicely handled by Baggins, right?) I said, aloud, "Man, can't maybe Iwakuma close?" I may have used a colorful set of adjectives and adverbs.
Which was after I said "What the hell did he take Wilhelmsen out for?"
He has no other options, except to close League? What you say? He also had no other options (until injury saved us) except to catch Olivo. He had no other option except to roll Figgins out there for four weeks.
C'mon! Phhhhhhhhhttttttt at that line of reasoning.


Sorry Griz,
League is batting-practice fodder right now. I can't see how you just roll him out there, most likely to get smashed up in the 9th, just to possible enhance his possible trade value for some nebulous-possible trade at some hazy future point.
Wedge's job is to win THIS game. Not opening day next year.
You're right about the Ryan PH, pretty weird. But of all the choices Wedge had (leave Wilhelmsen, go with Furbish, Delabar, Kelley, Iwakuma or Luetge---who hasn't given up a run this year), which one would you have thought was a worse choice than League, when the inning began.
If Z is insisting that we fuel the fire with League when the situation arises, then Z needs to defend that publically, and not let his manager swing.
Wedge almost can't use League at home for a while now. He's going to be booed, and deservedly so, as soon as he leaves the bullpen.
He'll be tight as a drum, if he isn't already.
League must command the bottom of the zone with his first pitch. He can't throw his splitter for a strike so he's throwing first pitch fastballs to almost everyone.
Trumbo, Kendrick and Izturis all went after the first pitch. He threw an intentional ball to Calhoun and Trout took a ball. Aybar bunted. Only Callaspo looked at a 1st pitch strike.
And so it goes every time he takes the mound.
He's meat until he can throw a bender for a 1st pitch strike. Proving that point with the game on the line is pretty bad strategy.
Capps? What else does he have to prove? Ditto for Pryor? The only thing that makes sense if you keep them down much longer is that they don't come up until mid-May NEXT year.
And Doc has argued for Walker now much more efficiently than I can. That's not really a bullpen issue, so I'll drop it.
But last night, Wedge had any number of choices. Saying otherwise insults us guys.
If we get a "Wedge is my guy!" public statement from Z, take it as a sign that the All-Star break remains a good over-under date.


And he may be starting to do it to the Mariners too. When your closer blows 3 saves in his last 5 chances to single-handedly drop you into the cellar, it hurts. It's not like his other saves have been rock-solid either.
He's already walked more guys this year than he did all of last year. If he's wild, he's useless, because he certainly doesn't strike guys out.
I understand that League's formerly-shiny ERA (aka before this week) makes it hard to take Wilhelmsen's mid-4s ERA and promote him over Brandon. But they've both given up the same percentage of runs now, and Wilhelmsen has far and away the better stuff, certainly at the moment.
We can't keep doing this with League. I understand we want him as a trade chip in July but we're trying to win games now. Right? It's not luck or chance that's causing Brandon to be hit around, it's that he cannot execute his pitches and is being legitimately beaten as the inferior pitcher.
Stephen Pryor has given up as many runs ON THE YEAR as League did last night.
Carter Capps hasn't been scored on in May, and has a 14K/0 BB line for the month.
Something's gotta give.

benihana's picture


Larry LaRue ‏@LarryLaRue
Plan is to get him back closing. After that, depends upon market. RT@aaront5: @LarryLaRue is the plan to still eventually try to trade him?

Larry LaRue ‏@LarryLaRue
#Mariners say League is out as closer for now, and will close by committee for awhile. Read more:

Larry LaRue ‏@LarryLaRue
#Mariners pull closer Brandon League back, will have other pitchers work the 9th inning for now. League has blown 4 of 13 save opps

We all seem to get rather angry at Wedge, who ends up making the moves we wanted him to make anyway.  The clubhouse, like other fortune 500 type places, requires a certain ettiquite be followed.  Put simply: rookies need to play their way into a roll and veterans need to play themselves out.  But what have we seen this year?  Ichiro was dropped from the leadoff spot, Figgins was relegated to utility duty, Olivio's gone from playing everyday to sharing his roll with Jaso and Montero, and now, League's played himself out of the closer roll. 
Keep calm, carry on, and let's win some ball games.
- Ben.


That was exactly the vibe I got from his quotes last night ... that this call is made above his pay grade.  
At BJOL there's been some discussion of the Papelbon situation in Boston - a situation to which James is close, of course - and we were told that Papelbon wouldn't have been removed as closer no matter WHAT.
"We're not going to make a decision the same day of the ballgame" is straight out of the Chuck Knox playbook, too.
The org wants to win worse than we do, but the "make 'em earn it" mantra has shot them in the foot on Capps and Pryor.  IMHO.


My guess is that a demotion from closer wouldn't actually hurt League's trade value that much.
It says here that with Gil Meche, there were about 15 teams that realized if he changed his pitch mix and tweaked his mechanics, they'd have a big sleeper.
I think in this case there are about 25 teams that realize that Brandon League is a pitch-selection change away from being a big time closer.  Probably they have his mechanics spied out, too.
The guy throws 97, has a Sasaki split and he's five days away from being a star.  I tell ya, that's how teams will see him.  I'm tellin' ya :- )


Happens all the time ... we rant and rave about Figgy and a week later, the MLB(TM) code allows them to pull the trigger on the obvious...
Don' sweat it Ben... they know that our role is to pound our spoons and that their role is to turn the ship according to the star charts... this is a baseball chat, not an audit filing...


The same rational that assumes there will be a market for Figgins just as soon as he has a 2 'fer 3 game, so we keep him and not Wells.

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Chat: 6/29
Interests: SportsHistory Book (179597)
SSI Weekend chat
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-06-30 14:22

And although it was just some prospects for trumbo... it was still potential talent for a definate avg to mediocre guy. Lots of question marks on that deal

2015-06-30 14:10

I think the Trumbo deal really sealed it for me with Jack Zduriencik. I thought the move to bring in Welington Castillo made sense. It was a low-profile move, but it made sense to bring in another catcher that you feel like you can send out there twice a week or whatever. But getting rid of that guy in favor of a one-dimensional power hitter just didn't make sense to me.

2015-06-30 13:57

Regarding Cruz, if it was me I'd mostly be interested in getting his salary off the #Books.

2015-06-30 13:55

The site is acting buggy right now. When I open up an individual blog post, it's fine for a few seconds but then there seems to be some kind of refresh that kicks me out and sends me back to the main page.

2015-06-30 13:53

don't think we'll get much for Cruz unless he finishes strong this season. Needs to end the year with career-best totals for us to win any trade involving him.

2015-06-30 13:14

I could see Cruz getting flipped. With 3 years left on his deal, the new GM may not want to risk carrying the risk of his age 36, 37, and 38 seasons if someone else is willing to take it on.

2015-06-30 13:03

Yep, the new guy will be expected to be different from the old guy. Everyone can deliver on being different. Being better? aye there's the rub.

2015-06-30 12:52

I agree with GLS. Not in favor of massive roster moves..historically no matter the regime equals immediate changes.

2015-06-30 12:46

If they have a mandate to win now, the newcomer will off-load contracts that interfere with adding better talent if he can...and will otherwise trade away all of Z's prospects but the ones in which he actually believes, as Z did with Bavasi's. You will see an epic string of prospect swaps.

2015-06-30 12:36

Getting back to the Mariners, I'm not necessarily advocating huge roster churn so much as that's simply the direction that I see things going. It seems like a virtual certainty at this point that Zduriencik will be replaced with someone. We don't know who that is yet, but what we do know is that with Felix, Cano, and Seager all signed long term, the new GM will have much more of a "win now" mandate. Probably, that means taking a fresh look at the roster, top to bottom, and then doing some wheeling and dealing to try and right the ship.

2015-06-30 11:45

Then again he has a strong run game and D that you think of first when thinking of the Hawks. Nevertheless, pay the man

2015-06-30 11:44

One ring to boot..and DHOULD have a second

2015-06-30 11:44

He also has the most wins ever by a qb in their first 3 years.

2015-06-30 11:43

I think he will end up being highest paid. Anymore when a franchise qb redoes their contract it seems like they end up being highest paid. FLACCO and Rodgers most recently

2015-06-30 11:42

Sadly though they need to make him whole at the same time. 8 backup qbs make more than he does currently

2015-06-30 11:42

I agree he needs to.finally get a contract, and it a ton.. just dunno.about highest paid

2015-06-30 11:26

I would do it. Franchise QBs don't grow on trees.

2015-06-30 11:17

I know it's a change of subject, but it's going to be huge offseason story. What do we think about making Wilson the highest payed player in the NFL

2015-06-30 11:15

Great point. I sure wouldn't goto a squad with a #History of just trade baiting

2015-06-30 11:13

A Marlinificated fire #Sale is the last degradation before the Mariners lose all respect and credibility. Vot next? Zduriencik for Manager? The problem is that if you blow up too much, no respectable free agent will sign with you because he won't want to get bounced to a different team every July. Buy low, sell high. Now, Mariners' field stock is at a low point. HOLD. You heard it here first.

2015-06-30 11:08

Ya. Any time their is a regime change you have to almost expect it. Someone is going

2015-06-30 10:31

I wouldn't sell at the deadline. Not much point in that. But, I'll say again, in the offseason, when the new GM comes in, I expect there will be some wheeling and dealing. Walker, Paxton, Elias, #Montgomery, Zunino, Miller, Taylor - some or all of those guys could go in exchange for other pieces.

2015-06-30 08:52

Ya. Don't blow it up.. gotta wait on it. Braves made some sense to blow it up. Farm system got much better REAL fast

2015-06-30 08:11

Yeah, once again we are just good enough (and without tradable assets) to not get much benefit from blowing it up. Really have to hope for all the under performers to turn it around. We are going to age fast too.. our window is probably next year and *maybe* 2017.

2015-06-30 08:04

Unfortunately I keep thinking it will happen...and it just hasnt. Glimpses at best

2015-06-30 08:03

I agree. They have to just ride it out at this point and hope things come together.

2015-06-30 07:40

If the M's become sellers at the deadline, who can really be traded - not just dumped but actually traded for something of value? Happ? Trumbo? Furbush? Morrison? What, realistically, are you going to get for those guys? A #2 catcher? A bullpen arm? A few flawed prospects?

The org is going to need the young starters in order to have any shot at fielding a competitive roster in 16, so I have to think that Walker, Paxton and Elias are off limits. Ditto Felix and Seager. Cano is not tradeable. Cruz...I guess could get moved but then they are right back trying to find a RH bat to hit in the heart of the order for 16, so I think not.

2015-06-30 07:07

I mean our record is similiar to the ATL braves... a team who just got rid of everyone. Got a bunch of avg older vets and some young nobodies..

2015-06-30 07:03

Really hoping for a good run these next games b4 the break. Gotta live teams that look good on paper

2015-06-29 12:25

Why not...they play like a farm team.

2015-06-29 12:05

Salt Lake is the Angels' farm team. The Mariners should not become the Angels' farm team.

2015-06-29 10:50

LOL Rick...just suggested Mormons because the problem with their front office is the lack of a clear direction (committee steering is like steering a herd of spiders)

2015-06-29 10:44

I dunno, Matt. What has BYU won recently?

2015-06-29 07:45

Ya. Maybe it's just too bad some had them for wschamps... high expectations can be the devil

2015-06-29 07:27

little bit snake bitten every year.

2015-06-29 06:27

Yesterday past ball.. day before cano overthrow goose egg....lil snake bitten this year

2015-06-29 05:48

Sean Kemp power dunks would help us forget

2015-06-29 05:47

Where's the super sonics ehen you need them?

2015-06-29 04:11

Maybe they should move to #Salt_Lake_City and benefit from some Mormon clarity of purpose.