:: puts on GM hat ::
This bullpen = don't work. No way no how.
For my good friends who don't believe anything not expressed in alphanumeric symbols, consider that --- > the bullpen is an unpossible -0.3 WAR for the second half. Some things should have shaken out by this time, but it's getting worse, not better. True, the M's have spun enough on the Cheney Carousel to hit upchuck city several weeks back.
But you'd like for that centrifugal separation machine to toss loose at least some flakes of goodness. It has NOT done so.
Tight-lipped, he ticks off the problemos on his fingers:
1) Tom Wilhelmsen, the "closer," has 7.2 whiffs and 4.2 walks in the second half of the year. I'm not doin' that.
2) Carson Smith, the star of the pen right now, has 11 whiffs but also has 5 walks. You're hoping for him to be Jeff Nelson. That isn't a pillar holding up the tarp; it's a stilletto that you slide into the opponents' ribs if and when you can pull it free.
3) Zych, J. Ramirez, and J.C. Ramirez are flamethrowers with no command and dubious offspeed games. That makes them projects.
4) The lefty specialists, Nuno and Olmos, might actually be fine for that purpose. One of them might be the #6 reliever for me next year. "One of them" meaning Vidal Nuno.
4b) Charlie Furbush, if he's at all healthy, is in there. Obviously he's the reliable asset here. Beautiful.
5) Rob Rasmussen, Logan Kensing = you cannot be serious.
6) Dave Rollins - org asset. But has not shown me what he needs to, in order to be in my plans for 2016.
The M's need to direct their money at two bankable short men. One of these might be Mark Lowe, who left on trade day with a smirk and a wink. Since he went to Toronto he's logged 8 whiffs and 0 walks in 10 IP, while Toronto went 26-and-8. Granted, David Price helped Lowe in his efforts.
The M's need a second reliever also, not necessarily an anointed closer, but --- > somebody my scouts can affirm to be comfortable in the 9th inning. (If they're wrong, the fallback is Wilhemsen or Smith.) The big problem is that the free agents for 2016 are not exciting -- guys like Tyler Clippard and Joakim Soria are towards the front of the pack -- so you might have a $3-4M setup guy you want to give the ball to, but are offering $8M/year to him and still bidding.
The easy solution would be to stay in-house. Which leaves us where we were: -0.3 WAR in the second half as we speak.
Make a trade? Sure, how about Brentz, Rasmussen and Wells for a short man of Mark Lowe quality?
Sighhhhh. As usual, Dr. D's ideal (as it was Toronto's) would be to package 3-4 players for a reliever he really liked. Even if it's paying $1.25 on the dollar. We as fans don't know what options there are. It'll be something to watch.
Lloyd McClendon has proved that he --- > can manage a bullpen that is to his liking, and --- > can implode with a mushroom cloud, if force-fed a line of guys that bum him out. As Lou always was, he'll be in on the acquisition process. Gotta get back to 2014.
There's a major school of thought that says, if you want to turn [a collection of talent] into [a ballclub], you start in the bullpen. Bill Bavasi believed this down to his socks, which was one of the many Light Bulbs that Bill Bavasi had on brightly. You know who believed it even more? Pat Gillick. Check his four powerhouse clubs and check their 4-closer-deep pens.
The 2016 M's look like a textbook candidate for this. So glad we powerflushed Mark Lowe for dime-a-dozen bushers.
With Jose Ramirez, Tony Zych, J.C. Ramirez and to a lesser extent Mayckol Guaipe ... they're all guys with VERY live arms and no pitchability. I couldn't tell ya. Dr. D is going to just saber out here. Let them pitch and then sift the data.
Yes, you heard him right. With these four guys, we don't even wanna guess. We wanna watch and see. What next? A hearty group hug for Kam Chancellor?
Right now Dr. D isn't feeling warm and fuzzy about any of them, talented though they all are. In one sense Guaipe is ahead of the pack, since he's got a slider that --- > could be wipeout and he's learning with it. After that, I like Zych's weird, deceptive motion.
But, let 'em pitch. That's a September subplot worth watching. This rat cheer, this matters more than March '16.
COME UP TO THE LAB, SEE WHAT'S ON THE SLAB
You think Roenis Elias would buy into closing?
- Fast route to long green
- His personality is that he's only happy when he's in the thick of it
- He's 94+ for one inning, high quality change speed
- Tom Wilhemsen could deploy his 6'6" frame, overhand yakker, and starter's rhythm where they'd do some good
The more you watch the Bartender, the more miscast he looks as a reliever, like you took the young Ben Sheets or the modern Gerrit Cole and bounced them around the bullpen before they'd had a chance to figure themselves out. Or Brandon Morrow.
We're completely confident that the Mariners wouldn't even consider this move, but ... baseball history is full of Goose Gossage moves where you pulled a big star out of the deck by converting an SP/RP.
This dude was billed as a Willie Bloomquist - a middle infielder who could cover the OF when you needed him to. (This year also, he played 75% of his Rainier games in the infield. No! No! No! He's anything but that.
Wednesday, for example, a Ranger hit a low, sinking line drive single 15 yards right in front of O'Malley's feet. O'Malley came whistling in like an eagle on a trout. He took a tear-inducing swerve 2-3 feet to his right, giving him depth perception on the ball, and then dooovvvvvve onto his belly, snagging it comfortably well up in the pocket of his glove.
You did NOT just do that. "Oh yes I did baby." And that wasn't the first time. When Shawn O'Malley is in center he is like a fish in water. How is this even possible? Some guys have the gift, and Dr. D suspectis that Shawn O'Malley is among them.
So if Brad Miller is a given for CF next year, it is yin-and-yang to have an aesthetic outfielder on the bench behind him. Even Earl, with his focus on offense, would have done that.
On a second look, is it possible O'Malley could hit in the big leagues? He's got 7 walks against 4 strikeouts and he has been a tough, poised at-bat from the word Go. On the other hand, he is fully 27 years old and his life power numbers make k'TELL mar'TAY look like George Brett.
It all adds up. Go with "very fine utility player." But he may be THE utility player that the 2016 M's need. If he's here, which he might be, he's a concession to the Logo Gambit.
The Rangers sat on his fastball, and adjusted to his "slow fastballs" (the slider and changeup). The first 90 MPH "changeup" he threw, some lefty Ranger wound up and casually swatted it into the power alley, far and long and over the fence. The Choo homer was on a quality jam pitch, 94 MPH and on the hands, but here's the thing. Choo knew it was coming.
The entire game felt like a refutation of Walker's whole game. It's time for him to throw a power curve, or get that split down, or get that slider to break off the plate gloveside, and to do it routinely. John Smoltz once said he went through an entire SEASON without leaving a single splitfinger in the strike zone. This stuff about throwing slow 90 MPH fastballs waist high, it's gotta stop.
Continues to cover the ball with authority. As a hitter he reminds me a bit of the Michael Cuddyer type, Matt Lawton, Rondell White - natural line drive guy. Not saying he'll have 3,000 AB's but ... last month, he's worth a simoleon as a Post-Hype Sleeper.