Still chipping off the rust
And one pitch too many

Let's start off with this:  T. Walker is a rusty 21-year old, if such a thing is possible.  After his start yesterday he's thrown 65 innings this year, only 15 in the bigs.  So he was probably a rusty nervous 21-yr old, too.  

He's still only thrown 30 innings, total, in the majors.  That's it.  I'll give him the nervous thing.

But in those 30 innings he's only allowed 20 hits.  This was his 6th MLB game.  Just for comparison, in Nolan Ryan's 5th MLB game it took him 135 pitches to go 7 innings.  He only gave up 3 hits but walked 7.  He was also 21 years old.  

I'm not trying to directly compare the two.....Just sayin'.

But Walker has got this going for him: mechanically he's pretty darn sound.  Here's his release point graph from yesterday's start.  I realize that he chucked up there 70% heaters, but clearly he's not searching for a consistent release point.

And I'll differ to a degree with Docs assessment of his curveball:  he threw it 11 times and 8 were for strikes.

Bad guys swung at only three of those, so there was some decent foolery going on.  Only two were put into play, none for hits.  It's almost an Ephus pitch to some degree.  His heater lives at 94-95 MPH and can go higher.  But his curve is clearly a slurvey offering at 73-76 MPH.  There's is a 20 MPH difference between the two.  No wonder batters are frozen.

Brooks is labeling his 87.4 MPH pitch as a splitter.  He only threw it only 6 times.  He threw his 92 MPH cutter only 5 times.  I'm suggesting that Zunino jettison one of this pitches for the time being. I don't care which.  Pick the better and dump the other.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  Remember, he's still a kid.

In his two posts Doc has suggested that Walker, in some way, might be seen as a very pretty bauble (my words) but one that isn't necessarily needed, what with the development of K-Pax, The Bartender and our Cuban.

All true.  And it's true that his 6 years isn't 6 anymore.

To all of that I'll simply add that we're dealing with a guy who has a huge potential upside.  Huge.  Doc points that out well with his Clemens' mention.  If you roll T. Walker and Franklin into a Price right now, you get 43 Price starts over a year and change.  

Unless Price is going all Kershaw/Hershiser/Drysdale on the AL and rolls out 50 consecutive shutout innings he may not account for many wins if we can't score runs.  If Price hit like Drysdale and we could DH him on off days, that would help, certainly.  But he doesn't.

Price is a great arm.  The M's are floundering and need to make a move.  I would prefer that move is for a bat but if we're in a T. Walker for Price deal, straight up, I could probably stomach that.  But there is a huge potential in our 21-yr old.  Is it worth 43 starts of a one great year workhorse, but one who regularly throws out 3.0 FIP numbers?  He's likely our #3, BTW.  

If you give up Walker right now how much better of a chance do you have to make the playoffs this year with Price?  10%?  20%  If we have a 30% shot right now, does Price get us to 40%?

I don't know the answer to that. But if you move Walker and Franklin and you don't get there this year you're in a position next where you still haven't made the big upgrade to your offense.  And now you probably can't afford it.  You better hope the kiddy bats get here soon and in a big way.

None of this is intended to discount Price or inflate Walker.  We know what each brings.  

But I think that since we've (seemingly) been "waiting" on Walker for "so" long it seems like he's never going to get where he once promised to go.  The Paxton wait exacerbates that, I think.

I'm not frustrated with Taijuan Walker.  Not at all.  I'm frustrated with an organization who has known for 50 games that we had a Wild Card shot and we were in need of another bat in a big way.  Yet here it is, the 11th hour, and weve done not one thing.  Maybe all of our efforts have been brushed aside by potential trading partners.  Maybe.

Maybe not.

I know this is not Doc's point, but I'm not advocating trading Walker simply because I'm frustrated with the FO.  And if I'm the FO, I'm not trading him just to prove we can do something.

I fear that Jack Z. became fixated on Price and Zobrist 3 months ago and has not been able to see (or desire) the other nice things that he might buy, and more cheaply.  Clearly he knows more baseball than I ever will, But at some point in our 7th-10th grade lives we all figured out the girl of our dreams (be she Farrah Fawcett or the hotty down the street) was unlikely to become Mrs. Moe or Mrs. Mojo or Mrs. Matt.  We didn't settle for less, we got realistic.

What scares me, is the reoccuring image that the M's FO could have used a huge dose of realistic for the last couple of months.  A resurgent Smoak or reborn Hart or ripping Chavez...realistic?

I don't know.

I do know that I love Walker's upside.  I'll cherish it and treat it carefully.  But then, I promised that in 10th grade to the hotty down the street.  

The little tart broke my heart.

I suppose she was good preparation for the M's.

Go team.









drm's picture

So far all the trades have been for pitching, which is not our big need. We'd be better off if we did need pitching and not hitting. I bet we could have been in some of these trades. Plus, everybody knows what we need and how badly we need it. I wonder if they are asking for the world from us? If so, I can't blame Jack Z. not paying it.


Enjoyed it very much, Moe. Good complement to Doc's. Whatever Jack does here, he will be judged for it. Choose wisely, because this organization don't cover mistakes with more cash.


Too many good metaphors to count.
Favorite line: "We didn't settle for less, we got realistic."


Price is a very good pitcher BUT>>>
1. In 4 starts in the play-offs, Price is ZERO wins, FOUR losses, and an ERA of 5+... he is no guarantee to lead us anywhere
2. At his current pace, Price will throw 250+ innings in the regular season. Price has NEVER thrown more than 225 innings in the regular season
3. Price is $14 million this year... so he will be roughly $20 million NEXT year... how many dollars are going to be left from THIS Mariner management team once Price is on board... I think you can safely cross off anyone most of us have ever heard of.


Way to keep the steady hand at the tiller, mate.  The over-arcing point ... a "21 year old who is rusty" ... that's going to be tough to defeat if yer stick with it.
On the curve ... ya, yesterday the results looked pretty good.  My own thinking:  
A change curve is a vurrrrrrry dangerous pitch to mess with unless you got it nailed (Iwakuma has abandoned his)
Big overhand curves don't usually get called for strikes 
He threw it only 11 times (like is a WR reverse is a bread-and-butter play because 2 reverses got 21 yards?)
From a visual standpoint, it was scary
But yeah.  So far this year I would definitely call the curve his #2 pitch.   If he could just get a little sharper with that, or with anything, he could keep the QS comin'.
And like we sez, that's what he's been GIVING the M's -- 2-run short starts.

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