M's 8, Cubs 7 - Quick Takes
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It's been a cold winter, hadn't it?  :- )

Detect-O-Vision gets to take its hacks off the big, bright 60" high-def TV this morning.  As you know, we live to serve.


Abraham Almonte

McTeacher's Pet.  Literally the only* guy in camp not playing well, too.  He's 4-for-30 including 26 three-hop bouncers on the infield.  As Dr. Lasker said, the theater of war despises petted favorites, and breeds heroes...

That 4-for-30 ain't off of Yu Darvish, seeing as Yu Darvish doesn't pitch in the Cactus League.  Almonte is swinging badly against VERY fringe pitching.  's OK.  He's still McTeacher's Pet.  Abraham Almonte will have to do a whale of a lot to blow his starting gig.

Of course SSI hasn't blown off AA because of two bad weeks.  We're just saying.  ... but you do realize certainly isn't a foregone conclusion that this guy is a 3-WAR player.  Or that he can play in the bigs at all.  Or if he can, that it won't take him Bill James' 90 games to adjust to the pitching pool. 

The M's land a bat, he's OBVIOUSLY the guy who hits the bench.  Unless McTeacher wants to slide (even) further down Dr. D's mud list.  

We're talking about freezing out *Michael Saunders* here, you know.  Granted, the cream will rise to the top.  Dr. D is wringing his hands about the scenario in which Almonte ---> elbows in front of 1,656-AB Michael Saunders and --- > receives 200 AB's merely to prove he's Trayvon Robinson.  We've spent the developmental time on guys now.

If McLendon doesn't get married to Almonte, we're good here.  But will he?


*AA is the only guy playing badly except for Hart and LoMo -- the two players who fulfilled all of Zduriencik's promises to Robinson Cano.


Kyle Seager

Swiped second tonight by two knuckles of his left index finger.  In case you missed the memo, McClendon wants his kids to run.  

In case you missed the other memo, Dr. D believes that if you're not a certified 30-SB man, you should go headfirst into second base.  Seager does so.  Which figures.  They made a "Kyle Seager is Old School" commercial and included nothing actually interesting about the matter ... such as Seager being safe instead of out because he's willing to dive in.

McClendon has told them to run?  That's good.  Know why?

He's got the kids playing loose.  He does.  McClendon and Robinson Cano have 'em in a real good state of mind, no doubts there.


Robinson Cano

Is batting .632 in eight games.  Small "sample size"?  Don't forget to include his time at the WBC for the Dominican.  We're talking Robinson Cano Outside of Derek Jeter's Vampire-Captain Hypno-Fog.

Two ridonkculous doubles:  

  • He waited on a slow curve and casually lashed it down the 1B line
  • He got a first-pitch 92 MPH fastball outside and alertly lashed it down the 3B line

Like Cito Gaston said about Edgar Martinez:  make a mistake to that guy and there is no telling where the ball is going to wind up.

Have to confess I'd never watched him, y'know?  I knew he was great.  I didn't know he was sublime.  He almost brought tears to my eyes.


Justin Smoak

The TV guys said that Cano has singled out --- > Justin Smoak for under-the-wing-age.  And that the "fence drills," the ones that teach a batter to hit the inside half of the ball, are --- > ongoing.

In the first inning, James McDonald (touching 95 MPH) worked Smoak to 3-2, and then fired a 92 MPH jam pitch wayyyy in onto Smoak's hands.  Smoak pulled the hands wayyyy in, barrelled it, and WHOCKKK! hit a home run* down the 1B line. 

The crowd oooh'ed and aaah'ed as the ball left the bat.  (*As it happened, this park held the fly ball down the line; Safeco probably wouldn't have held it.)  The point is, Smoak got a hellacious jam pitch and crushed it as if he were Robinson Cano.

On-field evidence that the fence drill is --- > taking?  There it was, live and in 60" HD.


If you missed the previous articles:  

  • Hitting the INSIDE half of the baseball is the SOLID approach
  • Hitting the OUTSIDE half of the baseball is the AMBITIOUS approach
  • Smoak did not know how to hit the inside half of the ball ("the fence drill felt really awkward at first")

Smoak's running a 1:1 EYE ratio, is cat-quick at the plate, and I'm blinkin' likin' it.


Logan Morrison

Hey, I didn't know this guy was a topspin hitter, did you?

But!  That's all I liked about him.  Tonight, anyway.  I certainly didn't see a 30-homer swing.  I didn't see a .300 AVG under any circumstances.  I didn't see sixty walks.  So what is another lefthander doing here?

He's got a lower body that fights itself.  He's got a static arm swing that doesn't accelerate with any authority.  He just topswings at the ball without torque - John Jaso plus some size, but minus the fluidity and relaxation.  This guy isn't camouflaged by injury; he's fouled up.  Sure, he's a big league player and he can OPS+ a lukewarm 110 from his extreme-bat position.  Lefty.  So what?

Question for you:  do teams ever flip guys like Logan Morrison a month after they import them?  Would that be against code?  Three AB's and I want the guy gone.

No, we're serious.  Would it be against code to get Logan Morrison out of here?  If the M's could find something they could actually use?  I think it would be.  Against code.  Could be wrong.


NEXT --- >





At present...Saunders is not frozen out...if we add Kendrys Morales or trade for a guy...THEN Saunders is frozen out. And I will find that a bit frustrating if Saunders is passed on in favor of Abe Almonte...and I like Almonte.
I also like McClendon, despite his peccadilloes - he's got the most important job down pat (getting the kids to play with gusto and excitement). And he seems to have forged a strong relationship with Montero...which is, all by itself, justification for his salary.


McClendon has just been gushing over Abe.  And, yes, the M's need a CF and leadoff guy, and Abe is a good story.  But McClendon sounds an awful lot like he's trying to justify a decision that he's already made when the results aren't bearing it out.
Let's just hope he shows flexibility as the season goes along.
And, for me, Morrison seems to be a spare part that doesn't fit.  They don't have him playing in the OF, and if we're going to have an extra bat at 1b/DH, then it should be a RH bat.
I liked the concept, and still do, but it doesn't seem to be working.
If Montero makes the team with his bat, then I think they could justify flipping LoMo on the grounds that they didn't foresee how LH the team would get, and that Montero gives them the RH DH they need.


Logan does look stiff, and out of sorts... and my guess is that he just has not learned to trust his new knees - or there still is some pain going on.
Hopefully LoMo is not too stubborn to let the coaches know when things do not feel right.

OBF's picture

Capps wasn't nothing, so I would hate to see LoMo just thrown away... but a couple of month in Tacoma getting his swing right may be just what the doctor ordered...


My understanding is that Noesi is the only one on the 40-man out of options.  LoMo's stints in the minors have been rehab assignments.


Interesting you were mentioning really "watching" Cano. I've seen him but also not paid super-close attention to just how in control the man is with a bat in his hands. He looks so cool up there, like he's going to stroke a double on every pitch. If he doesn't like the pitch, takes it with ease halfway to the plate.
This reminded me of what it felt like when Ray Allen was traded to the Sonics. You knew he was an all-star but it wasn't until you watched him 4 times a week that you realized the man could do anything on the court he wanted to, from any position at any time. Not often you get one of the best in their sport, in their PRIME, just dropping by to play for your team.

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