Fungible Relief Pitchers in the 8th and 9th innings
one man's "intangibles" are another man's "derivations of the measurable"


Casey Stengel once sourly pulled a young catcher from the lineup, because the backstop insisted on "pitching backwards."  Called way too many breaking pitches on 0-0 and 1-0.  "He can't hit the curve, so he doesn't think anybody else can, either," groused Casey.  And therein lies a Zen koan, somewhere.  Don't let Casey's quip slide by you too quick.  There was a certain Zen monk who had a WAR table and couldn't figure out why you would trade Wil Myers for James Shields ....

:- )

Jerry DiPoto's relief career left much to be desired.  He couldn't stifle an opposing lineup for one inning, so he doesn't think Carson Smith can, either.

Sorry.  Mojician beat me to it, but it was too easy.  ... and we're just kidding Jerry.  You were a world-class athlete; Dr. D was not.

But STILL :- /


DiPoto's theory is that you only see a reliever post a nice statline after he had a lucky year.  Obviously you put an asterisk on Joaquin Benoit and Andrew Miller; the world is complex.  But in the main, you can't control relief pitching.  So, set yourself up for Draws at the Deck.  SSI has very little problem with a Draws at the Deck philosophy, seeing it originated with us.  As did, I'm pretty sure, the phrase Stars & Scrubs (yes, really).

This theory is (1) perfectly feasible and (2) deliciously contrarian, coming in the face of Holland-Davis-Hochevar-Herrera, not to mention Rivera and all the other super-bullpens that have hoisted the trophy.  Dr. D likes contrarian.  Finally (3) DiPoto wants to put the pressure on the rotation -- as the 2014 Giants did -- which is also great by me.  It would be nice, though, if he'd go get a rotation.  That being the case.


The recipe for a Jerry DiPoto victory over the pesky rodent Angels is jelling in front of our very eyes:

1.  Wade Miley goes 7.0 IP, scatters 7 hits, allows 2 runs, as he did against Texas last year.  Leonydas makes one real nice grab in RCF, and the Safeco Wall makes a real nice absorption of one other fly in LCF.

2.  Miley hands the ball to Benoit, who has no trouble getting three outs before a runner crosses the plate.

3.  Benoit hads the ball to Cishek, who walks one and gives up a single before a double-play ends the game.

4.  Meanwhile, Aoki and Seager and Clevenger and the rest of the "floor" comes up with half-a-dozen walks and scratch singles.

5.  One of the big boys hits one into the gap with a coupla men on and, by the time nine innings have gone by, you've pushed across 4 runs in Safeco.

Actually if Dr. D had any pride he'd have podcast-recreated a sim game for you.  But he doesn't, so you didn't.  Still and all, the above recipe is a lot more coherent than any committee coulda come up with.


Besides all that:  whether it works or whether it doesn't, it's going to put Seattle Mariner players into the habit of challenging you, the way the Los Angeles Angels do.  That part, we can get down with.  The logic goes --- > K/BB theory --- > control the strike zone --- > influence players to battle on 1-2 counts --- > cause players to have UP seasons.  The circle of logic flows wayyyyy beyond our formulas, but that doesn't make it untrue.

One man says "Po-tay-toe;" another says Po-Tot-oh.  One blog says "intangibles and baloney;" another blog, far more advanced don'cha know, says "Fourth derivation of the measurable effects."  Where does Baseball Prospectus tell me what causes a HI or LO season upcoming for Steve Clevenger?  Well, they can't hit the curve ball, so they don't think anybody else can, either...

Jerry thinks he does know what causes HI and LO seasons.  (In other parts of the world it's called the Cardinal Way.)  I, for one, am willing to see it occur.  I certainly have had my fill of seeing things that cause Justin Smoak seasons.


Dr D



"It would be nice, though, if [DiPoto]'d go out and get a rotation."

Heh. Heh. Good zinger, Doc.

Stacked up against the better rotations in the game, DiPoto's doesn't hold a candle unless both Taijuan and James hit their ceiling (or close to it) in 2016 AND Felix has one of his better good years. Most opposing lineups are going to come out of the on-deck circle wearing "No Fear" T-shirts under their uniform. Some of them might wear it OVER their uniform.

We shall see how it goes. I'd feel much better if we'd signed a true #2 and give Walker another year of solid progression before needing him to be a TOR, but it's clear the bean counters only trot out payroll concessions when the folks with their pitchforks have broken into the keep and the first stabs have actually drawn blood.

Firing Jack and hiring Jerry bought the suits a year where selling the new regime should suffice. No need to be too hasty with the "competitiveness" thing. These guys milked Jack for four or five years of payroll reduction before the heat in the kitchen got too hot.

It would be nice, though, if he'd go get a rotation. - See more at:

Dipoto's bullpen philosophy:  1) Roll 'em in and out until you find the hot arm 2) Don't overpay for BP guys because they live crap shoot professional lives  3)  Use your own BP guys as expendable chits, selling high and getting guys that play "larger" roles.

OK, I can agree with that in principle (it isn't a new paradigm at all, btw.  It is the way it was played until you get into the 70's).....but recent MLB success stories don't quite agree.  Those stories suggest that you get big time power arms, several of them, and then you use them liberally when ahead.  

Benoit fits that type of philosophy.  Cishek not so much.  Bass, Aro, Zych, Scribner, De Fratus not not not so much.  Cishek had 23 innings that were nice last year....but just 23.  He was lousy in '14.  Zych's MLB WHIP (in 18 innings) was .3 below his AA/AAA numbers.  None of the other guys had an ERA+ of 100+ last year.

The new GM is seemingly betting that he's Money-Balled the league; by undervalueing the BP he can invest in other guys.

Either that or he's gaming the other GM's and still seeking bomb-proof BP'ers. 

I hope that's the case.  If Benoit thows like he's 38 next season, then we've got Apollo 13 type problem on our hands.  

Keep the duct tape handy.


... by all means flip them out for bigger pieces.  Including your closer.  If you got K-Rod, Donnelly, Gregg and Shields behind Percival, by all means shed Percival and ? for a Kyle Seager.  Ka-Ching

I missed the part where we got K-Rod in reserve, but DiPoto is uncommonly far-sighted. ...

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