Friday, April 21, 2006

Surprises/Frustrations so far

Usually we think of pleasant surprises, but some of the surprises for the M's at this early point in the season are far from pleasant. The fact that they are problems we've had before makes them not only disappointments, but frustrations.

But first, the good surprises (from my subjective point of view, of course):
  • Jose Lopez can actually hit at the major league level
  • Joel Pineiro has stopped getting worse (thanks in part to an improved GB/FB ratio)
  • Raul Ibanez hasn't fallen off the table (let's hope the M's can still realize that he's about at the end of his productive career, and follow Branch Rickey's advice that it's better to lose a player a year early than a year late)
  • Kenji Jojima is all that we hoped for and more. There is no curse of the Mariner catcher
  • Betancourt isn't completely futile at the plate, though his OBP is still below .300.

Disapointments and Frustrations:

  • Where did the Ichiro that we all know go?
  • Let's hope Richie Sexson is getting back on track. He's in the second of four years on his contract.
  • Can we say Carl Everett is a disappointment, or did we expect him to be this far below replacement-level DH?
  • Adrian Beltre. Let's play "Which one of these is not like the others?"
    • 835, 721, 729, 714, 1017, 716
    Those are Beltre's OPS numbers starting in 2000. The good news is that his current OPS of 417 isn't going to stay that low. The bad news is that he could improve a lot and still be way overpaid at ~$13M. Unfortunately, the curse of the Mariner third baseman is alive and well.
Not having been able to watch or listen to many games, I'm going to leave the critique of strategies of Mike Hargrove to others, but from all accounts, he's been quite frustrating as well.

The result is that the M's are neither hopeless or dominant, teasing us with excitement and ability at times, while aggravating us with incosistency and blown opportunities. (Four walks, Eddie? Ouch.) Every year in Kansas City, however, reminds me that it could always be worse--all I have to do is look at the local team.