Another day, another roster move for Mariners manager Eric Wedge. Why call up Alex Liddi? Well suddenly the Mariners have a shortage of first basemen types with Justin Smoak and Michael Morse banged up and Dustin Ackley in Triple A.
"With Morse and Smoak working through some things, we’re probably going to need another position player, especially with a National League game," he said. "So we won’t need another starter until Sunday. Obviously we’ll have to make another move at that point or do something. So we got Liddi up here who can play first or third or the outfield, too.”
So who will be starting that game on Sunday? Will it be Blake Beavan or Hector Noesi or Jeremy Bonderman? Wedge knows who it will be, but isn't telling.
"Yeah, but nothing we’re going to release just yet," he said. "But yeah, we do.”
As for Morse, he isn't here today.
“We’re trying to give him a little time away from flying, just the pressure part of it. That’s why we’ve waited and will wait one more day."
Morse will likely join the team in Minnesota, if not tomorrow.
“Morse got checked out today and they’re still hoping it’s going to be something minimal, hopefully in that 3-5 day range," Wedge said. "Smoak is better again today. He’s going to take some BP today and then go from there. I was watching him work earlier and he was noticeably better, so I think we’re going to be OK there.”
As for Maurer, the decision was necessary.
“It’s never just one game, we looked at the collective work and the way I feel is it’s somewhat similar to Ackley in regard to what they’re going through," Wedge said. "But it’s different because it’s his first time up here, he’s a starting pitcher and he’s going to go to Triple-A, which he’s never been to, so it’s still an elevated level from last year with so much more experience and how much more he’s learned about himself and the big leagues."
What Maurer needs to work on is pretty simple.
"The biggest thing is just staying consistent with his tempo and mindset and approach over the course of the game," Wedge said. "Yesterday was a good example. He starts out good, then things start to happen and he tries to do a little bit more. That’s when you lose release point and command and that’s where he gets into trouble. It’s not that his pitches weren’t doing what they need to do. His stuff is legit. He’s going to be a big-league pitcher for a long time. But he just has to get himself in the right position to execute pitches consistently throughout the course of a game.”
And then there is the controversy that Wedge made with his comments about sabermetrics, Ackley and other stuff. It's become a bit of a whirlwind as many of the prominent voices in the saber community have voiced their displeasure with him .
I was there for that conversation. I really didn't think it was a big deal. And I certainly didn't think he was implying that sabermetric thinking had ruined Ackley's approach. Then again, I really don't know what Ackley's approach is at the plate or if he really has one. But that's for another post. Basically, I don't feel like getting involved in these little tiffs between the baseball establishment and the new saber guard. I see value in both sides. And people are free to have their opinions on baseball -- just look at my twitter mentions sometime.
So I'm pretty much done with this whole thing after today.
So Wedge was asked about it today.
"Yeah I heard that. I’ve been hearing that all day as a matter of fact. Hey I use the numbers as much as anybody. I use the numbers in Cleveland. And Cleveland was on the first teams to really dive into it with Mark Shapiro leading the way. So I’ve always been a big fan of using the numbers.
But you are talking about one comment and they weren’t there for the entire conversation. We are talking about the mental side of it. We were talking about Ackley. That’s not the reason Ackley was having issues at home plate. What I’m talking about is this recent generation of players that has come up in the sabermetrics world. It’s something that’s out there and people know how important it is. What you can’t do is play this game with fear. You have to go out there and play and when you get your first good pitch to take a whack at, you have to take a whack at it. People stress so much getting deeper in counts and drawing walks, it’s almost a backward way of looking at it.
When I bust somebody’s chops or make a joke at it, you can take it in a light-hearted way or you can take it personally. Quite frankly, I don’t care either way. But the fact of the matter is, sabermetrics is a part of the game of baseball. It has been for a while.
It’s my job to see it from all ways. What people have to see is these are human beings. They are not widgets. It’s not XYZ corporation – something out of a book. These are human beings. And that’s the thing you have to factor in the most. They have emotions. They have families. You have ups and downs and everything that goes a long with it. Things you can’t read on a piece of paper. But it’s most definitely part of it. I use it each and every day. It’s not the end all. It’s not just black and white. It’s gotta be a nice blend between the human factor and the numbers. You have to be able to go out there and motivate these guys and treat them as human beings as well. So for those who I offended, I’m sorry about that. One thing you have to have in this game is broad shoulders and a thick skin that’s something that is part of it too.To be fair, I've often heard Wedge talk about Morse and Morales and Montero (so many times) being more selective and not swing at everything.
"It’s an approach," he said. "But it’s more about the mental side, the mindset. You talk about approach, you’re talking about the mindset. I’ve been down this road with I can’t tell you how many players. Some get it, some don’t. The best hitters, the ones that get on base, are the ones up there hunting the baseball from pitch one, with a focus and an approach. And guess what? They’re up there ready to whack the first one, but they’re also going to take their walks because they’re seeing the ball that much better because they’re in that mindset.
You can’t wait for the ball to be released, and then decide if it’s going to be a ball or strike, then decide if you’re going to swing. It’s just too damn quick. You have to be in a hit mode, you have to be in a yes yes yes yes mode, and then decide to stop your swing or not. Beltre is a good example. When he takes some pitches, he does that little hippety hot step. He’s doing everything he can not to swing, but he’s in swing mode. And he gets on base. That’s what you have to do. Kendrys Morales is up there ready to hit. But he still gets on base. Smoaker is doing a better job of that. He’s ready to hit. He’ll start to drive the ball a little bit more, which you saw on the last road trip. But he walks and gets on base."Here's a few more comments ...
The internet and everything else, the information that’s out there, they’re human beings, too. If you’re on it, they’re on it, too, I’m sure. You here all the baseball experts say you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. Again, there’s a way to go about doing it where you can have the best of both worlds. You’ve got to be ready to hit. You can be both ready to hit be disciplined at the same time. That’s the mental approach.
I’m all about getting on base, but I’m about hitting, too. People have to understand: You can’t go up there looking for a walk and expect to be a big-leaguer very long. Nobody’s stayed up here by just walking. You’ve got to hit, too. You can get deep in the count all you want, but eventually you have to hit. It’s just not a black and white thing like some people think. I can’t explain it any better than that.