Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Boy is my arm tired 

And no, I'm not channelling Gil Meche, who was moved into the Sunday start, and may then also come back and pitch Thursday. Not sure why, unless the goal is to milk as many miles from Good Gilgamesh before we lose him to (free agency/injury/Bad Gilgamesh). It does save miles on the arm of Prince Felix (who has some work to do before I recrown him, but he'll always be El Cartelua to me), so that's good. I get leery when I see that Gil is averaging 105+ pitches per outing this year.

Interesting debate on Gil Meche is going on. Has he turned a corner, and therefore we should lock him up before he becomes a free agent. Or is this another Gilgamesh illusion like the end of 2004 and we should look to trade him for quality prospects as his value will never be higher. USSM takes the pessimistic (surprise, surprise) view that Gil is done because of the fact that his HR/FB ratio is luck and he hasn't really reduced FB because FB/GB ratio has not changed. Got that? My seemingly-fellow-optimist, Dr. Detecto, counters with the fact that these statistical analysis are not set in stone, and you can tell by the way batters look inept against Gil that he is a new pitcher.

My brain REALLY wants to side with USSM, and avoid putting my heart out there that Gil Meche has truly turned a corner. I am a math guy, and I actually like Dave's arguments. But there is no doubting that the hitters look more off-put against Gil than I ever recall. I believe we are seeing the new improved Gilgamesh and will for awhile.

Here is my thought on what to do. Offer Meche a 3-year, $20M contract TODAY. Its half what we blew on Washburn, and represents a tough chunk of change for Gil to turn down (could you turn down $20M if you had Gil's history). Take the discount while you can get it. If Gil says that he wants to go the free agency route, then he is traded before July is over. There is too much risk in both his mental and physical makeup to get in a bidding war over Gil Meche that may see him get Jarrod Washburn like money. Pitch him only at home until then to maximize his success and keep his trade value up and then send him off to someone (the Mets!) for an outfielder (Lastings Milledge) and some pitching prospects (Mike Pelfrey). Throw in a cranky RF (Carl Everett) with World Series experience if you must.

A side context to this whole debate is whether the M's should be buyers or sellers in this offseason. The two trades appear to send mixed signals, as we dealt a prospect for a veteran in one, and a veteran for a prospect in the other. Yet, it is clear that Bavasi is gearing up for a playoff run, by trading an ineffective veteran to help the M's win more games, and acquiring a much-needed lefty masher. Now, if we can just get Hargrove the Horrible to get on board the same train we'll be okay. I've never seen a manager so misuse the tools given to him by a team.

With all are deals, we should be looking at both 2006 AND 2007. This team is poised for a big step forward in 2007, as its got most of the young pieces in place to allow us to spend a bit on a CF upgrade and top of the rotation pitcher. It will also contend in 2006, and the AL West is ripe for the taking. After two seasons of pathetic play, Mariner fans deserve a playoff run. Combine that with the fact that Bill Bavasi likes his job, and I think the M's will be buyers in July. I trade involving Jeremy Reed seems like a distinct possibility.

Oh yeah, my arm. I know the reason y'all have even read this long is to find out how I did in my tennis tournament. Better than I had hoped. I lost in the semifinals of 4.0 singles to the eventual champion (think a 4.0 Rafael Nadal), and am in the third set of the 4.5 doubles finals (3rd set washed away and to be finished on Wednesday). Unfortunately, it left me without enough energy/game to win an all important mixed doubles pairing with Mrs. Optimist against the club champs (collapsed in the third set). So, all my good tennis counts for nothing on the homefront, and I need to find ways to make Mrs. Optimist happy again. Tonight, I'll be "resting" at home with the kids while Mrs. Optimist takes out her frustrations on the tennis courts. That means I'll be able to see Jose Lopez homer in the All-Star Game, and can look forward to seeing more of Gil Meche on Thursday.

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