A Great One for Garza and Sveum’s Cubs – Cubs 8, Brewers 0

Game Seven – Cubs 8, Brewers 0
WP – Matt Garza (1-0) LP – Zack Greinke (1-1) Save – None

wflag.jpgEverything fell into place for the Chicago Cubs on Thursday afternoon. Sveum’s team hit the ball, caught the ball and Matt Garza shut down the high-flying Brewers’ offense that scored 16 runs in the first three games of the series.

If not for his own throwing error on what should have been the final out of the game, Matt Garza would have tossed his first (fourth of his career) complete game shutout with the Cubs. Instead, Garza settled for 8 2/3 innings of three-hit ball (all singles) and tied Jeff Samardzija for the longest outing by a Cubs starter seven games into the year. Garza walked only two batters and struck out nine (Garza struck out the side in the third).

Garza admitted after the game that the ball slipped out of his hand and he was “pissed” at himself for the error that kept him from completing what he started. Garza said he understood why Dale Sveum lifted him with two outs in the ninth. Garza had already thrown 119 pitches, 83 for strikes, in his second start.

After just a miserable game Wednesday (0-for-7 with RISP and eight left on base), the Cubs offense changed their approach against Zack Greinke.

The Cubs scored a season-high eight runs on 13 hits and finished the day 7-for-12 with runners in scoring position, left only four runners on base and were 5-for-5 with RISP in the six-run third inning that pretty much ended Zack Greinke’s day.

The Cubs knocked Greinke out of the game with two outs in the fourth. The offense scored eight runs on nine hits against Greinke after he retired the first six batters he faced. Greinke strikeout five and issued one free pass. The Cubs scored all eight runs in two innings (six in the third and two in the fourth) without a home run … only two of the 13 hits went for extra bases.

Steve Clevenger (3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored) had a career day (first three hit game at the big league level) and started the scoring in the third with the Cubs first hit and the first of his two doubles on the afternoon. Clevenger and Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored) subbing for Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd jump started the offense.

Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI, a run scored and a walk), Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored) and a seemingly rejuvenated Alfonso Soriano (1-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base) had big contributions in Thursday’s win while David DeJesus (2-for-3 with two runs scored and a HBP) and Ian Stewart (2-for-4 with a RBI) chipped in with multi-hit efforts.

After coming up short in the first three games of the series, Dale Sveum was finally able to beat his old team for the first time.

With Thursday’s victory, the Cubs improved to 2-5 on the young season …

Matt Garza worked out of his only real jam of the day in the first inning. After retiring Rickie Weeks on a grounder to short, Nyjer Morgan singled to left and advanced to second when Ryan Braun checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch. Garza pumped two strikes to Corey Hart before the Brewers’ right fielder flied out to right center. With runners on first and second with two down, Mat Gamel tapped back to Garza (1-2 pitch) for the third out.

Zack Greinke made quick work of the Cubs in the bottom of the first … 1-2-3 on 13 pitches.

Matt Garza ended up facing the minimum in the second after he issued his second walk of the game to Jonathan Lucroy with one out. Cesar Izturis, filling in at third for his old buddy Aramis Ramirez, grounded into a 6-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing in the second and made Greinke throw only eight pitches … it looked like it was going to be another one of those days after two innings.

Matt Garza found his grove in the third and retired the Brewers in order … all three outs via a strikeout.

Steve Clevenger led off the third and worked the count to 2-2 before dropping a double down into left field. Reed Johnson followed with the first of five run scoring singles in the third inning. Johnson singled to left center and plated Clevenger with the Cubs’ first run.

After Matt Garza failed to get a bunt down, David DeJesus singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with one out, Darwin Barney drove in Johnson with a single to center … 2-0 Cubs. Starlin Castro singled to center on a 2-1 pitch and plated DeJesus with the Cubs third run.

Zack Greinke uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-2 offering. Lucroy blocked the ball but Barney made a good read and broke for third. Barney slid in safe and Castro advanced to second. Alfonso Soriano broke his bat and blooped a single over the drawn in Mat Gamel. Barney and Castro scored … and just like that the Cubs led 5-0.

With Ian Stewart at the plate, Soriano broke for second and slid in safe with his first stolen base of the year … and it led to a run. Ian Stewart beat the shift with a single to left, Soriano scored, 6-0 Cubs. Bryan LaHair grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the Cubs’ best inning of the season.

Matt Garza put together a shutdown inning in the fourth … 1-2-3 and Greinke had to go right back to the mound.

Steve Clevenger led off the fourth with his third double of the series. Clevenger went oppo again and drove a 3-2 pitch into the left field corner. Reed Johnson and Matt Garza struck out.

With two down and Clevenger still at second, David DeJesus hit s 2-2 pitch back up through the box. Alex Gonzalez gloved the ball that was ticketed for center but Mat Gamel misread the play and moved into position to receive the cutoff throw from center. Gonzalez threw to first … and no one was there to catch the ball. Clevenger scored and DeJesus ended up at second. Darwin Barney walked and chased Greinke from the game.

Manny Parra took over and gave up a single to Starlin Castro on a 2-1 pitch. DeJesus scored the Cubs’ eighth and final run. Soriano struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Brewers did nothing against Garza in the fifth.

Ian Stewart led off the bottom of the fifth with a single off the lefty Manny Parra … but Bryan LaHair struck out swinging, Clevenger flied out to center and Johnson was punched out to end the inning.

Joe Mather took over for Soriano in left in the sixth. Other than a one-out single by Nyjer Morgan, the Brewers did nothing against Garza in the sixth inning.

Manny Parra faced the minimum in the bottom of the sixth. After he plunked DeJesus with one out, Darwin Barney grounded into a 6-4-3 inning ending double play

Matt Garza sat down the Brewers in order in the seventh … and the Cubs did nothing against Tim Dillard in the bottom of the seventh.

Matt Garza started the eighth with a pitch count of 87, 62 for strikes, and surrendered his third hit of the game, a single to right off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy. Izturis fouled out to Clevenger on a 2-2 pitch and both Travis Ishikawa and Rickie Weeks struck out swinging to end the eighth.

After eight, Garza’s pitch count stood at 103, 74 for strikes.

Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger reached on back-to-back singles to start the eighth. But Reed Johnson hit into a 5-3 double play and with Clevenger at second, Garza struck out to end the inning.

The Cubs went to the ninth with a commanding 8-0 lead and Matt Garza in search of a complete game shutout.

Nyjer Morgan grounded out to short and Braun struck out swinging (3-2 pitch). Norichika Aoki put together another long at bat. Aoki ended up tapping back to Garza on a 3-2 pitch (sixth pitch of the at bat). Garza fielded the ball but airmailed his throw. The ball ended up in the stand, Aoki ended up at second and Dale Sveum went to his pen.

Shawn Camp replaced the unhappy (but understanding) Garza and retired George Kottaras on a grounder to short … game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs hit the road for the first time in 2012. Jeff Samardzija opens the three game series in St. Louis on Friday afternoon. Adam Wainwright is scheduled to take the hill for the Cardinals.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • paulcatanese

    Can’t add anything Neil, you’re assesment was final.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Thank you Paul

  • cubs1967

    sign the man and castro too (buyout arb years).!!

    • http://twitter.com/Golfnut70Bob OttawaBob

      Welcome back to the fight Cubs1967……this time I know are side will win!!!

      • Breeden

        Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

        • http://twitter.com/Golfnut70Bob OttawaBob

          well played…lol

  • Anthony

    Sorry guys, can’t help myself.

    Szczur is a football kid trying to be a baseball player, and if it wasn’t for his contract and bonus, well, he is doing great hitting .154, then we can look at Bonne, the 95 year old coach signed by his buddy Fleita, fellow countrymen, scalding at .222.

    Then, the great Torreyes acquired in trade with his stupid OBP comes in at .208, but not to be outdone, the demoted rice and bean nut named Nelson sparkles at .105 and will always have a huge hole in his bat.

    Upfront monies can screw up most anyone and cause complacency because that was their original goal, to profit on some suits bad decisions.

    Let it all play out.

    It takes more than talent and tools to get to the Show, and unfortunately, those with the grit are often cast aside because no EXPERT will ever admit being WRONG.

    • Scott

      Pujols is hitting .217 with no home runs.

      ARod is hitting .174 with no home runs.

      Carlos Pena is hitting .429 with 3 home runs.

      Andre Ethier is on pace for 270 RBI.

      I think we can say that it is just a bit early in the season….

      • brent carmona

        Exactly Scott. It’s one week into the season.

        Plus this guys are super young and in torreyes case has been moved up a level from last year.

  • Trevor Petersma

    Reading the re-cap was as good as watching the game!  Good day Cubs fans.  And while this will still be a long season, there are definitely fun things to watch.  Not to mention the Cubs have been in almost every game this year, and leading in almost all of them at one point.  There is reason to enjoy watching games still and as always, enjoy the W’s.  

  • Aaron

    Quite a few good things today….unfortunately today’s performance also brought up a sore spot with this team. While they spent the better part of a month relishing and taking part in an excellent fundamental bunting tournament, the Cubs have started the season with an absolutely horrendous bunting performance thus far.

    Dempster, Garza (couple times), Byrd (couple times), and I believe even DeJesus have all missed golden opportunities to get runners in scoring position with bunts, and we’re only 7 games into the season. There’s a good chance I am leaving some guys out….but it’s pretty pathetic isn’t it, considering they focused so much time on bunting during Spring Training.

    I also wanted to focus on a couple positive developments within the system:

    C-Castillo, Lopez
    1B-Rizzo, Bour
    2B-Cardenas, Valbuena, Watkins, Darvil, DeVoss
    SS-Soto, Alcantara
    OF-Wright, Campana, B. Jackson, Burgess, Andreoli, Silva (plays 2B as well)



    Those are just a few of the great performances thus far. I’ve put stars by guys that I think we should be keeping an eye on pitching-wise THIS YEAR (in other words, possible call-up), considering the last 2 rotation spots (Maholm and Volstad), and the entire pen are suspect…You’ll notice that just about all of the pen guys are tagged. It’s important to note that a lot of pen arms can rise fast, because their secondary pitches (unlike starters) don’t need to be as refined…they still have to have them, but obviously they don’t have to be as refined as a starter’s would. It’s also important to note that the names I tagged do NOT reflect how I feel about their ceilings or anything like that…just the likelihood that THIS YEAR they could be called upon.

    Some might say that the following pitchers on the team are absolutely entrenched and wouldn’t go anywhere:
    Maholm (based on salary)

    ….however, I’m hear to tell you that not a single one of them is safe…except for maybe Samardzija if this team continues their losing ways this year.

    The guys that could be released/optioned include:
    Dolis (doubtful, because he seems to be the one effective arm in the pen)
    L. Castillo (only if the Cubs work out a trade with the Phillies to keep him in the system)

    The first guy I think will be released would be Camp, then Lopez. I could easily see them being replaced by a combination of Maine (who wouldn’t need added to the 40-man), Batista, Rhoderick, Parker, Caridad, or Zych.

    As for Volstad, it would likely be someone not on that list replacing him…It would likely be someone that is already on the 40-man like Coleman or T. Wood. If things get out of control awful, then I could foresee a situation where another starter is traded (most likely Maholm), opening another spot on the roster, and Struck, Beeler, or McNutt could be added.

    While the win today is great, everyone should still put things into perspective. This is NOT a good team. A majority of the offensive players should be gone at some point this year via trade. Unfortunately, the only likely trade candidates will not bring much unless they pick up their games significantly before the deadline. Outside of that, you look at the rotation, and only Garza would bring a significant return.

    The best case scenario I can see for the long-term outlook of this team is if Byrd, DeJesus, Soriano, Stewart, Soto, Dempster, Baker, DeWitt, Johnson, Marmol, Russell, and Wood (though I find it hard to believe they’d take the PR hit and trade him) have great seasons….ESPECIALLY the relievers, because teams become desperate at the deadline for good relief pitching and will typically offer a lot (look at the Rangers with the acquisitions of Adams and Uehara).

    Even guys like Baker, DeWitt, and Johnson have value at the deadline, which is why I was so flabbergasted that the Cubs hung onto them last season. In fact, if you think about it, had the Cubs dealt them at that time, we likely wouldn’t have been talking about them losing Flaherty, Gonzalez, and LeMahieu this year, because the veterans wouldn’t be in the picture any longer.

    • brent carmona

      I really like the list!

      Might want to add alberto cabrera to the list. I know he allows a lot of hits/runs but reading around the blogosphere he seems to have a really live arm. Keith law said he had one of the best fastballs he has seen from a prospect, peaked at 97 with outstanding movement. Of course, all of this is moot if he cannot command/control his stuff.

      And as for castillo, there was a article in the espn blog saying he hit 96 mph in spring training…but his last appearance he topped out at 91 mph ONCE and sat around 88-90 on his fastball. I dont know if the writer is making stuff up or castillo’s arm is just not there strength wise since he has been pitching for only two years, but I don’t think he is going to be able to stick that long on the cubs roster with that velocity

      • Ripsnorter1

        Alberto Cabrera: if only he could get control! Of course that was Samardzija’s problem, too. But Jeff seems to have worked it out…..

        • Tony_Hall

          Cabrera has looked better out of the bullpen.  He could move up fast, if he can throw strikes for 1 inning.

    • http://twitter.com/Golfnut70Bob OttawaBob

      Aaron, you’re kinda of a stats guy, how did Byrd perform after he returned from his beaning last year.. For the life of me I can’t remember. But he doesn’t seem like the player he once was. Not that he was great, but certainly much better than his 2012 debut so far.   

      • paulcatanese

        Not speaking for Aaron, but would throw a little bit in here. Byrd was not the same at all, and I believe he cemented the arm’s only swing after the beaning. It does give him a longer look at the pitch ( something I think he has become very aware of ) Then again as he has no stride at all and just uses his arms. He is very suseptiable to the outside curveball which he hasn’t had any sucess with at all this year.Swinging arms only does not allow him to reach the outside of the plate.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Marlon Byrd was beaned in the eye on 21 May 2011. Here is a comparo of his stats before and after the beaning…..

        Fact: Marlon has been beaned 71 times…good for 204th most in MLB history. 2010, he was beaned 17 times, good for 4th most in the NL. He was beaned 10x in 2009 in the AL. 9x in 2008, and all previous years 7 or less. BUT he was hit 5 times in May, 2011. At that rate he would have been hit 30x per year.

        July, 2011…..323 BA….370 OBP…495 slug..EXCELLENT

        Aug, 2011….250 BA….301 OBP…346 slug …not enough to start in MLB at CF 

        Sept, 2011….182 BA….256 OBP..286 slug..not enough to stay in MLB

        1st half, 2011 (before beaning)
        .302 BA….347 OBP….400 slug

        2nd half, 2011 (after beaning)
        .253 BA…305 OBP…..390 slug

        You can see that he kept his power after the beaning, but he didn’t get on base like he did before. Perhaps the league adjusted to him and started beating him on the outside of the plate.

        That was a horrific beaning. I feel sorry for him to have had to experience it. I also feel like he wasn’t seeing the ball previous to the beaning. 

        MLB is so very difficult….milliseconds to see, recognize and judge the pitch….a person just has to lose a few nano-seconds reaction time and they can no longer safely get in a batter’s box.  

        My personal thinking is that perhaps last year, due to aging, Marlon lost a few nano-seconds reaction time, and that resulted in his beaning. 

        On the other hand, lots of player have 1 for 21 streaks during the year.

        Nevertheless, Paul’s analysis of Byrd’s “arms only approach” seems to be justified by these stats.

        • paulcatanese

          Thanks Rip, I guess one could say Byrd’s swing is “all in his head”:)

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes, and I don’t blame him. It was so very ugly….

            Sammy Sosa made it back after the beaning in the face.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Byrd is 95th All-Time best in fielding % as an OF.
        Hey, that’s pretty good!

        His current range factor is good for 21st among active CF….Not so good….

      • Aaron

         As Rip said, he performed terribly after the beaning, and quite frankly, I don’t blame him.

        I’m actually shocked that he doesn’t have PCS (post concussion syndrome). Most players with PCS, as we’re finding out with Mourneau, Roberts, Wright, etc. need a lot of time before they’re back to normal. I had one in high school, and back then, there wasn’t as much information on them. It wasn’t even baseball related…I did it while skiing, and I thought I’d be fine to play once the season started, and I technically was, but everything for a few years outside of baseball was a bit hazy…classes, short-term memory, etc…hell, I’d even forget entire games that I pitched in.

        Byrd’s swing was described very accurately. He isn’t seeing the ball very well at all. This is even more apparent when it’s a breaking pitch, as he swings over the top of it, and most of the time, it’s not even close. It’s almost as if he’s bailing on pitches.

        Additionally, because he is a free swinger, anyway, when he swings with all arms, he has no drive behind the ball, so he ends up with weak grounders and pop flies. Also, because he’s afraid of getting hit by pitches, his extension is awful, because he doesn’t want to leave himself exposed reaching for balls on the outer part of the plate. This is also another major reason why he hits the weak grounders, etc., because he doesn’t hit it on the sweet spot of the bat.

  • cubtex

    News flash…….. Garza is pretty good!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      Maybe we should send a few more prospects to the Rays :)

      • cubs1967

        all the crap theo got for marshall would be OK.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, and he could have been 2-0,,,,,again.

  • Anonymous47701

    Possible 2013 Rotation/Bullpen Solution
    Matt Garza
    Jeff Samardzija
    Travis Wood( if he improves)
    Anibal Sanchez
    Paul Maholm

    James Russell-(setup)
    Manuel Corpas-(setup)
    Rodrigo Lopez
    Randy Wells-(long relief)
    Scott Maine
    Shawn Camp
    Rafael Dolis-(closer)

    • Aaron

      Are you sure you’re not Larry Luchinno or a white so fan?

      Outside of Samardzija, Garza, Sanchez and Dolis that might be one of the worst staffs in the game. Camp?!?!?! Are you kidding me?

  • http://www.aceshootinggames.com/ Ace Shooting Games

    You have made really informative post on Garza and Syeum’s Cubs. The information that you have given over here is really detailed and correct one.

  • Tony_Hall

    Since stats mean soooo much this time of the year.

    Clevenger 667/667/1000 – Mr Soto the bench is over here :)
    Lahair 375/444/688 – AAAA player, I think not
    DeJesus 318/444/364 – Where is the All-Star game anyway
    Soriano 304/346/304 – AL teams take note….
    Castro 296/333/370 – And this is a bad start for him
    Stewart 292/320/417 – And a nice glove

    Maybe we should give these guys another week, before we send a few of these guys to the All-Star game…or cut anyone after 1 week of play.

    5 pitchers with ERA’s below 2, with 3 of them starters.
    3 pitchers with ERA’s over 10, including our VETERAN set-up guy and Closer.

    ERA’s below 2 are always impressive, but over 10, has to be April still.

    • cubtex

      I almost choked on my coffee with you having “all start” and David DeJesus in the same sentence :) Wow!

      I guess 1 extra base hit 0 RBI and 0 SB gets him a ticket.

      And since stats mean so much this year…..

      Hak Ju Lee is now hitting .194 with about 10 more AB’s than DeJesus. Get that starting spot with Tampa ready for him in 2013…like you predicted

      • Ripsnorter1

        This will be interesting to watch…..if DeJesus can beat Funko’s attempt to set an all-time low RBI total for an OF in MLB. 

        You probably recall that Funko had the record in hand until he was dealt to the Indians, where he managed a grand total of 35 RBI for the year in 603 PA. Byrd had 35 also in 482 PA.

      • Tony_Hall

        Sorry, I wasn’t intending to make you choke on your coffee, a little laugh would have been good enough.  But 318/444 for a lead-off guy will get you to the All-Star game.

        It was sarcastic.  Just to show how ignorant it is to post stats after 1 week of the season, good or bad.  

        Nothing has changed my opinion of this team being a below 500, that will have an overhaul to the roster over the course of the season.  I feel that April/May will be the most brutal part of the season, as the veteran roster fillers play.  June/July will be the time that the guys from the minors start to come up and ship out the vets.  August/September will be the best test, as that is when we should be able to see what these young guys can do.  

  • Ripsnorter1

    Throwing all that talent away……READ THIS!

    Adam Rubin of ESPNNew York had a story the other day about the Mets fielding an all homegrown lineup (at least before David Wright went out with his fractured pinkie). In that piece, Rubin had a note that Seattle Mariners organization had produced the most players on Opening Day rosters (including disabled lists). The Mariners? After all, this isn’t actually a franchise known for producing stellar drafts over the past 15 years. But the Mariners had 36 players originally drafted or signed by them on Opening Day rosters, three more than the Rangers. The only other franchises with at least 30 players were the Twins with 32, and the Braves with 31. So who are those 36 players? Let’s take a look. 1. Omar Vizquel: Signed as amateur free agent out of Venezuela, 1984. Traded to the Indians for Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson, Dec. 1993. Vizquel hit .311 in 15 games for Butte, Mont., that summer and made five errors. Vizquel was the only Copper Kings player to eventually play in the major leagues. And if you run into somebody from Butte who said they saw Vizquel play, they’re probably lying. Butte averaged about 800 fans per game. 2. Derek Lowe: Eighth-round pick, 1991. Traded to Red Sox with Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb, 1997 3. David Ortiz: Signed as amateur free agent out of Dominican Republic, 1992. Traded to Twins for Dave Hollins, Aug. 1996. Yes, Dave Hollins. Not even a July trade. A late August trade. Hollins did drive in 25 runs in 28 games, but Mariners missed the playoffs anyway. 4. Raul Ibanez: 36th-round draft pick, 1992. Signed as a free agent by Kansas City, 2001. Originally a catcher, Ibanez was never a top prospect for Seattle, although he did become a bench player for them. He didn’t get a chance to be a full-time player until he was 30 years old with the Royals in 2002. Later returned to Seattle and had some years there. [+] Enlarge 
    Jason Wise/Getty ImagesHas it really been 12 years since Alex Rodriguez played for the Mariners?5. Alex Rodriguez: First-round pick, 1993 Lost as free agent after 2000. 6. Brian Fuentes: 25th-round pick, 1995. Traded to Rockies in Jeff Cirillo deal, Dec. 2001. I remember being very excited when the Mariners acquired Cirillo. 7. Rafael Soriano: Signed as amateur free agent out of Dominican Republic, 1996. Traded to Braves for Horacio Ramirez, Dec. 2006. A trade that made no sense at the time and proved to be a terrible one. 8. Matt Thornton: First-round pick, 1998. Traded to White Sox for Joe Borchard, March 2006. Borchard played six games for the Mariners and was released. 9. Scott Atchison: 49th-round pick, 1998. Lost as free agent after 2006 season. 10. Willie Bloomquist: Third-round pick, 1999. Lost as free agent after 2008. 11. J.J. Putz: Sixth-round pick, 1999. Traded to Mets in a three-team deal with Indians in Dec. 2008. Mariners received Franklin Gutierrez, Mike Carp and Jason Vargas. [+] Enlarge 
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesShin-Soo Choo played 14 games for the Mariners before they traded him to the Indians.12. Shin-Soo Choo: Signed as amateur free agent out of South Korea, 2000. Traded to Indians for Ben Broussard, July 2006. The first of two horrible deals then-GM Bill Bavasi made that summer for an ill-fated run at the playoffs. 13. Jose Lopez: Signed as amateur free agent out of Venezuela, 2000. Traded to the Rockies for Chaz Roe, Dec. 2010. 14. Ichiro Suzuki: Signed as free agent out of Japan, 2001. He’s a free agent after this season. He’s now 38 and still more than 500 hits from 3,000. Do the Mariners bring him back? 15. Greg Dobbs: Signed as amateur free agent, 2001 Selected by Phillies on waivers, 2007. 16. Felix Hernandez: Signed as amateur free agent out of Venezuela, 2002. Reached the majors after just 48 minor-league starts. 17. Asdrubal Cabrera: Signed as amateur free agent out of Venezuela, 2002. Traded to Indians for Eduardo Perez, June 2006. At the time of the deal, Cabrera was a 20-year-old infielder who had already reached Triple-A. He was hitting just .236, but had skipped Double-A after hitting .295 in Class A. Perez retired at the end of the season. Ouch. 18. Luis Valbuena: Signed as amateur free agent out of Venezuela, 2002. Traded to Indians in the three-way deal with the Mets in 2008. 19. Bryan LaHair: 39th-round draft pick, 2002. The Mariners didn’t re-sign him after 2009, after a couple cups of coffee. 20. George Sherrill: Purchased from Winnipeg of independent Northern League, 2003. Back with the Mariners after playing for the Braves in 2011. 21. Adam Jones: First-round pick, 2003. Traded to Orioles in Erik Bedard deal, 2008. 22. Eric O’Flaherty: Sixth-round pick, 2003. Placed on waivers after 2008 season. This was an odd move at the time. O’Flaherty had pitched well as a 22-year-old rookie in 2007, but got bombed in seven appearances at the start of the 2008 seasons, battled some injuries and they let him go. He’s been a quality reliever the past three seasons with the Braves. 23. Mark Lowe: Fifth-round pick, 2004. Traded to Rangers with Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak, Blake Beaven, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson, 2010. 24. Michael Saunders: 11th-round pick, 2004. Once-touted prospect has .198 career average in majors. Getting a chance to play with Franklin Gutierrez on the DL. 25. Michael Pineda: Signed as amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, 2005. Traded to Yankees with Jorge Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, 2012. 26. Alex Liddi: Signed as amateur free agent from Italy, 2005. Viva Italia! 27. Justin Thomas: Fifth-round, 2005. Claimed by Pirates on waivers, 2009. Made Red Sox roster. 28. Anthony Varvaro: 12th-round pick, 2005. Claimed by Braves on waivers, Jan. 2011. Opened season on DL. [+] Enlarge 
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesThe Mariners kept moving Brandon Morrow between the rotation and bullpen before trading him for Brandon League.29. Brandon Morrow: First-round pick, 2006. Traded to Blue Jays for Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez, Dec. 2009. 30. Adam Moore: Sixth-round pick, 2006. Opened season on Mariners’ DL. 31. Doug Fister: Seventh-round pick, 2006. Traded to Tigers in July 2011 with David Pauley for Francisco Martinez, Chance Ruffin, Casper Wells andCharlie Furbush. 32. Erasmo Ramirez: Signed as amateur free agent from Nicaragua, 2007. The youngest player in the majors, Ramirez opened season with M’s despite posting a 4.83 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. 33. Dustin Ackley: First-round pick, 2009. 34. Kyle Seager: Third-round pick, 2009. 35. Munenori Kawasaki: Free agent out of Japan, 2012. 36. Hisashi Iwakuma: Free agent out of Japan, 2012. So there you go, 36 players, with a heavy international flavor. If the Mariners had kept all these guys, would it actually be much of a team? Here is a 25-man roster: 2B Dustin Ackley SS Asdrubal Cabrera RF Shin-Soo Choo 3B Alex Rodriguez DH David Ortiz CF Adam Jones 1B Bryan LaHair LF Ichiro Suzuki C Adam Moore Bench — Kyle Seager, Willie Bloomquist, Michael Saunders, Raul Ibanez SP Felix Hernandez SP Doug Fister SP Brandon Morrow SP Michael Pineda SP Derek Lowe RP J.J. Putz RP Matt Thornton RP Rafael Soriano RP Eric O’Flaherty RP Mark Lowe RP Erasmo Ramirez RP Hisashi Iwakuma That’s a pretty good team, no? OK, Fister and Pineda are currently on the DL, but we can temporarily move Ramirez and Iwakuma into the rotation. The bullpen is terrific at the back end, and the first six guys in the lineup are going to put some runs on the board. This team needs a catcher. Maybe Ibanez can still play there. Let’s put it this way: It would be a much more exciting team than the real 2012 Mariners. 

    • Tony_Hall

      So are you advocating patience and to keep the prospects, instead of trading them for vets?

      Of course, this was the team with the most players in the majors, but if you add a few difference makers in FA, to fill any holes, you can have a pretty good team.  If only it were that easy to know, for sure, which players would make it and which ones won’t.  

      • Ripsnorter1

        I made no advocacy in that post, except for one statement which said, “Throwing all that talent away.”

        But read the post, Tony. BRIAN LAHAIR is in it…..LOL….and…and…and Luis Valbuena, too!  But I would say that the Mariners, who are set to lose 90 games this year, lost 95 games last year, lost 101 games in 2010, lost 101 games in 2008, lost 84 and finished last in 2006, have mismanaged their own roster by poor trades and most often, just outright releasing players. 

        • Tony_Hall

          I saw the Cub players listed.  Many players get waived and are considered “awful” players by some teams, only to finally put it all together in another location.  

          Seattle, though, has some pretty good young talent still on their team.  Ackley and Montero are 2 young hitters who can swing the bat.