Grading the 2004 Seattle Mariners

The InsidethePark.com staff took a critical look at the season that was for the 2004 Seattle Mariners.

Heading into the final series of the season, the M's will finish with the worst record in over a decade as well as more winter changes than any Mariner team in recent years.

Giving grades to a mediocre team wasn't easy but it sure was fun.

Bob Melvin, Manager

Ian Levin, MLB Reporter
C-: Poor bullpen management and other strategic decisions

Troy Sowden, Mariners Reporter
F-: Worst. Manager. Ever.

Dave Clark, Independent Consultant
D+: He did slightly worse than he should have with the effort of those above and below him

Jason A. Churchill, Editor
D+: Didn't have squat to work with but the way they lost games was ridiculous

Joe Kaiser, Publisher
C: Great guy, wrong man for the job


Bryan Price, Pitching Coach

Levin
B: Injuries aren't his fault

Sowden
D: Underachieved but with his track record I'd bring him back for another shot

Clark
B+: I wish he'd been more assertive and pulled a few guys earlier in their rough outings

Churchill
C-: Couldn't get anything out of Hasegawa, not much more from Pineiro, and helped Franklin about as much as I have

Kaiser
C: Hard to fault BP entirely for an injury-riddled staff


Paul Molitor, Hitting Coach

Levin
C: Can't do much with a veteran team and the youngsters are showing mixed results

Sowden
D-: It's his fault that Ichiro didn't break Sisler's record in 140 games

Clark
D-: The Hall of Famer met a better hitter than he and tried to change the other guy. Big mistake

Churchill
C: The offense was terrible but what was Molly to do? Tell three 15-year veterans to change their whole approach?

Kaiser
C: Hitters never once found a groove all season long, but not all Molly's fault


Middle of Lineup (3, 4, 5)

Levin
D-: Only Edgar saves this from an F

Sowden
D-: From Ka-Boone to Ka-Boo in one simple off season

Clark
D: The target of Bret, Raul and Edgar never really got to work together when the season mattered, when they did they just did not get it done

Churchill
F: Boone has shown that he isn't completely done but Olerud and Edgar were bottom of the order hitters from day one

Kaiser
D: Aging heart of the lineup produced more like end of batting order should


Top of Lineup (1, 2)

Levin
A: Ichiro and Jason Kendall are only two leadoff hitters with an OBP over .400

Sowden
A: Winn's solid year proved a lot of doubters wrong (including me). That Suzuki guy isn't bad either

Clark
A+: Finding a better set of tablesetters is near impossible, doubtful that any other team has their two best hitters at one and two

Churchill
A: Winn is most underappreciated Mariner and Ichiro is second in the AL in OBP

Kaiser
A: Ichiro's dream season combined with Winn's solid year made for a strong top of the order


Outfield Defense

Levin
B-: Ichiro's "A" significantly pulls up a sub par performance in center and left

Sowden
D: Where have you gone, Michael Cam-er-on, Safeco turns its lonely eyes to you, hoo hoo hooo

Clark
B+: Winn is settling into a slightly better than average defender, Raul solid, and Ichiro is Ichiro!

Churchill
C: Center field was only major downgrade. Ibanez's lack of range was made up with better arm. Ichiro is best RF since Clemente

Kaiser
C: Ichiro's grace in right was overshadowed by two below average fielders, Winn in center and Ibanez in left


Infield Defense

Levin
C: Old and slow at the start of the year, young and inexperienced at the end

Sowden
D: After Olerud left, not much to get excited about

Clark
C-: I could go lower, but I think its my perception that's skewed, not the defense totally

Churchill
C: Didn't make a ton of errors but surely didn't save the club runs like they did the previous four seasons

Kaiser
C-: Only Boone remained a constant, leaving rookies to man the other positions, and that's not good


Back end of Bullpen

Levin
B: Guardado was solid until the injury and Putz has been passable

Sowden
D-: For most of these guys it was like batting practice at the Home Run Derby

Clark
D+: Too many guys did not get use to their roles in this revolving door part of the team

Churchill
D+: Eddie was fine until the injury but Hasegawa was awful all year

Kaiser
INC: Guardado and Soriano both missed much of the year with injuries


Starting Rotation

Levin
D: It isn't completely their fault as the defense hurt them

Sowden
C-: Emergence of Madritsch and re-emergence of Meche give some hope for the future

Clark
C+: Only slightly better than league average and losing Freddy brought it down. Bobby gives us hope

Churchill
D+: Garcia-less since late June, the M's never had a stable five. Madritsch and late surge by Franklin saved unit from F

Kaiser
C-: U-G-L-Y. Only Bobby Madritsch's emergence kept the dreadful seasons from Moyer and Franklin from making this a D grade


Base Running

Levin
B: Didn't go the extra mile but didn't make stupid plays either

Sowden
D: With the woeful lineup they couldn't afford to give up so many outs

Clark
B+: I wish they were more aggressive with the top end guys and the mistakes, though glaring, were infrequent

Churchill
C-: Made some mistakes but the worst part is that they rarely won games with speed and aggressiveness

Kaiser
B-: Not enough speed on the bases, too many base-running gaffes and still thrown at out the plate far too often


Effort

Levin
B: Whether it's the kids excited that they have a chance or the whole team, they haven't stopped playing

Sowden
D: It's tough to tell if someone was trying or not but if they were… Yikes!

Clark
D+: Started well, hit rock bottom then recovered with the youngsters

Churchill
C: Boone, Wilson, Edgar, Moyer- They don't know how to give less than 100%

Kaiser
B-: Effort early on a C-, effort late in the season with the large crop of rookies an A-


Intensity

Levin
D: The team takes on the personality of the manager

Sowden
F: The Howard Lincoln All-Stars played with the intensity of Ben Stein on Ritalin

Clark
D: They cut the most blatant violators, but those guys hurt the club too much

Churchill
C-: Tough to stay at the top of the intensity chain when the team has been out of the race since May

Kaiser
C-: Hard to have intensity when you're out of the race by April- and it showed

Focus

Levin
C: Nothing special, nothing horrible

Sowden
D: Hey Bret wake up. Bret! BRET!!

Clark
C: The team focused, like a laser beam, on the season ending

Churchill
D+: If they were focused, I don't know what they were focused on. The Seattle skyline maybe?

Kaiser
D: From the opening week of the season, this team never managed to string together anything other than losses


Bill Bavasi, General Manager

Levin
B: Broken down he would get a D for the off season and an A for in-season moves based solely on the Garcia trade- Needs more time

Sowden
C: Big time props for not dragging his feet when it was clear the season was a lost cause. Must be better this off season than last

Clark
B-: With his hand forced by the club he managed a few good recoveries; Cabrera, Olivo and Reed, Aurilia, and the move to send Cirillo away

Churchill
B+: The moves alone would get a C+ but he clearly understands what needs to get done and has convinced ownership of the same

Kaiser
C: Spiezio, Aurilia look like a bad moves, but additions of Ibanez, Cabrera and Guardardo all look pretty good

Ownership

Levin
B: They spend a decent amount of money on the team and Safeco is still a great place to see baseball

Sowden
F: I've seen 7-11's that were managed better

Clark
D: This organization can market any product, but they can't seem to make the product any better.

Churchill
D-: The rebuild should have taken place a year ago and the ownership's unwillingness to do so cost the M's a year

Kaiser
C: Still have the best commercials in baseball, still have a great ballpark, and still shell out over $90 million annually for the M's payroll


Overall Team Grade

Levin
D-: Near 100 losses says it's all

Sowden
F: From 93 wins to near 100 losses. Failure defined

Clark
F: Sixty-something wins is unacceptable

Churchill
F+: When the opening day staff (players, coaches, manager) might be turned over more than 50% for 2005, I'd say the season was a colossal failure in every way

Kaiser
D: You don't begin a season hoping to win 90 games and end it hoping to not lose 100- period



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