Chat recap: Mariners appreciate Eric Wedge’s fire

Jun 29, 2011, 6:33 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm staff

Mariners manager Eric Wedge, left, argues with plate umpire Paul Emmel after Wedge was ejected during the second inning on Wednesday. (AP photo)

Shannon Drayer hosted a live chat during Wednesday’s series finale between the Mariners and Braves. Here are a few highlights:

Nelson thinks the Mariners should take advantage of their stellar pitching and the weak AL West and make a run at the playoffs, but he questions whether the front office is committed to winning.

Shannon Drayer: What do you think will do it. One bat? Two bats? Three bats? Will this hurt what they can do in the future? Yes, they are serious about winning. They are serious about winning on a long term basis. While this team appears close, what will the other teams do? Do you think Texas will really continue to play just over .500? And the pitching? The pitching is strong now and should be strong in the future with what they have been building in the minor leagues. This isn’t a case of win now because you may not have a chance. This isn’t an aging team facing it’s last chance. The door is opening, not closing. It may not be the best time to take advantage of what we see going on around us now.

JT asks how Eric Wedge compares to previous Mariners managers and whether he has the support of the clubhouse.

Drayer: Wedge has the clubhouse. He also has some guys who go out and play for him. He is good in that everyone knows what expectations are. He communicates well and he represents well. More fire and more demonstrative than Wak and I think the guys like that.

Sean asks what managers do when they get tossed from a game, as Wedge did on Wednesday.

Drayer: Different managers do different things. Some stay in the tunnel for a short time out of sight and try and manage from there. Others watch on television in their offices or video rooms.

Patrick M. notices that Michael Saunders has been hitting considerably better since being sent down to Tacoma (.302 in 13 games for the Rainiers compared to .168 in 45 games for the Mariners). He wonders if there are players who are good enough to tear up Triple-A pitching but not good enough for that success to translate to the major leagues.

Drayer: Yes, but I am not convinced that Michael is one of them. He needs to completely rework his swing and if he does he has got a shot. At worst he is a 4th outfielder. At best, he figures it out and utilizes the talent he has.

Billy asks “How would you handle Figgins? Not hitting well, lots of defensive lapses, and getting paid lots. Can’t send him down, can’t restructure his contract. He’s getting paid a ton just sitting on the bench. Most likely nobody will be willing to trade him, unless if we send money with it, which we won’t do. What would you do? What could we do, if anything?”

Drayer: I don’t know what you can do. I think finding spots to try and get him going is about all you can do right now. There is zero trade market for him. If the team is not going to contend then maybe you get him out there more in the second half in hopes that he shows something and you are able to get something, anything back for him in salary relief in a trade.

Darin asks why Carlos Peguero gets more playing time than Greg Halman, who Darin thinks is a better defender and has better at bats than Peguero.

Drayer: Wedge likes Peguero’s power. Thinks he is a threat every time he steps to the plate. The defense has been an adventure but they have had him out early working with coaches in the outfield. Definitely a work in progress.

Chip asks how the development of Michael Pineda’s changeup is coming along.

Drayer: Good. We have been seeing it a mile or two an hour slower lately. He still isn’t throwing it a ton but he does have confidence in it. He’s been mixing in a back door slider lately too. More weapons.

Sean asks which MLB stadium has the worst press box.

Drayer: US Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox). Top level, down the first base line, basically in right field. Best: Safeco Field and Anaheim.

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