Tag Archives: Jack Zduriencik

Are The Mariners Really ‘Dysfunctional’?

On Saturday night, news broke that Geoff Baker, of the Seattle Times, had just dropped some, well umm, news on us.  Baker has recently moved off of the Seattle Mariners beat and into a columnist/investigative role.  His first story was this one.  As far as reporting goes, this was a bomb.  The story was about problems in the Mariners front office, and reflected especially poorly on Jack Z, Howard and Chuck.  Baker interviewed a few former employees and that is what the story was based on.  It was a very well-written piece and Baker was simply doing his job, and doing it well.

With all this being said, I think there are some problems with the way this article is being received.  Seattle media and fans have a way of really eating any information up and reacting to it in the most negative way possible.  That’s what happened here.  Admittedly, I’m not a huge Geoff Baker fan.  I’m not going to go into why, but I do think he’s an extremely talented writer and reporter.

I’m writing this post, not as an attack on Baker, but because I think the story needs to be questioned in the way of who the quotes came from and the relevancy of today’s team.  I will be going straight through the article, paragraph by paragraph, and talking about some problems I have with it.

Before I begin with that, I think the timing of this article is noteworthy.  Ryan Divish did say that this article has been in the works for over a month and I have no reason to believe him.  But, the story came out 2 days after the Mariners finalized the deal with Robinson Cano and people were feeling optimistic about Seattle for the first time in years.  The Mariners were a hot topic and this story came out about 36 hours after the big news.  Coincidence?  Possibly.  Great for Seattle Times subscriptions?  Definitely.

Let’s move on to the story.  If you haven’t read it, please do that before you read the rest of my post.  I don’t want to use many quotes of the story in here because Baker should get the views for his work, so the rest of this post won’t make much sense if you don’t read that.  (Here’s a link to the article)

The article begins by telling a story of former manager, Eric Wedge, getting yelled at by Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln after the 2012 season had ended.  Apparently, the meeting got heated as Wedge fought back.  In short, Wedge didn’t like getting yelled at, as the team had improved, and he didn’t like that Z didn’t warn him it was going to happen.

If what Eric Wedge said is true in this part of the story, that really is too bad.  The team did improve and Wedge couldn’t have done a ton more with the players he had.  But, this is professional baseball.  Eric Wedge made a lot of money and his team finished 12 games under .500.  Employees have been yelled at by their bosses for a lot of worse things.  Also, Wedge was probably angry at this point in time and may have overdramatized what was said in his mind.  Probably not, but that is something that should be taken into account.   Continue reading


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The Rebuilding Process, Year 5

One year ago I asked your reaction following Prince signing in Detroit. One year later, I’m curious what your take is on Josh Hamilton signing with a division foe, for nearly $100 million less than Prince got.

This is my 5th installment in a series of posts I’ve done recapping and forecasting the Mariners Rebuilding Process, since Jack Z took over as GM. You can find the prior posts here: Years 1 and 2 Year 3 Year 4

Let’s recap the 5 year rebuild plan I laid out in October 2008.


2009, Year 1: Shed dead weight, Begin overhauling the farm
Summary: Traded Putz for Guti, Carp, Vargas, and managed to get rid of Silva, Betancourt, and Johjima, while also using 3 of first 5 picks on Ackley, Franklin, Seager.
Grade: A+

2010, Year 2: Shed dead weight, Continue building the farm (and lock up Felix)
Summary: Signed Griffey and Sweeney, locked up Felix and acquired Cliff Lee, then swapped him for Smoak. Could have done without the Morrow trade and of course the Figgins contract. Selected Walker, Paxton, Pryor in rounds 1, 4, 5.
Grade: B-

2011, Year 3: Bring the youth up, Evaluate potential, Acquire more young talent
Summary: Hired Wedge, traded for Brendan Ryan, picked up Wilhelmson at a local bar, and signed low cost vets such as Cust, Olivo, Kennedy. Fielded an even mix of youth and vets, but loads of young talent in the pipeline for the first time in forever. At the deadline traded Fister for Furbush and Wells. Hultzen chosen with #2 pick.
Grade: B

2012, Year 4: continue youth movement, achieve .500 record
Summary: Swapped Pineda for Montero and made some shrewd acquistions in Jaso, Iwakuma, Luetge, Millwood, Perez, then saw a young roster come up 6 games short of .500, while improving by 8 games from prior season. Picked Mike Zunino #3 overall.
Grade: A

2013, Year 5: add 1-2 big pieces, contend for playoffs
Summary: Thus far we’ve seen a few low cost signings in Bay, Ibanez, Bonderman, and a 1 for 1 swap of Vargas-Morales.
Grade: ???

I’ve said this before, but in 4 1/2 years on the job, Bill Bavasi set this organization back 5 years, minimum. Last year I stated

“For the first time on Jack’s watch, I think the on field W/L record is important. .500 ball is a reasonable expectation this year, which would be a welcomed site for our eyes.”

Well, The M’s flirted with .500 in 2012 and showed noticeable improvement, albeit without much offense yet again. Entering year 5 the talk of laying the foundation and replenishing the system should be over, and playoff contention ought to be close. Zduriencik has said as much if you’ve heard any of his recent interviews.

If the blueprint holds form, the M’s will be adding 1-2 big pieces this offseason, and assembling a playoff capable team in 2013. This sounds great but it is nearly January and almost all the big name free agents have signed elsewhere, and the only acquisitions Seattle has made are Robert Andino, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and a swap of Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales. Not exactly blockbuster moves capable of propelling the M’s from 75 wins into contention. I suppose the big moves we hoped for are still possible if Jack can, for example, land Justin Upton and Michael Bourn, and add a veteran pitcher to round out the rotation. That would certainly be a competitive team, but is that the best route to take?

Given how the AL West is shaping up, it may be best to hang onto the prospects, add a couple decent pieces, and shoot for a respectable 80-85 wins in 2013, while waiting until next year to make the big splash. I don’t see a scenario, at this point, for the M’s to overtake Texas or Anaheim in 2013, and probably not Oakland either. So why go all in? I’m not suggesting Seattle give up any hopes they had for next year, just because the division rivals are pulling away, but I don’t want the M’s to mortgage the future to field a better team next year, but one that cannot be sustained.

Keeping a positive trajectory is crucial next year, seeing an improved offense is also important, but that’s about all we can reasonably expect in 2013. This puts real contention off until next year, and adds a year to the original 5 year blueprint, but taking the path that leads to sustained success is what is most important. We’ve seen the Washington Nationals do this, and Tampa Bay also, and with much less money. It may not be popular, given the fractured fan base, plummeting attendance, and a decade of bad baseball, but Seattle has never given a player a $100 million contract, and unless it is a Felix extension, I don’t see it happening for at least another year. And surprisingly, I’m fine with that.

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Who I Would Draft

Happy MLB Draft Day!  As Matthew covered last week, the first round of the draft is today (starting at 4 P.M.) and the Mariners have the number 3 pick.  This is probably my favorite draft out of all the major sports because no one really knows what’s going on aside from the people inside the organization.  Last year is a perfect example.  Everyone and their dog had the Mariners taking a hitter with the number 2 pick last summer.  It would be Anthony Rendon.  If not, it’d be Bubba Starling or Francisco Lindor.  Then the Mariners took Danny Hultzen.  Lookout Landing had a meltdown, U.S.S. Mariner authors were shocked and I had friends on Facebook ripping the Mariners to shreds.  Most of these people, excluding the U.S.S. Mariner writers, had never seen video of any of these players.  If your friend tells you that he thinks the Mariners are dumb for taking whoever they take today at 4 P.M. tell him that he doesn’t know anything.  Neither do you!  Neither do I!  None of us know anything about what the Mariners are going to do and what fits best for them aside from Jack Z and a few close employees.  Some of us have better ideas than others but nothing more.  What we do know is that the Mariners will have a new prospect in their top 5 after tonight!  Unless you’re really high on… Pimental?  Catricala?  Francisco Martinez?  Carter Capps?  Steve Baron?  Just kidding.  Whoever they draft should be in their and your top 5…

With all of that said, I’m going to give you my draft board because that’s what sports are for.  Matthew outlined about 6 players last week in his post and I’ll add a few to those.  I don’t know what I’m talking about too much, I’ve seen video of most of them and that’s about it.  But, after reading about them and thinking about how I value players, these are my top 8 in order of who I want the most.  I would love to see the M’s draft board but you’ll have to settle for mine.  Suckers.  It may be exactly the same as theirs (I doubt it) or there might not be a single slot the same (probable).

1.  Byron Buxton (OF), Appling County High School 

Buxton, who will be drafted out of high school, is said to be the best talent in the draft by just about every expert.  He’s fast and extremely athletic.  He has the build to think that power will come soon in his career.  He puts on batting practice shows but that hasn’t completely translated to games yet.  He’s the most intriguing player to me because of the raw talent.  Most people don’t think he’ll fall to the Mariners but there are rumors that Houston will pick Appel and the Twins go with Correa.  I really hope this happens but I won’t get my hopes up.

2.  Carlos Correa (SS), Puerto Rican Baseball Academy

Correa is another young guy (17) from Puerto Rico who has a lot of raw hitting talent.  He doesn’t have a ton of plate discipline yet but is a very strong hitter.  Carlos may be moving to third before too long in his career as most scouts don’t think he can cut it at shortstop. He seems to be Buxton’s only challenger as ‘Most Talented Player’ in the draft.  These guys aren’t the safest picks but they are said to have the most talent and I think the Mariners farm system is in a safe enough place to where they can stray away from the safe pick.

3.  Mike Zunino (C), University of Florida

Zunino is a college guy from Florida.  The organization hasn’t had a catching prospect that’s worked out in…. well, get back to me if you think of someone.  Zunino is the most sure position player in the draft.  Most experts don’t see him having any problem with catcher and he hits pretty well.  He’s belted 2 home runs in the last 2 nights in the college regional.  He’s below Buxton and Correa because he just doesn’t have the upside those 2 do, in my mind.  You can counter that by saying he’s more major-league ready than both of those guys and you’d be completely right.  I think it depends on your preferance there.

4.  Kyle Zimmer (SP), USF

Most people wouldn’t agree with this.  Every mock draft has Zimmer below fellow college arm Appel and most of them have him below Gausman.  Zimmer is just interesting to me.  He was recruited to college as a hitter.  He did that, then all of a sudden became the staff ace his sophomore year in college.  He out-dueled last year’s number 1 pick, Gerrit Cole, in the college world series and then went on to have a very successful Junior season.  He throws in the mid-90’s with a few different off-speed pitches.  He’s more raw than the other college arms because he hasn’t pitched as much  But, that means his arm hasn’t gone through as much wear and tear, as well.  I think of him as Taijuan Walker a little bit because of their late starts as pitchers.  He has the most upside of the college pitchers because he has the most room to go.

5A.  Kevin Gausman (SP), LSU

Gausman is the next in line of the college pitchers.  He throws a little harder than Zimmer does and has a good change-up to go with it.  He doesn’t have a very good breaking pitch at the moment but, well, I think that’s a little overvalued at times anyway.  He is labeled with the ‘number 2 starter ceiling’ in this draft.  You know who had that last year?  Hultzen.  Don’t listen to the scouts on that.

5B.  Mark Appel (SP), Stanford

Appel is projected to be the number 1 pick to Houston by most and there was a rumor floating around today that Houston is indeed where he is going.  Who knows?  Why is he sixth (or tied for fifth) on my list than?  Well, along with liking upside, I also like to see results.  Appel may have the best ‘stuff’ of anyone in the draft but he wasn’t as dominating as what people expected.  That sounds like Gerrit Cole.  After half of a minor league season, I’d rather have Hultzen, Bundy and Bauer over Cole who were all drafted behing him because their stuff wasn’t as good.  It’s dumb to base things off half a minor league season but that’s what I just did so, take that.

7. Max Fried (SP), Harvard Westlake High School

Fried is a high school arm, a lefty who could be Clayton Kershaw or could be a finesse lefty.  We saw last year that the organization likes their lefties who throw in the 90’s but Fried doesn’t seem to project quite the way Hultzen does.  He may add some velocity as he gets older, which would put him around 95, and that would truly put him in the Kershaw category.  If Jack Z sees that kind of future, then I would be fine with this.  Otherwise, we’re getting to the point where any of these would be a huge surprise.

8.  Albert Almora (CF), Mater Academy Charter

We’ve seen how valuable a good center fielder can be here in Seattle.  Almora is extremely athletic, and although he doesn’t possess the power potential Buxton has but he does have most of the other gifts.  He’s sure to be great defensively.  He may be a giant reach for the Mariners here but, then again, I have no idea so maybe it wouldn’t be.  Why did you even read this far?

9.  Lucas Giolito (SP), Harvard Westlake High School

Giolito probably won’t go as high as this but before an elbow injury, he was headed towards the number 1 pick.  He’s a high school lefty who throws hard.  Of course, I don’t want to spend the third pick of the draft on a guy with injury concerns.  If I wasn’t worried about that then he would move up to the number 3 on this list.  Unfortunately for Giolito, just about everyone seems worried about his health.

The next 2:

10.  Deven Marrero (SS), ASU
11.  Andrew Heaney (SP), OSU

So, hopefully you know more a little bit more about these guys now.  None of them would disappoint me but I do feel like there’s quite a gap between the first 6 I put and the rest of this list.  I could make the same argument about such a gap between the first 2 and the rest of them.  Hopefully, Buxton falls to the Mariners and there won’t be any second guessing tonight but that is unlikely due to his talent.  I think Zunino or Correa is the most likely but maybe one of the college pitchers is the best option in the front office’s eyes.  We’ll see shortly!  Happy draft day, again!





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2012 AL West Team & Winter Wrap-Up

Unlike NCAA sports, pro sports don’t come out with pre-season 1st and 2nd teams, but if the AL West had its pre-season team, this is how I think it would shake out. My selection process looks at last year’s performance as well as potential this upcoming year, and often I use the sabermetric WAR to break ties. Some of the picks are obvious (Pujols), and others are less obvious (DH), so of course I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

A quick analysis shows that Texas is the class of the division, with more 1st team selections than the rest of the west combined. Anaheim has good 2nd tier depth, solid pitching, and balance. Texas and Anaheim each have 8 1st or 2nd team selections of the possible 10 positional categories, and of the 14 pitching spots, a whopping 11 are Rangers (6) and Angels (5). The M’s are a distant 3rd, but a ways ahead of the re-building A’s, who are loaded with average players but no star power whatsoever.

I wanted to take this chart one step further, and visually quantify the separation between teams based on these picks. To do so, I’ve simply awarded 2 points for a 1st team selection, and 1 point for a 2nd team selection. Here’s how it shakes out on a bar graph.

Lastly, here are team by team offseason wrap ups, after the jump… Continue reading

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The Rebuilding Process, Year 4

You guys, Prince just signed wtih the Detroit Tigers. What’s your take?

I understand all of these stances, but let’s recap the big picture, as in the 5 year rebuild Jack inherited in October 2008.


2009, Year 1: shed dead weight, begin overhauling the farm

2010, Year 2: shed dead weight, continue building the farm (and lock up Felix)

2011, Year 3: bring the youth up, evaluate potential, acquire more young talent

2012, Year 4: continue youth movement, achieve .500 record

2013, Year 5: add 1-2 big pieces, contend for playoffs

I wrote about Years 1 and 2 of the rebuilding process, as well as
Year 3. Welcome to Year 4 Mariner fans. For the first time on Jack’s watch, I think the on field W/L record is important. .500 ball is a reasonable expectation this year, which would be a welcomed site for our eyes. The blueprint I laid out reflects what we’ve seen Jack say and do for 3+ years, and the M’s are still on track to contend within 5 years of Bavasi’s exit.

There are multiple ways to rebuild a baseball organization, and dozens of varying factors must be weighed. In 4 1/2 years on the job, Bill Bavasi set this club back 5 years, minimum. I’ve said this before, and perhaps my bias is too entangled to make this statement, but I honestly think Bavasi might be the worst GM a baseball franchise has ever had.
Side Note-

In a 1 year stretch, From December 7, 2005—December 7, 2006, Bavasi made 7 trades involving players that made a major league roster. Combined, Bavasi traded Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Thornton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Eddie Guardado, Shin-Soo Choo, Jamie Moyer, and Rafael Soriano, in exchange for Joe Borchard, Eduardo Perez, Ben Broussard, Andy Baldwin, Sean White, and Horacio Ramirez.

As for player signings, more than half of Bavasi’s signings were horrible. His 12 worst were Scott Spiezio, Rich Aurilia, Richie Sexson, Pokey Reese, Jarrod Washburn, Carl Everett, Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Silva, Brad Wilkerson, and Kenji Johjima (extension). That’s a combined $225 million. In the end, 7 were cut, 2 traded, and 2 (Batista and Washburn) played out the full contract.

Jack’s record is not flawless either. The Figgins deal is awful, trading Morse for Langerhans hurts, and you could question the Morrow trade and Guti extension. But he has hit some real home runs, and given the state of the organization, I agree with the blueprint that Jack has committed to. This is not to say there aren’t circumstances that deviate from the plan. Heck, when Cliff Lee fell into our lap, we were thinking playoffs, just 2 years into this regime. I’m a firm believer in adding talent when you get the chance, whether you are 1, 2, or 5 pieces from real contention, and I’d imagine Jack agrees. The M’s may have been competitive in the Prince bidding, but alas, year 4 will not include Prince Fielder, nor should it at the price he ultimately got. So the original plan continues, and all things considered, the plan is on track. The splash that elevates the M’s from re-build mode to contend mode will come, it’s just a year away.

I’ll leave you with this morsel, on the heels of losing Prince. The Tigers have committed $338m for Prince/Cabrera/V-Mart. Seattle’s mini-version of Smoak/Montero/Carp costs $1.26m.

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Prince Fielder is a Tiger, Please Stay Calm

The subject of much (or should I say mass) baseball conversation this year can finally be put to rest.  Prince Fielder signed with the Detroit Tigers, who came out of nowhere to snatch up the first basemen paying the large (like the player) price of 214 million for 9 years.  Man, he’s payed like a prince!

I have long (another pun, but less obvious) been in the ‘sing Prince’ camp but today isn’t very disappointing since, well, look at that price!  That is insane.  The highest I’d have gone would have been 8 years for 165 million.  I’m a big (not as big as Prince) fan of Fielder, but that price just isn’t reasonable for this team.  It’s not reasonable for most of this team.

Yes, it’s disappointing that we won’t see Prince in an M’s uniform.  I’ve been picturing him hitting homers off the Hit It Here Cafe all off-season but that won’t happen until the Tigers visit.  This deal could have strapped the Marines for years to come and the re-signing Felix and the other young talent on the roster would have been much harder had this gone through.  Thing about Chone Figgins.  When he signed most people thought it was a good deal, myself included.  Now, it feels like he’s been here forever but still has 2 years left on his contract.  Of course, Fielder is much better than Figgins and will produce to an extent, at least.  The point is that by year 7 or 8 of his contract, Fielder could become crippling to the Tigers organization.  It may be worth it, but only time will tell.

The truth is, it sounds as if Fielder was never very interested in being here.  We don’t know how true that is, but take it for what it’s worth.  Hey Prince!  We don’t want you for that price either, so take that!

More thoughts after the jump.   Continue reading


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Pineda-Montero Trade Reaction

Earlier today I sat down and was starting to write a post on how we shouldn’t listen to any baseball reporters this off-season.  Part of it had to do with me being frustrated at the hysteria of Prince Fielder being in Texas.  The other part of me was frustrated with the Mariners for the lack of  moves this off-season.  Did I disagree with what they did?  No, but I was just bored.  Sports are entertainment, and it’s never fun when they leave you bored.  The last part of me was just hungry and didn’t even care about baseball reporters because I wanted to eat some chicken.  When I started that post, the Mariners made a trade.  Hey!  A trade!  After 4 months of peeking through the fence at Prince Fielder, the Mariners jumped over the fence, jumped on one of their horses, rode it into town, swapped it for another rancher’s horse, rode that horse back to the fenced-in area they owned, and had a glass of lemonade all in the span of about 10 minutes.  Sorry, about that.  I hope you followed.  My first point of this post, is that you shouldn’t take much of what these baseball writers say as gospel.  They get the reports right every now and then but tonight showed just how fast the unexpected can happen.

As for the trade, well surely you’ve read other people’s reaction by now.  There’s been enough time for you to form your own opinion.  But, if for some reason you’re indecisive on how you feel, and you’re up at 3 AM, a Good Guy is here to help!  I want to cover a few things before I get to my quick reaction.

It seems as if the opinion from people around Seattle is all over the place.  There are people completely against it, people who love it, and people who think it’s strictly average.  Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler had about a 10 tweet rant about how the ownership has to change now.  Mike Salk loved the trade.  (‘Softy’ wasn’t necessarily upset about the trade, but for some reason it sent him over the edge, just for the record.)  I want to caution you on who you listen to about this.  I believe that the Good Guys would have a more intelligent conversation about the Mariners than many of the Seattle sports radio guys.  That’s not to say they aren’t knowledgeable in other ways, but many of them aren’t experts on the Mariners and I think they’d admit as much.  Salk (from Brock and Salk) seems to try to understand more than any other.  Some of them just don’t care and don’t try to understand.  ‘Softy’ had no good reason for his rant and Jason Puckett is way off when he says that this feels desperate because the M’s should have just traded Lee for him.

That brings to my next point.  That very point of saying, why didn’t the Mariners just trade Lee for Montero.  For those of you that don’t know, that was very close to happening a few years ago before the Mariners’ decided on Justin Smoak instead.  It’s very ironic that they both ended up here now.  Anyway, it’s ridiculous to say they should have traded Lee for Montero so they could have kept Pineda.  When that traded happened, most baseball analysts thought the Mariners made the right move in getting Smoak.  Perceptions change over a year and a half and that is what has happened here.  Don’t think, “the Mariners made the wrong decision in getting Smoak, since they went out and got Montero now.”  They are 2 separate events and, though our mind’s link them together, they are independent of each other.  The Mariners got the best young hitter they thought they could get for the package they were offering and that had nothing to do with Cliff Lee and Justin Smoak.

Now, on to my thoughts on the actual trade.  I’m somewhere between liking and loving the trade.  Lookout Landing does a good job of summing up the pieces involved (much better than I could do, so read that).  I do think Sullivan may undersell Hector Noesi, who’s the pitcher coming over from New York, a little bit but there’s no way of knowing that.

Noesi seems like a good place to start since I just mentioned him a sentence ago and he’s the least known player in the trade as far as Mariner fans go.  He hasn’t pitched much in the majors, 56 innings last year and was nothing spectacular in doing so.  It sounds like the Mariners will lock him in as a starter to begin the season.  He seems like he’ll be a decent big league pitcher at least, and a few scouts seem to think he’s a very good pickup for the M’s.  Time will tell if those scouts are correct.  That’s a theme for this whole trade.

I’m sorry to see Jose Campos go.  Over the past couple of years I’ve started to follow the Mariners’ farm system fairly closely.  I read a review of each team’s game every night and try to familiarize myself with the top players from every part of the system.  By doing this I start to like players I’ve never watched more than the one’s I watch everyday on TV.  Jose Campos was one of those players.  He’d be rated about the number 5 prospect in the Mariners system and has tons of upside.  He’s only 19 and who  knows what will happen because, young pitcher but if he stays healthy, look out for his name in 3 or 4 years.

Now for the big names!  Jesus Montero is said to be a world-class hitter.  The comparison I’ve heard the most over the last 3 years is Edgar Martinez.  Heyo!  Edgar!  Put him in the Hall of Fame, by the way!  That’s a good comparison.  He’s either a catcher or a DH.  Catcher would be awesome, but his defense is lacking and most doubt that he’ll be able to stay at the position.  As far as his hitting goes, he’s said to have good power to all fields (important for Safeco) and good contact ability.  Yes, he hasn’t had much time in the majors and that’s a little frightening.  Jack Z knows more than me though and I trust his scouting ability above all of his other skills.

Michael Pineda was fun.  It’s sad to see someone fun go and there’s nothing I like more in baseball than a big, young, flame-throwing pitcher.  Man, he was big!  I hope he only gets better, even if he is pitching for the Yankees.   He deserves it.  I’m not sure he’ll ever turn into an elite ace and I’ll leave it at that because most of you who read this know who he is and what he projects as.  Some of you will disagree with me.

I like this because the Mariners got a hitter!  My philosophy if I was a GM is to draft talent (don’t draft for needs) and accumulate it by international signings.  Then trade from internal positions of strength for positions of weakness.  This is exactly what happened here.  Yes, it sucks that Pineda is gone but I think we’ve got a good one in return.

Now what happens?  I have no idea.  I really think the Mariners are still going to go after Prince but I’m in the very small minority.  They have the same amount of money they had when you woke up last week.  No one knows how much that is but it seems to be a fair amount.  If they don’t sign Prince, I still expect some other big move.  I think it will be another bat, but a pitcher makes plenty of sense.  I’d go for Roy Oswalt!  After today, we just have to realize that we have no idea what will happen.  Speculating and projecting is fun, but the truth is that not much turns out how we have it planned in our brain.  In sports, all we can hope for is that our team improves and I think that the M’s are a stronger organization now than they were 24 hours ago.  Not everyone does, but I do.  And hey, there’s still that report that Prince is renting a car in Seattle this weekend.















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Mariners Offseason: Looking Ahead

The baseball offseason is underway, with the Mariners already making a few roster moves in the last couple of days.  Gone are David Aardsma, Luis Rodriguez, and Jeff Gray, at least temporarily.  While Gray was claimed off waivers, Aardsma and Rodriguez were released, so there’s a chance that either or both could be back.  With Aardsma rehabbing until at least midsummer, neither would be a huge loss.

Last offseason was surprising in its predictability.  I remember writing early on that there seemed to be a number of obvious moves.  The team had a lot of holes, and it seemed the best move was to upgrade each spot as much as possible.  I never expected Jack Zduriencik to do exactly that.  Usually the offseason brings surprises.  No one expected Cliff Lee to become a Mariner two years ago.  No one expected Vernon Wells to become an Angel last year.  Those are two extreme examples at opposite ends of the spectrum, but offseason moves are generally more unexpected than not.  Teams have so much more knowledge than fans do, about both themselves and players.  We don’t even know what the Mariner payroll will be for next year.  We can make guesses, but for all we know they might raise it to $125 million to sign Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes.  Not likely, but we just don’t know. Continue reading


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