Monday, July 23, 2012
Friday, December 09, 2011
Just Do It, Jack!
The two biggest obstacles in front of the Mariners' hopes of contention both got massively huge TV contracts, affording them some room to add massive salaries when needed. Anaheim has started spending that cash, and Texas will too.
Not only was the Pujols signing a massive shot across the bow of the good ship Mariner (subtle entendre intended ;-) it was also simultaneously a blow across the even larger U.S.S. Texas Ranger. Add the addition-by-subtraction move for CJ Wilson for the LALAs (I refuse to call them anything else) over the Rangers, and that makes the Rangers all the more attentive and ready to pounce.
It may seem logical that Texas in their lack of pitching would be all-in on Darvish -- and with all the posturing, etc., that goes on this time of year, it's hard to use anything but logic to determine what the other teams will do. But several people have considered Texas the dark horse candidate in on Fielder.
That could be the nail in the coffin for the Mariners hopes of contention in the next 4-5 years. IMHO, THAT is the move that forces us to auction off Felix to the highest bidder, and leaves the Mariners to collapse the direction of the Cleveland Indians. Not only would that move subtract a potential massive, quick improvement for the Mariners, it would be compounded by adding more of a challenge to the M's directly in the division.
With the starting pitching market being extremely soft, and really Darvish being the only potential high-upside pitcher that Texas might acquire (especially now with both Buehrle and Wilson off the market), and the extreme cost of GOOD starting pitching via trade (though Texas does have a very solid farm system), I can see Texas passing on pitching right now and going cheap on it -- overloading an already high-powered offense by adding Fielder.
Now, you could argue that they don't have room for Prince, but I'd say that none of Napoli, Morrison or Young are really elite enough for Texas to be too concerned about 'blocking' them. There really are only 4 teams that don't have room for Fielder: Yankees, Philly, Boston and now the LALAs. Pretty much every other team has room for Fielder.
Certainly there's a metric ton of risk signing Fielder to a Bora$$$$$$ contract (a la T-Rex as an example). But the M's are in as good of shape to absorb that risk long-term as any team in the league, considering the system, team needs, future payroll committments, etc.
Just do it, Jack. A HUGE part of me would like to see Zduriencik give the Seattle-area saberdudes a big middle finger and throw a T-Rex type contract at Fielder. It's probably what it would take to get it done here in Seattle. Texas may only be willing to go 6 years max, considering the future payroll committments they'll have soon (with the players who will be FA eligible in the next few years), as will other teams I'm sure. Given a market of 6/$150 give or take 20 million and/or a 7th year, there would I'm sure be 4-5 teams interested - even if Seattle were one of those teams, I'd be highly skeptical if he chose Seattle over one of those other teams, especially if one of them is Texas.
The price of not landing Fielder may be much, much greater than the potential albatross in the later years of the deal...
Labels: Prince Fielder.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Today, Ken Griffey Junior retired from baseball. It was clear his skills had far diminished below his desire and as Jerry Brewer puts it, the last thing to be conquered was Griffey's joy.
Some people will blame Larry LaRue's article. There's some logic in that - and it's unfortunate that the article burned a pretty big bridge between LaRue and Junior since LaRue was pretty much saying what no one else had the guts to say in the media (although the issue of controversy and bridge-burning lay more in the fact that LaRue brought to light Griffey's somewhat behind-the-scenes but not unknown habit of sleeping in the clubhouse during games).
The smug complainers got their wish. Junior is no longer a problem on the M's roster anymore. Now they can shift their attention elsewhere and find a target for mean hatred. As I mentioned in my previous post, while I admit Junior was definitely a problem on the team his presence was far less of a problem than other more massive problems. Now we'll get to find out, I guess, if those cynics were correct.
But, then again, the fact that Lopez and Figgins are finally starting to hit helps a hell of a lot more than Griffey's departure from the team that brought him from the cradle of his pro career to its grave.
This is a dark, dark day in Marinerdom.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
On Hyphen and Griffey...
So it appears Hyphen & Snell are pretty much going to swap roles. I think we've seen enough of Snell to know that he's not going to do much better than Hyphen. I'm with Jason - replace Snell with either French or Olson. Just do SOMETHING! It took two RRS turns in the rotation too many to do the right thing. I'm probably Hyphen's biggest fanboy on the planet (I dubbed him "Hyphen" ya know...) but even I recognize that he's killing this team in the rotation.
There's patience and then there's insanity. I expected this from a Bavasi-built club (and a Mclaren/Hargrove-managed club), not from what Wak & Zduriencik showed last year. I don't know why they seem to be much slower with the trigger this year compared to last. I remember specifically Wak talking about having 162 different lineups last year, yet this year the same crappy hitters are there...
I'm kinda with Edman here. Griffey's an easy target because (as the arguments state) he's too old and past his prime to be likely to improve. But he's hardly the biggest problem. Cutting him does NOT improve this team much if at all.
Let's not forget that his role on the team was SUPPOSED to be as a pinch-hitter, very-part-time DH, when he was initially signed. Even he admitted that was likely his role on the team. But due to failings from others -- failings from Zduriencik to really find a full-time LF'er (even though he took several reasonable risks to attempt to do so), and initial failing from Saunders to take the job out of ST. That forced Milton Bradley into LF much more than he should've been, and away from DH, which is a role he's ideally suited for on this team.
But, hey - Milton melted down himself, and Jack's backup plan for him was the Griffey-Sweeney platoon. How many games did Sweeney get in the first month? Not very many - 9 games, 6 starts & 28 PAs. Yes, Sweeney's got health issues. He's unreliable (as the last few games on the bench with back issues have shown). You can argue all you want about having TWO bench spots taken up with DH's and I'll probably agree that it's less-than-smart.
If Milton hadn't melted down, and if Saunders or Byrnes or Langerhans had stepped up enough to show that they could handle left field full time, Griffey wouldn't be the starting DH. That he HAS been isn't so much a reflection on Griffey as it is on Wakamatsu and Zduriencik.
Griffey's about halfway down on my list of the M's problems and the reasons why this team is so frustrating to watch, and why they're losing so many close games. When HALF OF THE FREAKING LINEUP is batting UNDER the Mendoza line, that's a huuuuge problem.
Yes, the M's need to find a starting DH. They can cut Griffey and/or Sweeney to do so. But even if they can talk Griffey into mid-season retirement, is there an easily-gettable replacement for him? Who knows -- actually Milton Bradley probably will be the starting DH once he gets his stuff together since Saunders seems to be finding himself finally capable of starting in LF for the Mariners.
But the bigger problem is -- the M's lineup needs to effing hit the baseball. And the bullpen needs to stop melting down. And Wakamatsu needs to manage better. And Zduriencik needs to improve the roster.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My comment to Larry Stone on the Felix situation
Posted in response to this article...
Glad to see you fixed this to reflect Shannon as a 710/ESPN employee. I'm one of the people still pissed at how KOMO booted her out (and sooooo thankful her fans' lobbying efforts were rewarded when she was hired on at KIRO :-)
I really hope being the runner-up in this year's Cy Young Award contest really opens a lot of non-Internet-blog-savvy M's fan's eyes to how awesome he truly is. It's no secret that I'm one of the loudest "don't give him his crown yet" skeptics in the blogs, and it's certainly not because I'm a "Negative Ned..." But I'll still give Felix the credit he deserves for being absolutely amazing this season.
I'll give Felix his well-due credit, but I still don't think he's "arrived" yet. He's one big step closer, sure, but he's not quite yet in the same vein with the fans as "Griffey" "A-Rod" and "Randy" as Larry associates in the article. Certainly I understand the comparison - young, budding world-class superstar very close to free agency (and very close to earning the monster top-tier free agent contract).
But I just don't think Felix has achieved their level of superstardom yet. I believe he will, definitely, don't get me wrong, but I'm just saying he's a notch or two below those guys, relative to where they were when the same dilemma was forced upon the M's with those three.
For one - people don't pay to go see Felix. Or at least the attendance spike isn't noticeable yet. Certainly you hear about it and we talk about upcoming "Felix Day" on the Internet, but a lot of Internet M's fans either already have season tickets or live out of the area where it's inconvenient (at best -- if not downright impossible) to get to a game spur-of-the-moment. People knew when Randy was pitching. They'd stop what they're doing and make their plans around his pitching schedule. I haven't quite seen this (outside of the blogs of course) with Felix.
People are starting to talk about him more and more, certainly. Casual fans in the office, say, are starting to talk about him. But not QUITE to the same level as Ichiro or Griffey (or, heck, even Willie Bloomquist back when he was still a Mariner).
He's not a "living legend" in their minds yet. They're aware of the hype, generally, and they'll certainly talk about a good performance. But I don't think this is quite true:
"Now these same fans have given their heart to this regal Venezuelan fireballer, and they fret about his future in Seattle — rightfully so. For this is the winter that will almost certainly seal his future with the Mariners."
It's been talked about in the media more and more, so yes, casual fans are starting to pay attention. But I don't see Felix as having won the hearts of as many fans as young Griffey, A-Rod, and Randy all did. Certainly the niche "Vote for Felix" t-shirts are out there, and more and more people are buying Felix jerseys (another sign of player popularity). He's arriving, definitely, but he hasn't arrived like those other three had yet. Certainly those of us who pay attention to the M's on the Internet recognize him, but there are a whole heck of a lot of casual M's fans who pay at least a glancing pass of attention to the Mariners who don't hang out on the M's vast and deep Internet corners.
Maybe it's unfair - those others are upper-tier HOF talent (yes, even A-Roid) and the years they were playing within comparable situations to Felix that Larry mentions were much more prosperous days (95, 97 playoff years) whereas 04 and 08 were both franchise disasters (turning casual fans' attention away). Times are different, too. I'm just saying that I don't think Felix has quite been welcomed into M's fans hearts nearly as deeply and as widespread as those other three players.
And then there's this guy named Ichiro. And, well, Griffey. But, then, A-Rod, Randy and Griffey had each other, and Edgar and Buhner (and Dan Wilson's cute butt) to contend with.
I'm not saying that Felix isn't good and doesn't deserve to be locked up by the Mariners (I really really really want to keep him, in spite of inherent risks of giving long-term contracts to pitchers). I'm just contending that I don't think he's quite become the hometown hero/superstar that a lot of people think he has yet.
Hopefully he will while he's still here. But it might take some sort of post-season moment, or something über-epic (anyone remember Daisuke's first home game in Boston???) for him to be deeply entrenched into the hearts of ALL Mariners fans to the level that Griffey, A-Roid, and RJ were at when this dilemma came up in their situations.
Let's not forget Edgar, Ichiro and Buhner, too, though, as models of success in keeping the hometown hero home. Buhner was soooooooo close to leaving Seattle for Baltimore in his free agency year, but the M's were able to keep him. Edgar was the rare example of a HOF-level player staying with one team forever. Ichiro probably will go back to Japan and play or retire rather than play for another MLB team.
So there is hope. Not everyone is anxious to chase the highest dollar amount. Let's also not forget that Felix chose the Mariners over "MostMoney" before, when he signed his original contract (first link I could find was this one, but it's common knowledge: http://en.allexperts.com/e/f/f/f%C3%A9lix_hern%C3%A1ndez.htm).