Wednesday, December 27, 2006

George Interested in George?

In an interesting tidbit of speculation today mentioned by Rotoworld, the North Jersey Media Group reports that the Yankees might be interested in our buddy George Sherrill as part of a package for Randy Johnson. That's really interesting on several accords.

I'm not sure if it's entirely public or not, and I hope elsid (or any of his family) won't shoot me for sharing this info, but the Yankees were very interested in signing George away from Winnipeg at the same time the M's were. He chose to sign with the M's. However wisely, of course, is debatable.

I think it was a great decision because the Yankees aren't exactly known for coveting their prospects. Unless your name was Mantle, Dimaggio, or Gehrig, they never have been, really, either. Just ask my great uncles... In spite of it not happening as quickly as it should have, it's more likely that he got his MLB career off to an earlier start with the M's than he would've if he'd signed with the Yankees. And, finally, too, M's fans are more intelligent than Yankees fans. He's much more likely to have a fan-blog dedicated to him with Seattle than in New York. Okay, so the spotlight's MUCH brighter in NY, and moments like what happened on 5/16/05 probably would've garnered George a few more fans in NY than in Seattle.

It's also interesting in that Randy Johnson is one of my all-time favorite players. Back in the M's heyday, RJ and Buhner were lightyears ahead of Griffey, Edgar and A-Rod on my 'favorites' list. I remember the thrill of '95 and the "Not even the Yankees can beat our Johnson!" sign in the Kingdome. Count me in with those who believe that, despite the recent back surgery, Randy Johnson still has a year or two left in the tank. He might even be rejuvinated to pitch three or more years.

Of course, this really is all just pre-New-Years'-drunkenness-in-training. The M's would never trade for Randy Johnson. Randy would never come back to Seattle as long as Chuck Armstrong was in the M's org. In the odd chance that it would happen, though, it would be hugely bittersweet for me. My fandom for George would definitely extend beyond him being with the M's -- it would just be very, very hard for me to cheer for him in a Yankees', A's, or Angels' uniform. The cool stigma of George being able to say "I was traded for Randy Johnson!" would take away some of the sting. Getting RJ back in Seattle would be fantastic.

And I'd be as schizo as always...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good Riddance!

Hey M's fans! Are you here to celebrate the glorious news of Jose Vidro's arrival too? Cool! It's party central up in this piece (that's youth slang).

Yeah, I could hardly believe it when I heard it too... man, just to get that tingling sensation again, let's review as well as recap!

1: No more walks! Hey Mr. Snelling! Fish or cut bait, mate (that's what they say in austria!). I mean, is there a more boring play in baseball than a walk? Oh, I will sit here and do nothing for four-seven good-faith efforts and be bailed out by a technicality. Yeah, leave it to the umpire to do your job for you, Snelling. Where else is being lazy considered a positive quality? Not in America, I'll tell you that much, mister. And kudos (I hope that word isn't austrian) to Mr. Bavasi for seeing through the web of deceit that was Snelling's so-called 'patience.' There's a stat that applies to people like you, *Yoda*, it's called OBP (I think it's OverBoard with the Procrastinating or something) and it's pegged you right: a serial offender. You can hide from Jim Bowden, but you cannot hide from Science, Mr. Snelling.

2: We're fielding a much more valuable team now. Think about it: over the past year, we've dumped a number of shifty young men in exchange for *proven* veterans who make, on average, like a gazillion times more per year! How cool is that? Unless you're some sort of idiot who thinks that a player making less than $1 million is as good as, oh, I don't know, Jose Vidro, who the M's will pay $12 million over a couple of years. Look at the difference in salary! It's right there, in black and white: Vidro is about 7-8 times better than Fruto and Snelling combined. Nice doin' business with ya, Mr. Bowden! Har! Reminds me of when we fleeced Cleveland for their experienced DH platoon. What do I want with 20 year old AAA 'prospects' (yeah, prospective insurance salesmen in a year or two! Ha!) when I can have guys on the 'right' side of 30; guys who know how to keep a clubhouse loose, and who know how to win (no, neither Perez or Broussard have actually 'won' anything in particular, *except for my heart*, but you simply don't win with 20-some odd year old hoodlums. You. Do. Not. Florida cheated. There, I said it.). Broussard plus Vidro makes us a better team, and there's no way you can argue it: the Market has spoken, and Broussard and Vidro are paid more. QE2, 'mofos'.

3: Time's running out on YOU Messrs Lopez and Jones! Yeah, just you wait. You'll get yours. Jose Lopez *JUST* turned 23, and has done nothing to justify his salary. To think that some people still value him. I shouldn't have to mention that he makes a pittance - if he was any good, doncha think he'd get paid a little more like, oh, I don't know, Jose Vidro? He's had a chance, and he's got a career batting average of .265. Do you know what Willie Bloomquist's career batting average is? (Secretly, I hoped that you would ask me!) It's .257! It's like, the same, but with Willie you get 1:) flexibility, 2:) stolen bases and 3:) a better interview! Hey, Mr. Lopez? I can't understand the words that are coming out of your mouth! Were you paying attention in school, or were you already on the demon rum?! The best thing that could happen (and i'm *seriously* trying to manage my expectations, but Bavasi has shown he's got the vision to see things through!) is that Lopez is traded, which opens up a spot for Vidro, and then Willie becomes the dh (a DH that steals bases - leave it to Bill Bavasi to blaze new trails of genius). Hey, I hear you say, Why wouldn't Vidro be the DH? I thought he wanted to do that? That's what they call a smokescreen, people. That lets every other GM know that Lopez is still a viable 2b; yeah, puke, I know.... but that means he'll have more value in trade! Can you imagine, with Bavasi's record in trading players (and I'm one who thinks that Ramon Santiago never get a fair shot - glad to see someone agrees with me!) who we might be able to get? Jeff Suppan, maybe? David Eckstein (okay, Lopez would need to be part of a bigger package to get Eckstein, but a guy can dream, can't he! :) ;) - that means I am winking at you!)? Let's think outside the box - how about Kurt Warner? Whoa whoa whoa, he's a football player, I hear you say! But for a guy who went from supermarket box boy to Super Bowl MVP, how much does the phrase 'it can't be done' or 'that's ludicrous' mean? OK, it means a lot: in terms of motivation!

4: Yeah, I'm still going, I'll be going all night it was such an awesome day!! I could spend all night refuting all this malarkey about this being a 'bad' trade, but I think the case is closed now. (What was it that Perry Mason used to always say? 'You're immaterial, Lookout Landing! You're irrelevant, USS Mariner! :I'm in black and white while I'm saying this, Ok?:) . But alas, I have to retire - I can't even imagine what I'm going to dream about tonight. I bet it has something to do with Jose Vidro, David Eckstein and a unicorn, though. Those dreams are the best.

Will the last M's Fan Please Turn Off the Lights?

Someone PLEASE take away any sort of writing implement from Bavasi. Implement the BSoD hack on his computer, too, and jam his fax machines. Just keep him away from the Mariners.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It was all going so well....

The free agent market was out of control; the M's had strength/surplus in the bullpen (though that was diminished recently with the prognosis on Mark Lowe), and a seller's market for relief help. Bill Bavasi had made a couple of nice, under-the-radar deals to improve the club. He's skillfully charted out a middle ground with the fans: he's made it clear he's willing to deal Richie Sexson (cheers from the USSM crowd) but not just as a salary dump - he wants something cool in return (cheers from the anti-USSM crowd).

I've been planning a 'this off-season is awesome' post for a while. It was going to talk about how, despite their huge advantage in young talent, the Angels have pissed away a lot of their cash advantage through stupid deals, and how the M's wisely avoided over-committing resources in the next few years (when their young talent/low payroll will allow them to make a big splash in free agency/make the playoffs/win pennants). There are few times when just sitting there make sense, but this just may have been one of them.

In one afternoon, all of those positive feelings are gone. In one move, Bavasi has put paid to every positive thing ever said about him. I'm trying not to go too negative based on one move, but ferchrissakes, if he gets credit simply for hiring his friend (Bob Fontaine, who happens to be competent) and sitting still when the market goes crazy (who's to say he didn't offer $48m for Gary Matthews?), then he's absolutely gotta take credit for this crap. He saw an inefficiency in the market for 3/4 starters (Meche/Lilly/Weaver offers) and then overspent from another fund source. Hint to Bill Bavasi: you wouldn't pay $15m/year for Horacio Ramirez; don't pay the equivalent in talent. It doesn't matter if you offer to pay cash for a 19" black and white TV that's on sale for $2,000 or if you 'finance' it with 'zero down' payments and a low interest rate. It's still remarkably stupid.

As Jeff at Lookout Landing demonstrates here, the man's a younger version of the bad Joel Pineiro. His slugging against isn't quite as bad; that makes him a replacement-level MLB pitcher, and not a replacement level minor league mascot. His K:BB ratio is so bad, I can't in good conscience repeat it here. I know they're different types of pitchers (FB/GB), but the dude reminds me a whole lot of Damian Moss. Seriously, Moss used to be in the organization; I think he flamed out of the NPB - *he can be had*. If we're looking for guys who cleverly walk as many as they strike out (you know, to put hitters at ease - all the better to pounce later), and who have good stretches where the FBs don't leave the yard, and when the balls seem to be hit right at people, well, why *not* Damian Moss? I know it's a sore f*#$@ing subject, but why not Damian Moss AND Raffy Soriano?

The most depressing part of this is that it's now basically impossible to give Bavasi the benefit of the doubt. No, check that, the biggest part of this is losing Raffy Soriano to the poor man's Clint Nageotte. But still, one problem is that Bavasi seemed to fixate on a deal for Soriano (clearly, ANY DEAL), when his preferred deals - one involving Manny Ramirez or Adam LaRoche - were turned down. His behavior resembles nothing so much as your crazy drunk friend, who, upon being turned down by a smart, beautiful, charming girl, inexplicably becomes fixated on the questionably gendered mouth-breather at the bar. It doesn't make sense; you want to blame the alcohol, but you figure that even the alcohol excuse has its limits, and that the behavior is actually indicative of a long-supressed fetish. Seriously, how do we *really* know that Bavasi wasn't the one pushing to keep Pineiro on the 25 man roster all of 2006?
It all makes sense now, doesn't it? Join me in another drink....

No, I said MANNY Ramirez!!!!

This is a bad dream, right? I mean, one night, we're hearing some buzzings about the M's being involved in the Manny Ramirez trade talks. Of course, it turns out that Theo wants the sun, moon, stars, and three nearby galaxies for Manny, and the M's are smart enough to shy away. So, instead, still wanting to have SOMEone named Ramirez on the roster, perhaps to appease some casual season ticket holders, Bill Bavasi goes and trades Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez - a lefty starter from the Braves.

Two years ago, I made mention of a rally in front of Safeco Field. Two weeks after that, the M's signed Adrian Beltre (and, mind you, Richie Sexson).

Let's hope Bill pulls something similar out of his ass. This current move is the laughing stock of baseball right now, and doesn't even really make sense from a historical Bavasi-head-scratcher-move perspective. To quote from the timeless, yet currently timely, classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" this move is the Charlie Browniest.


Monday, December 04, 2006

How Much is too Much for Manny?

With the rumors creeping out of the woodwork that the M's are involved in the Manny Ramirez trade talks, I don't feel guilty about writing another blog entry that fuels that speculation. With this news, I've had a hard time not pondering what it would take to land Manny. A lot of the reality is based on whether Boston wants to be rid of Manny for financial concerns, or because of how tired they are of his antics (how they don't want to have to deal with having an unhappy Ramirez on the team, so they're granting his wishes to be traded).

If the trade talk out of Boston is for financial relief, it would appear that the Red Sox would be coveting prospects and cheap MLB'ers in return. So, that eliminates the possibility of trading Richie Sexson directly to Boston to swap some salary around. Of course, Boston has Lowell manning third and Youkilis manning first, and there's no way Sexson would take ABs away from Ortiz at DH. While Sexson would likely be a very nice fit, offensively, in Fenway, I just don't see a fit there, unless someone else takes Lowell or Youk (yeah, right) off of Boston's hands.

What is assumed is that Boston wants a new closer so Jonathon Papelbon can move into the rotation. The Mariners actually have some pretty good relief pitchers that would provide the financial relief to the Red Sox, and fit their need pretty well.

Throw John Hickey's name into the rumor-mongering pot now. He introduces a three-way trade between Boston, Seattle, and the Giants. Seattle gets Manny and Noah Lowry, Boston gets Adam Jones, JJ Putz, and perhaps a prospect or two, and San Francisco gets Richie Sexson. Everybody's happy. That trade makes so much sense for both teams. Depending on what other players would be involved, that would be the ideal scenario for me.

So, my question is: How much is too much for Manny? Would that amount change if the M's get a starting pitcher in return?

For Manny alone, I'd give up Jones and Soriano OR Putz, and another tacoma-level, non-pitching prospect or two. Anything more than that, without the Red Sox sending cash along, and it'd be much, much tougher to stomach.

Throw in a side deal for Richie Sexson, and send a starting pitcher in return, then I might be willing to pony up a little more.

Still, if the M's land Manny Ramirez, I'm going to be more giddy than I was two offseasons ago when the M's landed Beltre. Wait. I'm getting my hopes up. There's no way the M's could pull this move off.