Monday, October 22, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Thankfulness...

Seeing Ichiro raise the 12th Man flag at Qwest Field yesterday, especially with the way he exploded in joy, waiving the towel, and really cheering hard, reminded me of how thankful I am that the M's don't have to resolve that question this offseason.

They have a lot to worry about, but, thankfully, Ichiro's status isn't on that list.

Yeah, things probably won't go like we all want this offseason. I'm not sure how many people really wanted the status quo with McLaren and Bavasi. Still, the status quo with Ichiro is just fine by me. Things could be a lot worse...

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Hearty Welcome to Hardball Review!

Hey - I just noticed a new blog in town. One of my blog-o-sphere mateys, known as "etowncoug" and a few other folks have just opened shop over at Hardball Review. Etown/Brent has written a fine article on Jose Lopez, and honestly, I think we're sharing a lot of the same thoughts:
The long term fix to Lopez is not as simple as a change of scenery. Lopez needs find a way to hide his weaknesses. Waiting for a pitch that he can drive would be an excellent start. I am extremely skeptical of any player whose breakout ability depends so heavily on his pitch recognition ability to go from well below average to above average. This isn’t going to happen overnight and until this improves I see his ceiling as an average player.
Jose is one of two players that I believe have much more value to another club than they do the Mariners (the other being Brandon Morrow, who I believe will only be used as a bullpen arm in this organization, since they're not going to be patient enough to give him the 1-2 years in the minors that he would need to truly become an effective starter, and I don't believe Morrow's talented/polished enough to pull off becoming an effective starter over the winter and through spring training -- but I digres...). That doesn't mean they should trade him away just to trade him, like they did with Carlos Guillen and to a certain extent Rafael Soriano. But indeed, Lopez still has enough upside that his struggles in the second halves of 2006 and 2007 are just minor bumps in the road.

It's easy to forget that he's only 23 years old. There's still a lot of potential for him to mature into an above-average second baseman, but again -- as Brent mentions -- until he improves on his pitch recognition and becomes more selective on the pitches he tries to drive, he's not going to help the team with his bat. His glove certainly took some major strides forward, and he can still improve in that area of his game. His bat, though, is quite a ways behind. I believe he's talented enough to pull it together, but it may take more time than this organization is willing to give him.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

It's Over!

Well, except for a few teams, the 2007 is officially over. The Hot Stove League, then, for the Mariners is in full effect. With that, I have a few questions...

1) If A-Rod opts out of his contract, will Texas still be on the hook? My guess is that they won't be. That may not be good for the Mariners. If he ends up in Anaheim, it could be a double-whammy...

2) So, Jeff Pentland is the only coach to survive McLaren's scythe. What exactly is it about Jeff Pentland that deemed him worthy of being spared? Will he remain as hitting coach, or will he slide over to another coaching spot?

3) Where in the heck will Bavasi find starting pitching? He's not thinking about what USSM and other folks are thinking -- tapping into Tampa Bay's resources. I can almost guarantee that. Can he make a worse move than the one made for Horacio Ramirez? Anything's possible...

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