Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Welcome to Seattle, Erik!

So nice of you to show up.

Please, stay for awhile. Have a cup of coffee.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Three Lessons...

There have been some interesting discussions around the blogs lately about how utterly bad this team has been to watch. I think it's sort of comical, really. It's brought up something, though, that has to be mentioned. I present three lessons.

Lesson #1
In 2004, a lot of us were clamoring for the departure of Bob Melvin. While the team was terrible, and really, 2004 was the start of this mess, we'd hoped the Mariners would can his butt and hire a better manager. Well, he did get fired, and certainly few of us thought Mike Hargrove could be worse. Whoops. Fast-forward to 2006, where all of us had grown tired of Hargrove, and were clamoring for him to be fired (and we practically threw a party when Churchill and others were hearing reports that he was about to be canned). Surely anyone -- anyone -- would be better than him. So, when Hargrove left on his own terms in 2007, it was sort of bittersweet.

And then we got McLaren. Now, I'm not saying that the current M's woes are his responsibility -- he's not the one up at the plate, serving meatballs and not making the fielding plays. But he's not entirely innocent either.

Lesson #2
In 2006, a lot of us were glad to see Gil Meche and Joel Pinero leave. Then, in 2007, their replacements -- Jeff Weaver & Horacio Ramirez were comically worse. Surely as bad as they were, things had to improve.

Can you believe that Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista have been worse, so far, than Weaver & Ramirez?

Lesson #3
A lot of people complained about Pat Gillick destroying the farm system by sacrificing draft picks to compensate for signing veteran non-superstar free agents. And at the same time, for "standing Pat" at the trade deadline (i.e. holding onto other prospects -- that in the end didn't pan out for the M's). So they were glad to see him go, and
Bavasi brought in to salvage the farm system. However, I'd argue that in spite of helping build the farm system by actually using the draft again, Bavasi has been a worse GM than Gillick.

So, if Bavasi is fired -- it can't get worse, right?


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Griffey in 2008?

As I mentioned in my previous post -- I'd really honestly prefer the M's sign Barry Bonds over trading for Griffey. Recognizing that they likely wouldn't do that, my second choice would be to sign Kenny Lofton, who's defense would help the Mariners and whose bat probably wouldn't be that much different than Griffey's (sacrificing some power for fewer outs and a bit more speed).

Here's some perspective. Griffey's MLB career started in 1989 -- here's a list of things that were going on back then:
  • The Berlin Wall was still intact. I know, I was there in 1989 -- it came down only 6 months after I wrote on it (and after Griffey had been in the league for one season).
  • The Exxon Valdez oil spill happened
  • It was still the 80s.
  • Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" was a #1 single. Madonna's "Like a Prayer" was, too. Deborah Gibson was known as Debbie, and topping the charts. New Kids on the Block, Milli Vanilli -- need I say more?
  • Rain Man was the Best Picture
  • Wrestlemania V: Hulk Hogan defeats Randy "Macho Man" Savage
  • Sega Genesis & Nintendo GameBoy released
  • Pete Rose's lifetime ban begins, the Skydome in Toronto opens
  • The Simpsons and Seinfeld debut on TV
  • Joe Jonas, Sanjaya Malakar, Michele Wie, Jordan Sparks, and Lil Mama were born
  • Ted Bundy, Ayatolla Khomeni, Salvador Dali, Lucille Ball, Bart Giamatti, Ferdinand Marcos, Graham Chapman, Bette Davis, Joe Collins, Irving Berlin, and Mel Blanc (aka Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Porky Pig/Barney Rubble, etc...) all died.
But let's dig a little deeper.

As most of us are probably aware, Griffey has 10-5 rights -- he's been in the league for 10 years and has been with the same team for 5 years. This allows him the right to veto a trade and/or a waiver claim, even without having a no-trade clause in his contract.

The important question becomes, then, would Griffey consent to a trade to the Mariners -- and if so -- why?

During his heyday, Griffey was definitely a leader in the clubhouse. He and Jay Buhner were particularly close, and both of them helped drive Lou Piniella insane. Remember this commercial? Of course, Junior was a LOT younger then, and most of those teammates have retired, except RJ and a few others. But John McLaren was around then, and he was beloved by Junior.

Yeah, Junior probably has a sense of nostalgia and would like to finish his career where it began. I believe his words -- and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he wanted to stick around longer than the 1-day contract that's been discussed in the media.

The thing is -- Griffey probably wants a ring more than he wants nostalgia. I'm not sure if he's got the energy or the desire to carry this woeful team on his shoulders to dig them out of the deep hole they've found themselves in. It's a ridiculously deep hole that sacrificing outfield defense won't help. While I don't necessarily assent to the validity of defense stats and measurements, I'm comfortable enough with their reliability when looking at a team's rating/valuation, even if I'm not 100% sold on the cost/benefit to the win/loss record. I am not at all surprised that the recent analysis shows the M's as having the worst defense, in terms of plays below average. While Wlad Balentien has been helping tremendously, he caught the sucktitis virus going around the team tonight. Moving him out to move Griffey in would definitely not help this.

I mention defense because if Griffey does consent to be traded back to Seattle, it won't be as the DH. At FanFest this year, Jay Buhner -- arguably one of Griffey's best friends to this day -- mentioned that while Griffey would probably be best suited as a DH (saying his days as a great OF'er are long behind him), Griffey isn't quite ready to give up his spot on the field. And even if they move Raul from LF to DH (or 1B), the upgrade probably isn't very significant. I can't imagine Griffey being too anxious to be platooned and/or moved around the field. Even if it's probably best for all parties involved. Except, of course, the M's current DH -- Jeff Clement (who really should displace Kenji Johjima at the catcher's position).

And I really don't want to get into my fears of what Bavasi would give up to get Griffey back.

While the nostalgic part of me would like to see Griffey come back and put some energy into this woeful team, I also recognize that the older you get, the less motivated you get to "go all messiah". While the 1990s Griffey could definitely help the M's right now, the Griffey of today would just be another symptom of the problem.

The M's are too focused on the past. They're content to completely ignore defense. The M's value experience and reputation much more than they value talent. Trading for Griffey at the cost of someone like Adam Moore or Juan Ramirez, and the development of either Wlad or Jeff would be a terrible decision.

That's completely why I expect it to happen...

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Screw Junior -- The M's Need Bonds!

I know they'll never do it. I know the blog-o-sphere has overstated this. I'm still going to say it.

Now, more than ever before, the Mariners need a bat. They need some attention. They need a guy who can distract them from spiraling completely out of control. Yes, it's cold outside and it's still spring (and the kids are still in school) -- but that's only a minor reason why attendance is plummeting.

Apathy, I'd say, is probably the biggest reason.

To cure this apathy they could a) start winning; b) get someone in there to draw some attention in or c) do something drastic (and stupid) by clearing house completely. Since a) isn't about to happen, and c) isn't about to happen, that leaves us with b) -- however remote THAT even is.

A lot of talk lately has centered around bringing Griffey home. Yeah, that might be interesting. But considering that Griffey is on the downhill slide of his career arc, and would require giving up talent, he shouldn't be the first option. I just don't trust Bavasi with his trading track record.

So, really, that leaves us with Barry Bonds as the next logical option. Yes, he too is on the downhill slide of his career.


Barry Bonds at age 44 is a better hitter than Griffey at age 38. Yeah, yeah -- PEDs and all that crap. I discussed this nearly two years ago. There's news that the union is looking into possible collusion, with how Barry Bonds has been treated in free agency.

I hate Barry a metric ton. I don't care, though -- I love the Mariners more than I hate Barry. This team needs a kick in the ass. Barry's about the only guy around who can do it.

To a lot of people, Howard Lincoln doesn't have a soul to sell. Well, it's time for him to sell whatever's left of it to make room for one of the best hitters of all time, even if he skirted unspoken rules (PEs, of course, not being banned by MLB during the time Barry Bonds was likely to have taken them).

This is getting absolutely ridiculous.

I really am starting to hate this team.

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