More ExpectationsJanuary 27th, 2012 by terrybenish
I received a nice note from Jim Moore, outsourced Sun columnist. To paraphrase he enjoys the blog and when he reads the blog I come across, bitter, angry and frustrated…something he likens to his reflection in his mirror. I must be doing something right.
There have been a number of doings in the past week or so, the new Mariner PR Blog, the Mariner’s Caravan, Fanfest and then yesterday’s Mariner luncheon. Apparently as Jeff Sullivan recounts that anyone could attend although a few folks were invited. I was neither invited nor attended.
Larry Stone and Sullivan wrote about yesterday’s doings. Here’s Stone’s version:
Here is Sullivan’s entitled “Nautical Twilight”
Both pieces give you a picture of what was said that is consistent and both writers are upbeat about the coming year, which may not be consistent with what GM Jack Zduriencik said in a moment of truthfulness, “This is going to be a challenging year at the big league level. Let’s not kid ourselves…”
Art Thiel has been here longer than the two guys above and has accumulated some credibility in this market and even wrote a book after the 2001 season about the Mariners. That was then, this is now.
Here are the opening lines from his coverage of the luncheon entitled “Good News Is M’s Saved $214 m on DH: , ” Ichiro is back but won’t lead off, Figgins is back, everywhere but nowhere, and the young guys are one year older. Oh, and Jesus came to the Mariners. Amen, or ahem?
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik issued another plea for patience to Mariners fans for 2012.
While it seems as if the Mariners did next to nothing this off-season to fix a team that lost 95 games, that’s not the way to look at it.
They saved $214 million by not signing free agent Prince Fielder.
When is the last time you saved $214 million?
That sort of rationalization is how one keeps a chin up when coming to work each day as a Mariners employee. Comparing for comfort purposes the franchise to a goofier one began when Alex Rodriguez was given in 2000 $252 million by the Texas Rangers. Wouldn’t be prudent, the Mariners said then. They were right.
But the counter-argument is that this isn’t the Cub Scouts, it’s major league baseball, where imprudence, foolishness and recklessness are coins of the realm…”
By all means read the rest of it:
After you finish that read these other notes on the M’s recent activity:
His take on the trade:
A couple of days ago he riffs on the throw in on the Deal, Hector Noesi as maybe being good, a gem even, but goes on to say what does it matter if he gets traded away:
Probably the reason I put these here for your reading pleasure is that they echo stuff we have chewed on before and it is good eat with company and secondly they are well written and funny in a pithy, bitchy kind of way. Good stuff.
The thing that is bothersome in reading of the accounts of the luncheon is some discordant messages that simultaneously or alternatively ring out. On the one hand you hear this little flutey thing about the kids and building for the future and then every third beat this Brubeckian piano chord over and over again of Ichiro, Figgins, Olivo and Gutierrez.
The first three are done or soon to be done and in no sense represent any rebuilding effort or players that can be part of the future. Running them out there over and over again to see if that is not true is a form of madness. The big news yesterday was manager Wedge saying Ichiro is not going to lead off.
Well that is good, last year he was the worst or nearly worst regular hitter for the Ms in terms of OPS and so why give him the most plate appearances? But I’m pretty sure Wedge is talking of batting him second or third…nobody there, on record anyway, said, “How about ninth?”
Figgins? Really? Why show case him? Nobody will trade for him. Figgins was better than Saunders and the pitchers that hit last year. Saunders, wow, he will get another shot. He has over 600 major league plate appearances and can’t hit. He was at the luncheon, so I had to throw him in. Why are we talking about Figgins. He was a great lead off hitter for Angels, and we signed him and had him play another position and bat somewhere else. Is he the new leadoff hitter?
Franklin had a great year for the Ms three seasons ago. He has fallen off to the point where what we saw last year was not a major league hitter. That is now popularly attributed to irritable bowel syndrome. 2010 was bad too, not as bad, but bad. The trainer talked at the luncheon, Rick Griffin, and he says Gutierrez’s healthy now.
Zduriencik said no contract stuff with Ichiro until after the season…interesting.
So the Mariners have two monster teams in the division in front of them and Billy Beane fresh off the Academy Award nominations, fielding what seems to be a triple A team, which again hopefully is not as good as the Mariners and what do you do to get up to watch another season?
Thiel and Geoff Baker have captured the organizational perfidy and that is something we have chronicled as well. Despite that is there a reason to watch?
Depending on how Wedge deals with the albatross of dead wood he has been saddled with, there ARE players to watch. Players that CAN get better. How MUCH better you ask? Maybe a LOT better. There are the prospects of some fantastic young pitchers that may arrive at Safeco this year. Opening day? Maybe.
If some of the deadwood actually shows some green, miracle upon miracle, pray that a trade can occur to free up money or clear the way for a younger player.
There are few owners in the Hall of Fame. Rightfully so. Babe Ruth was traded after all. So was Hank Aaron.
Connie Mack is in the hall of fame. As an owner and GM he DID win world series, but he also dumped great players to raise money. The economics of baseball are complicated. You can win and not pay out the wazzu, such as the Cardinals have done. It is possible to win and not spend much as Tampa Bay and the Twins have shown.
But, it is next to impossible to win without good players. If the Mariners want patience from their fans, they need to stop giving away the type of talent that Bavasi and Zduriencik have done over the last six years. It is a terrible formula for business or baseball.
There are players to watch and invest in. There are only a few days till pitchers and catchers report.