Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mariners Sign Wily Mo Pena

You know what, maybe he's not part of the future, but he has absolutely crushed for a year and a half at AAA and he raked in a short stint with the DBacks, although he didn't hit for high average. But regardless, in a Mariner season in desperate need of run scoring and lets face it, entertainment, we could use a whole lot of this:

It's a minor league deal, but I'd expect to see him up with the big squad in no time. Why not - I like this move.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seattle Is Ready For The Real Thing

Sometimes is hard for Mariner fans to remember what winning feels like.  Real winning.  Not just a game, but a significant triumph.  This weekend the Mariners celebrate that lost feeling with a trip down memory lane.  Friday night's admission includes a bobble-head with Mark McLemore and Mike Cameron locked in a hand embrace.  116 Wins t-shirts for the first 20,000 through the gate on Saturday.  Remember the good old days? 

The 2001 Mariners led the majors in winning percentage the from the first pitch of opening day.  This surprised most observers as baseball experts across the country predicted that Alex Rodriguez's departure to the Rangers would send the franchise into a downward spiral.  But the arrival of Ichiro, and a monster season by Bret Boone (.331/37/141!), wrote a different story.  The 2001 Mariners boasted eight all-stars who graced Safeco Field for the mid-summer classic: RF Ichiro Suzuki, DH Edgar Martínez, CF Mike Cameron, 2B Bret Boone, 1B John Olerud and pitchers Freddy Garcia, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Jeff Nelson. 

As wonderful as it was, the 2001 season was the one that got away. The girl you never had the guts to ask out.  Sure, you had some great times together.  But when it came down to the moment of truth you couldn't close the deal.  Fast-forward 10 years and we have the memories of that bittersweet season and nothing more.  Seattle remains one of two baseball franchises to never appear in the World Series.  Vegas would probably give you even money if you were to wager on the team that will make their World Series appearance first, the Nationals or the Mariners. 

What would real winning look like in Seattle?  World Series winning.  It would change everything.  The entire franchise, and city, would change.  Imagine if the magic of 1995 lasted years, not just a few months.  To get a sense of what this would look like in Seattle you can look South, to our closest baseball neighbors. 

Giant Fever

San Francisco is obsessed with the Giants.  The franchise captured the heart of the city last season and hasn't loosened its grip.  It is hard to describe what real winning feels like unless you experience it.  This winter The City was so excited for the season to start you would have thought every day was opening day.

Winning looks like this (from AT&T Park, Opening Day 2011):

Giant Boats

Fan Floats
Hero's Welcome

When the home opener finally arrived, tailgating started 5 hours before the first pitch.  The atmosphere around the kickoff of the 6-month baseball season felt like a Seahawk NFC Championship game in January.  People were partying in Giant themed boats and floats.  Giant orange was everywhere.  Fans went crazy at their first fix of Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey on the stadium big screen.  The city shed tears, and their voices, when Brian Wilson raised the championship flag.  The celebration is still going.

How does it feel?

This feeling doesn't start and end with a game.  Winning, like The Dude, abides.  It can never be erased and is never forgotten.  The 1995 and 2001 Mariners gave us a taste, but don't confuse that with the real thing.  Seattle is ready to be transformed.  When will the Mariners be ready?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Prepare Yourself For Bedard Trade

So I was on record heading into this season that I was actually rather optimistic about Erik Bedard, writing about it here on the Log and over at He was kind enough to make me not look like a total moron and has gone on to post a 3.00 ERA and a 8.5 K/9 over 90 innings pitched. Yeah, he's on the disabled list right now, but it's a knee issue and nothing related to the part of the body that helps him sling baseballs.

He's been a huge part of any moderate success that this team has had in 2011, and surely they would be a much better team if he stuck around (and was healthy) for the remainder of the year.

But Mariner fans, we need to prepare for the Erik Bedard trade because it's very, very likely. Why?

  • The Mariners are not going to the playoffs in 2011. They're just not. I'm sorry. It simply makes no sense to hang on to your best trade chip when you have gaping holes in your organization and you're building for the future just because you want to try and win 80 games. 
  • He's on a one year contract, so it's not like we have him retained on the cheap for years to come. In fact, there's nothing that says we can't re-sign him in the offseason even if we do trade him now. But he's not an albatross contract, so that ought to drive up the asking price a bit since clubs won't be taking on some mess of a contract just because they're making a push for the playoffs.
  • This is really a best-case scenario when it comes to Bedard because he's been very successful and he's not hurt. Yet. Why wait for his shoulder to finally crap out again? Deal him now, wish him well, and he's someone else's training table problem. 
  • Yes, this is the "year of the pitcher" so there aren't a ton of teams that are dying for starters, but teams that are still in the playoff hunt that could really use a guy like Bedard for the second half include the Reds, Indians, Rockies, and Red Sox. I could even see a scenario where the Yankees get involved even though they really don't need him.

Now, what we get back is obviously the biggest question. This team as it's currently built isn't going to realistically contend even next year unless they get some major-league-ready talent soon. But the Mariners very clearly need offense, and they need it badly in the outfield, at catcher, and at third base. And they need them to be ready to contribute next season, with the goal to be competitive by 2013.

Erik Bedard - you've been really great this season. But keep your bag packed.