Mariners: At the very least, they need a hitter off the bench who could fill in for Edgar Martinez, if necessary. Ideally, they would love to add an impact bat, but the only ones available -- Ken Griffey Jr., Jason Kendall, etc. -- are overpriced. The team has inquired about Kendall, but his declining catching skills remain a concern. One option: Acquire Kendall to catch this season, then move him to left field in 2005 with Raul Ibanez replacing John Olerud at first if Olerud retires.
Two declining players with minimal power at slugging positions: tasty!
The lefties might force right-hander Kevin Jarvis and his $4.5 million salary right out of the bullpen, which would make room to keep two left-handers. Jarvis, of course, has muddled things by pitching better lately, a scoreless inning yesterday dropping his ERA to 11.82.
He's pitched better lately. And his ERA is 11.82.
Hey, at least he got some outs in front of the Brewers' scouts.
Wrestling with Pete Rose: One of my all-time favorite wrestling personalities is Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. In an interview with Wrestlecrap.com, the Brain dropped this choice soundbite about Rose's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Here it is in RealPlayer format and a brief transcript.
In what may be the freakiest thing I've seen since Liza Minnelli's latest wedding, these folks are selling sports gear for dogs. Check out the photo gallery of four-legged critters in game jerseys, fleece warmups, etc. Right now, only a select few teams have products available for purchase.
Apparently they don't think Mariner fans will buy this stuff, which makes me proud.
More on Rios: Tod Northman points out that Alexis Rios' similarity scores on his PECOTA card are a mixed bag. David Green, Don Mattingly, George Bell, Fernando Tatis ... Terry Francona? Still, I think he's young enough to learn some plate discipline, and would immediately become our top position-player prospect. I say go for it.
posted by Jefflink 9:53 AM 
Others are big on Werth, I know. But it's Rios that really excites me.
Why are they trying to get rid of him? According to the Toronto Star:
Eventually Rios will likely be traded. His skills are too similar to Vernon Wells' in terms of not seeing pitches and drawing walks.
True, Rios doesn't have the plate discipline you'd like, but he's just 23. At 22 last year, he tore up AA, posting a .923 OPS for Toronto's New Haven farm club. Would the pitching-rich Mariners swap a prospect for a top-tier outfield prospect like him?
With Edgar likely retiring next year, the team is going to have to start looking into young bats sooner or later. Why not offer Rett Johnson for Rios?
Okay, I'll say it: Been holding off on saying this out of some juvenile effort at jinx-removing, but here it is. Deep breath.
Okay, now, punctuated correctly: I think Freddy Garcia's going to have a big year.
We all know the guy has talent. He's 27, has a career ERA under four, and is just two seasons removed from a sterling 3.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. He's been criticized for lack of focus, and there have been whispers about his work ethic. Consider, though:
--Surgery to repair two burst eardrums. The club and Freddy both say the injury didn't affect him, but how could it not?
--Just an observation, but he looks to be in great shape this spring, and he's thrown the ball well in just about every appearance.
They're advertising 240 games a month. That's about eight games a day.
Ordinarily, this kind of thing is $19.95 per month. To tempt me like that creepy thing in Mel Gibson's movie, though, MSN is cutting a deal. They're trying to troll for subscribers to their premium service by subsidizing the transaction -- that is, if you sign up through MSN Premium, then it's only $9.95 per month.
If someone reassures me that the blackout restrictions aren't too onerous (click the link at the bottom of MSN Premium), I may have to add another budget item to the family Quicken file.
In Winn's first few years with the Devil Rays, Quinton McCracken played center most of the time.
"He can play center," said McCracken, with Seattle as a backup outfielder. "He'll be fine."
This is kind of like when the only kid in school geekier than I was assured all the football players that I was cool. When you consider the source, it just makes matters worse for you.
Seriously, even if we didn't know that these two guys were best friends, the only factors keeping McCracken from the title "worst center fielder on the roster" are named Ibanez and Bloomquist. Is this the type of recommendation Randy Winn wants?
For the record (again), I think Winn's a nice player, valuable to the team. As a center fielder, though, he makes a sweet left fielder.
Something serious: Journalism has taken it in the shorts over the past few years, what with Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass and all. For my money, though, Jack Kelley's prevarications at USA Today outdo both of them by a fair bit.
Don't mistake that for Blair-Glass apologism: both of those men are serial liars that should be loathed at worst, pitied if you're feeling compassionate, and drummed out of the business either way. But they were also young men early in their careers when they purveyed their essentially impactless fictions.
Kelley wasn't. He was the highest profile reporter at Gannett's flagship paper, a star that was assigned sensitive issues like Cuba's refugees and the Israel-Palestine crisis. Kelley apparently used that position to spread lies he found expedient.
Worse, he's refused to accept responsiblity for his actions. Kelley wrote that a particular female Cuban refugee died trying to reach the U.S. He even brought back a picture. As it turned out, she didn't die, but his story could have gotten her killed, or at least prevented her emigration. When confronted with the evidence, Kelley said it wasn't the same woman, even though a) there was photographic evidence, b) she said the woman in the photo was her, c) she said she had spoken to Kelley for his story, d) they found early versions of the story on his laptop where he calls the character by a variety of different names.
Blair and Glass were writing fiction, too. But at least when they got caught, they admitted it. This absolutely doesn't excuse their actions, but it does condemn Kelley's.
Journalists always fret that the public doesn't trust them. It's fairly clear why that's the case, and the remedy is equally clear: don't let people like Jack Kelley get away with this.
Something frivolous: I missed out on the "put your MP3 player on random and report what it spits out" affair of last month, but I thought I'd throw out some of the songs I think of when I visit some of my favorite M's blogs.
Mariner Optimist: First choice: "Beliefs Pile," Avail. Relevant Lyric: "My goal is to gain the courage/and smile for awhile."
Second choice: "Come On Get Happy," Partridge Family.
USS Mariner: First choice: Anything by Primus, but especially "Harold of the Rocks." Relevant Quotation: "They're pirate ditties" -- Les Claypool, when asked about his lyrics.
Second choice: Theme from Gilligan's Island.
Sports and Bremertonians: First choice: Either "Move to Bremerton," by MxPx or "Bremelo" by Sir Mixalot, for obvious reasons.
Second choice: For some reason, I hit on Metallica's "Master of Puppets."
Mariner Musings: First choice: "The Reasons," The Weakerthans. Relevant Lyric: "I know you might roll your eyes at this/But I'm so glad that you exist."
Why I chose that: Peter does haiku, and three songs on the Weakerthans album are written in sonnet form. A stretch, I know, so sue me.
Try as I might, I can't come up with songs for Fire Bavasi, The Safe, Wheelhouse or Sodo Oh No. and no, I'm not going to cheese out and assign anybody John Fogerty's "Center Field".
posted by Jefflink 9:39 AM 
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
On baseball: I've been enjoying the back-and-forth on USS Mariner regarding Ryan Franklin, balls in play and home runs. Seems like Keith Woolner is considering doing a Baseball Prospectus article on the topic, which I'll look forward to.
I haven't made up my mind on many of these issues yet, but I am determined to avoid Franklin in my fantasy drafts, one of which is this weekend. Seems to me he benefited from Mike Cameron's defensive brilliance as much or more than anyone else, and our outfield (and infield, for that matter) defense is substantially downgraded.
Got my first tickets of the new year: April 16, versus Texas. Should be an offensive barometer -- or rather, it'll be incredibly disappointing if we can't drop at least a six-spot on the likes of Colby Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Glendon Rusch (yowza!) et. al.
Belated weekend dog bloggin': I took the hound to Lost Lake, a great spot outside of Bellingham.
It's called "Lost Lake" for a reason: the shortest route in is nearly ten miles round trip. The trail I took was almost unpopulated, despite the 65 degree weather, clear skies and cramped trailheads everywhere else. I'm writing about it this week for the Bellingham Herald.
Russell The Hound learned about the laws of physics shortly after this was taken, stepping on a partially decomposed log and taking a much-needed natural bath.
posted by Jefflink 2:38 PM 
Monday, March 22, 2004
Jarvis watch: Okay, I got what I asked for: an update from a Seattle beat writer about where Kevin Jarvis stands in terms of making the roster.
Melvin said carrying 12 pitchers on the roster is, "a possibility, not a probability."
"I'm leaning toward 11 right now," he said.
Yesterday against Kansas City, Gil Meche fought his way through four innings without being sharp, allowing only two runs despite four walks and four hits.
Kevin Jarvis worked two innings after Meche and had his best outing of the spring, and officially is still competing for a bullpen job.
"Right now we're looking at him in a long role, since (Julio) Mateo is no longer in that role," Melvin said. "That would figure into keeping one or two left-handers (in addition to closer Eddie Guardado) in the bullpen."
Since lefty Ron Villone will be on the roster, keeping Jarvis would seem to make it impossible for Melvin to include either Terry Mulholland or Mike Myers in the bullpen.
So not only does Jarvis still have a shot to make the team, but if he doesn't, we've got the Faustian duo of Mulholland and Myers as our other options? Ye gods.
[In fairness to Jarvis, he did work two scoreless innings on Saturday, a sure sign of the apocalypse.]
Another Boone: Over 30? Check. Does well in the less-meaningful statistics? Check. Family ties to the team? Check.