Another non-starter of a rumor: The Minnesota Star-Tribune speculates that the Twins might seek Dan Wilson from the Mariners to take some of the pressure off Joe Mauer, who recently returned from injury:
One player mentioned by some in the Twins organization has been former Gophers star Dan Wilson. Wilson, 35, is backing up Miguel Olivo in Seattle, can play several days in a row and is a free agent after the season. Since he's a free agent and likely will leave Seattle after this year, the Mariners might be willing to accept a midlevel prospect in return.
Well, I would certainly take a midlevel prospect for Wilson. But Bavasi already said that Dan, Jamie and Edgar weren't going anywhere. Much as I'd like to see this happen, it's not going to.
It's the third inning. Your opponent's struggling starting pitcher has thrown about fifty pitches -- you've got him on the ropes, but haven't eked out more than one run yet. But you've got your number three hitter up, the slugger who won last night's game with a Grand Salami. What do you do?
If you're Bunting Bob, you sacrifice, of course. We've got to play for one or two runs early! If we get one or two runs every inning, we might be able to overcome the snowman that they're going to hang on us in the fourth inning.
Anyone care to make the "home runs kill rallies" argument now? Anyone?
If you've got MLB.tv, get on over to the Oakland-Toronto game and check out a fantastic pitchers' duel. 'Nuff said.
Update: I would feel guilty about jinxing David Bush's no-hitter, which he gave up with one out in the eighth, but those Jays broadcasters don't have our American superstitions. They were throwing around the term "no-hitter" and references to the zeros in the hit column from about the fifth inning. Still, great pitching performance by both Bush and Rich Harden.
Boone update: Peter Gammons says "[s]everal GMs now insist" that the Mariners may release Bret Boone rather than let his option for next year vest.
Despite his status as a member of the unchallengable sports journalism pantheon, Gammons is wrong a lot. I'd be shocked if he were right about this. If he is, it would be a colossally stupid move on the part of the Mariners: give Boone up for nothing, leave yourself a hole that's difficult to fill, and risk a serious union grievance which might cripple the only rationale for the move, financial flexibility? Bad, bad, bad idea.
Gammons also confirms the "Moyer not available for trade" stuff that everyone is reporting.
The Trade Deadline Approaches: John Olerud? Gone. Rich Aurilia? Buh-bye. Freddy Garcia? Long gone, signed to an overpriced contract.
Tradeable commodities are scarce on this team now. We know Bill Bavasi has been trying to move Gil Meche, but Meche cleared waivers a month ago, has been bringing a new aroma to Tacoma, and has a history of arm injury. Good luck getting anything for him.
Other than Eddie Guardado, who I may post about tomorrow, Boone is the last commodity the Mariners have that could potentially bring trade value. Some folks want to see Boone's $9 million contract for next year moved for prospects, assuming we could get a worthwhile deal. Some want to see Boone stick around, surrounded by new thunder from the free agent market.
Count me in the latter category. Though I always keep an open mind about potential swaps -- it all depends on what you get back, after all -- the market for Boone seems so soft as to defy reason. The Times reported a few days ago that the M's were set to deal Boone and Freddy Garcia to the Yankees, but the Yanks balked because they didn't want to pay Boone's salary and give up prospects.
[How flabbergasting is that? The Yankees didn't want to pay an overpriced veteran. And doesn't this make the Garcia-to-the-White-Sox deal look even sweeter? We could have been looking at giving Boone and Garcia to the Evil Empire for Dioner Navarro. Dodged a bullet there.]
If that's the market, you've gotta keep Boone. Sure, it's unlikely he'll earn his $9 million next year. But what free agent second baseman is likely to be better? Also, I think there's a better chance Boone will earn his money based on his last three years of performance than any readily available alternative.
Contrast that with, say, outfield and first base, where Carloses Beltran and Delgado are available, respectively. Position scarcity is much scarier at second base.
If Bucky Jacobsen proves to be a viable, inexpensive DH option, that opens up the coffers for a run at two major free agent bats and an arm or two. Boone could be, at worst, a solid-if-overpriced complementary piece in that lineup. At best, perhaps he returns to last year's form. That's a risk I think has to be taken given the other choices.
Would you rather ... ?: In darkened buses or the back of class, we've all played the game "would you rather ... ?" This juvenile enterprise consists of choosing between two awful options conceived of by the asker and visited upon the askee. I'll leave the horrors you asked about/were asked about in the dark recesses of your memories and not inflict mine upon you in this post.
Let's remove the abstract. Today's entries, starting with Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe:
The Sox are in Seattle tonight for two games. The Mariners are playing dead-ass baseball and are ripe to be swept. Time for the Red Sox to get something going on the road.
Raw. "Dead-ass baseball?" "Ripe to be swept"? The truth defense is for libel, not for bile.
Does it, though, sting as much as this, from Lang Whitaker of SI.com?:
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have designated Fred McGriff ... for assignment ... McGriff ends his Tampa tenure with 493 career home runs, tied with Lou Gehrig for 21st on the all-time home run list. We now call upon the Seattle Mariners, who are 30 games under .500 and have been using utility players at first base, to give him one last chance. You know, for the kids.
The McGriff crack hurts, no doubt about it. In fact, this hurts much worse than the Shaugnessy barb, and not because it's clever or funny, because it's really not.
No, this reads like a prescripted line from a hack comedy show writer -- someone who has this McGriff gag all ready, then checks the sports page to see what team is sucking the most wind. Need more convincing? What hardcore baseball fan would say that the M's "have been using utility players at first base"? Huh?
When you become the butt of the casual fan's jokes, you've achieved real ignominy.
Is tonight an anomaly, or: does Bucky Jacobsen suddenly have a target on his back? Granted, the late-inning shot off his hip was probably not intentional. But Scott Elarton buzzing one behind his head? Curious. The guy's been in the big leagues less than a week.
"The dearth of quality lefthanded relievers could lead some clubs to pursue righthanders who are effective against lefties. The Brewers' Luis Vizcaino and Blue Jays' Terry Adams - holding lefties to batting averages of .203 and .205, respectively — both fit that description. The Mariners' Ron Villone might be the most attractive lefty available. He's holding lefties to a .178 BA . . ."
Haven't had much time for blogging lately with the aftermath of my Okinawa trip; plus, I've been spending lots of time underwater this summer. Still, wanted to say that my interest in the M's has been revitalized with all the changes. I expect to be back posting regularly from here on out.
posted by Jefflink 11:20 PM