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Chicago Cubs Introduce Finley. er... Make that Fukudome posted on 12/20/2007

If I were a Cubs fan (which, by the way - they are one of the few teams outside my hometown that I do root for...), I'd be a little concerned. 

Jim Hendry, Cubs GM, recently introduced their big outfield acquisition of the offseason - the supposed gap-hitting-machine of Kosuke Fukodome.  Fukodome's career stats in Japan are impressive - .305 batting average, .397 on base percentage and a .593 slugging percentage - thus, the Cubbies sent him $48 million U.S. dollars (yeah, that's 5,420,469,100 yen...cha-ching!) to do his thing in right field for them for the next four years.

I've always been a little curious how things will turn out when hitters are brought to the MLB from Japan.  Ichiro has obviously worked out nicely, and I suppose you can say the same for Hideki Matsui, although he hasn't produced like the "Godzilla" he was in Japan.  But anytime I think of the difference between the talent level in Japan and the MLB, I think of Tuffy Rhodes.  

Continue reading "Chicago Cubs Introduce Finley. er... Make that Fukudome"

Grade Inflation in Assessing Major League Pitchers? posted on 12/19/2007

I read an interesting article today where a reputable source at ESPN linked my Seattle Mariners to Mark Prior (along with many other teams).  On the one hand, I was pretty excited because I think this is exactly the kind of risk the M's should be taking (as I've stated previously in this very blog).

As I continued to read, I was struck by this comment from his agent, on why Mark Prior wants only a one-year contract:  "we're planning on him being good."  Which, should really be in everyone's plans, really - to be 'good', right?  So, with that line of reasoning in mind, does that mean that those pursuing multiple year contracts with a suspect history are worried about being "good"?  Is Kyle Lohse's agent (yes, Scott Boras) admitting to everyone, in his argment for a five year contract for Lohse, that he really doesn't plan on being any better than he has been in the past - and he needs the security of a long term deal because who knows when he's just going to suck beyond all degree of well, "suckiness"?  I digress...

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The Case for Thinking Outside the Obvious for Pitching Help posted on 12/18/2007

I have to wonder if Bill Bavasi feels like one of the kickball team captains on the playground, except his opponents have been able to choose all the athletic kids and he's left with the first-chair tuba player, the exchange student from the Ukraine who still doesn't quite understand the rules, and the Librarian's teacher's pet.

Now that he's struck out on Hiroki Kuroda, it appears that he's willing to simply go down the logical list of free agents and blow cash on the next best thing. 

I have an alternative to suggest.  Why not gun for a risk-reward type of player, and attempt to sign them in the short term?  The beauty of such a deal allows the M's to stay competitive in next year's much, MUCH better free agent market as well as retain the potential to contend in 2008, provided the choices are made prudently.

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Seattle Mariners In Negotiations With Mediocrity posted on 12/18/2007

The goal of being a general manager of a major league baseball team is to improve your squad within your payroll, while always keeping an eye on your future prospects for success as well as the current context of league competition.  Or something like that.

I lead with this largely because of recent rumor that the Seattle Mariners are in serious discussions with Carlos Silva and the clan of Silva representatives who are giggling in the corners of their offices at the thin market for pitching and how it will make them all rich this year.  The thought is the M's have extended an offer of "at least" 4 years, $44 million dollars.

That, if true, is unequivocally a complete and utter disaster.  I beg you Bill Bavasi, I implore you to reconsider.

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Former Mariners Named In the Mitchell Report posted on 12/17/2007

Just because I haven’t seen a full listing of all the former Seattle Mariners implicated in the rather unconvincing report on performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball, I thought I’d dig through all 400+ pages to bring you the highlights (lowlights, perhaps?)

Ismael Valdez, Jose Guillen, Todd Williams (what, you don’t remember Todd Williams?  Shocker.), Glenallen Hill, Josias Manzanillo, Ron Villone, David Segui, Fernando Vina, David Bell, and Conan the Barbarian himself - the beefy Ryan Franklin (who stands 6’ 3” and weighs 185lbs sopping wet.  If I were Ryan Franklin, I’d start asking questions about what kind of steroids I was taking…).

Looking at this list, it’s pretty obvious that HGH and steroids in general really enhance ones performance (insert cheesy 80’s laugh track here).  I’m not sure that Fernando Vina or David Bell used to strike fear in the hearts of pitchers everywhere.  And I’m not convinced that Todd Williams nor Ryan Franklin were able to miss more bats because of bigger biceps. 

Continue reading "Former Mariners Named In the Mitchell Report"

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