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Monday, August 30, 2004

At two hits a game, Ichiro catches Sisler in game 154. Sure, it's improbable, but he's been averaging this for a while now.

The Mariners have 32 games remaining. Ichiro averages 4.395 AB/G, so he should get about 141 more ABs this season. At his current rate (.369), he is on pace to get 52 more hits - putting him at 261, 4 more than Sisler had in 1920. Sure, there hasn't been much national press about it now - but you know someone is going to write about how Sisler only had a 154-game season.

Ichiro is currently hitting .369, but since the All-Star break he's been unbelievable: .459/.488/.592!

And think about this...If Ichiro got 9 more hits in April (which would have put him at 35 for the month) and 9 more in June (which would have put him at 38 for the month), he'd be hitting .400 right now.
Other than Rick Rizzs, who mentions it every second breath, I have been surprised by the lack of attention paid to Ichiro threatening the 84-year-old record for single season hits. I still haven't seen a single national columnist pick this up. This is different, for example, than when Darin Erstad (Darin Erstad!) made a run at the record a few years ago. Don't say it is because the M's are bad - the Disney's were fully out of it in 2000, as well.

I put the over / under for unintentional walks that Ichiro takes the rest of the year at three. Any takers?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Mariners are really going to have to kick it up a notch - they open today's game at the brink of elimination from the division title. Still, if the M's get hot, and the A's, Rangers, and Angels are all killed in a simultaneous intestinal parasite incident, the Seattle club may be able to pull it together for a post-season run. Although, I think in my scenario that the intestinal parasites themselves may be able to seize the flag.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Wow, shockingly bad managing tonight! First, Melvin managed to dump out most of his bullpen in the first game of the doubleheader, and got damn lucky that Madritsch managed to tough it out through eight in the nightcap. I know I've told you this before, Bob, but there is no rule yet banning you from using a relief pitcher for more than an inning toward the end of a game.

Even worse, in the ninth inning of the second game, he pulls Edgar off the on-deck circle (to pinch hit for Spiezio) and replaces him with Bloomquist. Willie was put up there to bunt, and AGAIN struck out with a foul bunt on an 0-2 count. Just because Willie is a slap hitter does not prove that he can bunt (same for Dan Wilson, by the way). If you want a bunt, just leave Spiezio in the game. I can say with damn near certainty that no position player this decade has struck out trying to sacrifice twice in one season. This is really, really poor strategy - Melvin is awfully lucky to have picked up the run anyway.

I've refrained from saying this until now, but here goes. I'm with you Jon, fire Bob Melvin ASAP. You want proof he's lost the team? Randy Winn got picked off in the eighth, but Bucky Jacobsen had called time at the plate. Before another pitch could be thrown, he was picked off AGAIN! He really needs to be pulled out of the game for that kind of lapse.

Of course, as I type this, Winn wins the game with a home run. What do I know? Give Melvin another extension.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I'm with you Bill! Keep speaking the word! An NL team in Portland will be my new favorite as the M's slide back into irrelavence. Now that Edgar is going, I can go back to my active hatred of the damnable DH rule.

This is a funny article. I would love to hear Mr. Olney explain just how the Marlins upgraded their offense by adding Juan Encarnacion for the rest of his bloated two year deal. Paul DePodesta must piss himself with laughter when he reads this crap. Just think, he could be making these terrible deals here in Seattle, leading the home team to another pennant.

I'm sick of all this negativism! All of my posts this season have been negative. I'm going to try to think more positively! OK, here goes...
I'm positive that the Mariners will lose over 100 games this season! And I'm heavily rooting for Portland to be awarded the Expos franchise. I love National League baseball, and the Pacific Northwest needs more "Beavers"!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Swept by the Devil Rays?! Inconceivable! Lou's smirk is alive and well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

When, oh when, will Mariner management finally realize that Randy Winn really can't play CF? Another double to CF last night that would've been an out last year. It's frankly painful to watch. It's difficult to swallow a 9-0 spanking at the hands of the Devil Rays! Try to imagine Lou without a smirk on his face!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I'm predicting a brawl tonight in Kansas City.
The Royals are 43-75 and the M's are 45-74.
So, you have two very frustrated teams and there have already been 5 beanballs in the past two games, including one that broke Justin Leone's hand and another that hit Ichiro in the head, giving him a mild concussion.
The M's have had 4 guys pegged, while Ken Harvey is the only Royal to get plunked.
Now, with the lineup the Royals have been running out there the past two days, you can argue that they don't have anyone worth beaning anyway, but I expect Ron Villone to go after someone.
BoMel better have a long-man warm, because the benches will clear.
Now I'm expecting this crazy game with vicious brawls, but what we'll probably get is a snooze-fest between the two worst teams in the AL.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I've been going to baseball games for a long time (a dead guy got the game winning hit at the first game I ever went to), and I still saw something today I've never seen before. A position player, named Willie Bloomquist, struck out by bunting foul in a game his team was losing by a run. I have some big concerns about this. First, if a player is such a bad hitter that he can't be trusted to swing away in a key situation, why is he on the team, let alone batting at that time? This to me is another data point in the case against Mr. Melvin. Second, how many intangibles would be necessary to outweigh all of the crappy tangibles for said Mr. Bloomquist? He doesn't hit, is not great afield, it doesn't look like he can bunt, so does it matter that he is scrappy?

What do grunge rock and Scott Spiezio have in common? No, not Sandfrog. Both are overhyped million dollar northwest phenomena that have passed their marginally useful shelf-life. Scott is now a year older than his dad was when he washed out of the league 30 years ago. I don't think Scotty is going to bounce back.

Maybe the M's would have been more reluctant to offer such a generous contract if they would have followed the link above. The second guy from the left has got to be the biggest rock dork I've ever seen. And I've seen a Phish concert (unfortunately).

Sunday, August 15, 2004

If Willie Bloomquist is such a bad hitter that you have him bunt with two strikes, why is he in the game? This is not a trick question, really, and I'll bet most of you could handle this one. I've heard about Willie's intangibles, but he is so bad at tangibles, I think it is a moot point. On a team full of utility infielders (a recurring theme over the last four or five years), he really has no business getting in most of the games.

What do Scott Spiezio and grunge rock have in common? They are both multi-million dollar fads, whose shelf-life ended a few years ago. I'd really like to never be faced with either one again.



Thursday, August 12, 2004

As I'm sure all of our readers know by now, a certain former Mariner has completely torn his hamstring from the bone in his right leg. Although he left on bad terms, and was never particularly close to those who cover the team when he was here, this really is sad news. When he left for Cincy, he was on pace to end up in some rarified air at the end of his career. Now, it looks like he'll peter out somewhere in Sniderland. Not that this is anything to be ashamed of, it just feels like a disappointment to see him drift away so soon.

Those of us who express sour grapes about the way he treated the local writers or the circumstances under which he left have every right to do so. Certainly, we've been guilty of this over the last couple years at the GS home offices. Still, we should remember that with no Griffey, there'd likely be no insurance co field, no GS, no Danny Wilson...

Anyway, our best to Ken in his rehab efforts. If you can get Mr. Lindner to pay 80-90% of your salary, we have an opening in the NW for a DH without functioning leg muscles. Hell, it's not like you'll be much use in the NL when you get back. We'll even send your old team Gil Meche for the trouble. (This is a joke - If you are reading this, Bill, please don't try to pick up Griffey)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

As we've talked about in this space a number of times, it appears that the M's have wrecked Mr. Soriano's elbow by having him try to pitch through an injury. Nice job, guys. Adding insult to injury, the team was already effectively out of the race by the time they were trotting Soriano out there to take his lumps.

Jon, in response to your last post, they couldn't have traded Guardado at the deadline. He'd have never passed a physical. He's clearly been dealing with an arm problem for at least a couple of weeks prior to going on the DL. I doubt he'll provide any more value over the life of his contract.

I'm surprised they didn't go ahead and drop the third bomb to put the cherry on top of the crappy day. Pinero is probably going to go under the knife, too. His elbow hurts, he's got structural damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, they are going to try to treat conservatively.. This is exactly what you could have said about Soriano in June. Maybe they can get a group discount.

I think we can all agree that this changes priorities for 2005. Other than Ichiro, they really don't have anyone you could expect to be better than league average at their position. Maybe Boone, if you squint really hard. Maybe Bucky J, if he continues to mash and can keep the injuries away. The pitching staff projects to stink worse than Courtney Love's leather pants. They are no longer a couple of free agents away from righting the ship.

As if this season, the most disappointing in Seattle Mariners history, weren't already bad enough, Tuesday was one of the worst single days in the history of the franchise. Not one, but two of the top pitchers on the team, were found to need surgery and will be out for the rest of the year and much longer.

Right-hander Rafael Soriano, who hadn't pitched since May 9th, has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and will need Tommy John surgery, putting him out of action for 12 to 18 months. His earliest return date would be spring training of 2006. Lefty closer Eddie Guardado, who went on the DL on August 1st, has a torn rotator cuff and he'll also need surgery, putting him out of action for 8 to 12 months. He could possibly return sometime in 2005 or could miss the whole '05 season.

The worst part of this for the M's is that they're on the hook for Guardado's contract for two more seasons, at a minimum of another $9 million. Just two weeks or so ago there were multiple trade offers on the table for Guardado and the M's might well have been able to acquire a package of players close to what they got from Chicago for Freddy Garcia. Instead they get no prospects, they'll pay Guardado not to pitch and the team's decision on what they do for a closer could have a major impact on whether this team is able to contend in 2005.

The Mariners can either go with one of the kids (Putz, Nageotte, Madritsch, Sherrill, Gil Meche, Felix Hernandez even?) as next year's closer and hope they catch lightning in a bottle or they could sign one of the veteran closers on the free agent market. Add one more huge hole for the club to fill this winter (and a few million dollars less to fill the holes)... While everyone (including me) is mapping out the road to the M's contending in 2005, picking out potential free agents (Beltran? Beltre? Ordonez? Garciaparra? Sexson?) we could sign with all of the team's riches, today's news has to make it less likely that any of those players will want to sign here as a free agent -- since it makes it less likely that the 2005 Seattle Mariners can be a contending team.
As I've said before the M's really blew it last year when they didn't sign Tejada or Pudge, guys that would have signed here. Because of the ballpark we have, most free agent hitters won't want to come here unless we overpay (fat chance of that). Now there's another reason -- the team stinks and might not be contending in '05...

Not trading Guardado when his value was high will go down as another in a long line of stupid moves by GM Bill Bavasi. Seattle was seriously in need of position player prospects and got well in a hurry in that area due to the Garcia deal, but they needed more. I wrote in the July issue of The Grand Salami that the Garcia deal was just the beginning, that there were several more players with value that Bavasi could and should move before the July 31 deadline and that the M's could acquire a nice harvest of prospects in the process. To look at things now, little more than a month later and see that the only players traded were Dave Hansen and Mike Myers and all the team got was one low level prospect who's unlikely to ever reach the major leagues is beyond disappointing.

To pass up the opportunity to cash in Guardado for prospects in the middle of his best major league season and find him on the shelf two weeks later for an extended period has to be a devastating blow for this organization. This is a pitcher that's been in the big leagues more than ten seasons; there's a lot of mileage on him. It's not like the organization and the community had any sort of emotional attachment to Eddie Guardado -- he was just signed in December. Seattle needed to do what Texas did last year. They signed Ugueth Urbina to a one-year, below market deal ($4 million a year) . When they didn't contend, they flipped him at the deadline to the Marlins for a package of prospects, including 1B Adrian Gonzalez, the first player picked in the 2000 draft. Gonzalez is a pretty fine prospect, one the M's and their fans would drool over. Don't you think that Seattle could have gotten a better package of young players for Guardado, who was signed for two more years, than the Rangers got for Urbina, a rent-a-player????

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Edgar played for 17 years, and got on base 42% of the time. This is a hall-of-fame career. You want to keep one dimensional players out? Kick out Harmon Killebrew. You don't think a DH can be there? Kick out Paul Molitor. Yeah, he stayed a year past his expire date. You could say a lot worse about Yaz, Hank Aaron, Dave Winfield....

I'm with you Bill. I nearly drove off the road yesterday when our idiot general manager Bill Bavasi called Edgar a "first ballot Hall of Famer". He's a marginal Hall of Famer at best. I am so sick and tired of hearing everyone in this town call him a no brainer Hall of Famer -- these people don't seem to realize that the Hall of Fame is not voted on solely by latte drinking Seattleites. 98% of the voters are from outside Seattle in fact.

And then to hear Howard Lincoln at the press conference -- "I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure Edgar makes the Hall of Fame". What's Howie gonna do, bribe some of the voters? What exactly can a team do to get a player in the Hall? Maybe you should put more of your efforts into trying to get your last place team back into the playoffs and get some fannies back in the seats at Safeco Field...

Kudos to Mitch Levy at KJR AM 950 for having several of the writers that actually vote for the Hall of Fame on his show this morning. and discussing the case for Edgar. Most of them said that they either would not vote for Edgar for the Hall or that they wouldn't vote for him at the beginning of his eligibility and would consider him later. One guy, the Phillies beat writer from Philadelphia, said "How can a guy be a Hall of Famer when he has to sit the bench when his team comes to a National League ballpark, that he's not even capable of playing a position?"

I only wish you were right about the game selling out tonight, Bill, but it's pretty likely that we're still going to have 20,000 empty seats at the Safe tonight. But don't worry bout them having any of those leftover giveaway bears -- they're only giving them out to the first 15,000 kids...


At the risk of being permanently shunned in Seattle as a heretic, I must get something off my chest. Please spare me from all the communal gushing over Edgar’s retirement! It is at least a year overdue, and probably more. Although I’m painfully aware that Seattle fans are hungry, nay eager, for a hero/superstar, Edgar Martinez is not the guy. Several potential superstars have been allowed to leave under various circumstances to shine elsewhere, or to be regularly injured, in Griffey’s case, and this is the hand we’ve been dealt. I can’t deny that Edgar is probably going to come to be known as “Mr. Mariner”, mostly for his loyalty and longevity, but in reality that is a reflection on how sadly this franchise has been managed over the past decade or so. I will grant you that he is an above average hitter; though even if you believe he’s a fantastic hitter, which is arguable, he’s truly a one-dimensional player. He was average, or below, at any position in the field, and he’s a freaking liability on the base paths! It takes a triple to score him from second! Some clown on the radio today, trying to justify his shortage of lifetime statistics, had the audacity to compare him to Sandy Koufax! Unbelievable! Emotions run deep apparently, but the five-year mandatory waiting period will certainly allow time for cooler heads to prevail. He may be a wonderful teammate, and the pride of the community, but for God’s sake, get over it! He’s an over-the-hill player, who should have been coaching two years ago. For the record, I am not entirely convinced he can coach. He is not exactly a great communicator. We shall see.
His retirement at the end of this season was inevitable. Why announce it now? Mostly, I find the timing of his announcement curious. It seems to accomplish two things:
One, it takes the fans’ eye off the ball with regard to the train wreck of a road trip the team just completed. And two, it will probably sell out the so-called “Edgar Bear” night planned for tonight. Without the press conference yesterday, someone would undoubtedly be stuck with a warehouse full of the little rascals.

The insanity has begun.
For the next 5-10 years, sports-talk radio shows and hundreds of newspaper columns are going to debate whether or not Edgar Martinez is a Hall of Famer. Aside from filling column inches and hours of airtime, there will be heated debates in bars, on the monorail and in Internet chatrooms and discussion boards. Today I actually heard a caller on KJR say that because Ronnie Lott is a great human being and is in the Hall of Fame, Edgar should be too. Nevermind the fact that Ronnie Lott was a FOOTBALL PLAYER, or that he was probably voted in based on his accomplishments on the field! And, unlike Edgar, Lott actually played defense! Just kidding folks...
My point is that people in Seattle seem to look at Edgar through rose-colored lenses. Countless times today I heard that, in his prime, Edgar was the best right-handed hitter in the game.
Let's take a look...
Edgar had an odd career, because of his late start. So, I'm considering his prime to be between 1992 and 2000. In 1992, Martinez was 29 yeas old - typically old for one's prime, but those were his best seasons. During that time span, Edgar won 2 batting crowns, attended 5 All-Star Games and finished in the top-10 in the MVP voting twice.

1992-2000
EDGAR: .327/.436/.560/ with 327 doubles and 208 home runs

Now, when people were gushing with praise for Edgar today, calling him the best right-handed hitter of his era, the one name that stood out, to me, was Frank Thomas. Let's see what the Big Hurt did from 1992-2000, during Edgar's prime years.

THOMAS: .320/.438/.584/ with 319 doubles and 305 home runs

Others that you could possibly make an argument for include:
BAGWELL: .306/.421/.566 w/ 325 2B & 295 HR
SHEFFIELD: .303/.420/.553 w/ 240 2B & 258 HR
JUAN GONZALEZ: .299/.347/.581 w/ 268 2B & 330 HR
*stats from '92-'00

Also keep in mind that, for the most part, these players weren't just sitting on the bench when the rest of their team was out scooping grounders and shagging flies. Aside from Bagwell, who won a Gold Glove in 1994, none of these guys are particularly swift in the field, but none have DH-ed as much as 'Gar either, and that, along with some of their superior numbers, is why these guys are more likely to end up in Cooperstown.

I don't have the time or energy to dive into park factors right now, but another thing to consider is that I'm sure Edgar's numbers are inflated by playing in the Kingdome for the majority of his career.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Jon, I'm disappointed in your lukewarm posting. Maybe Edgar should have retired in the off-season, but if this team were contending, we'd all be pretty pleased about having a bench bat with a .350+ OBP. He's not the person we should be blaming for the team's collapse this year (cough..Bavasi...cough).

Beyond this, he has been the cornerstone of the resurgence of this team. Arguably more important than Griffey / Johnson / Rodriguez. He's been a hell of a player. He's played for less than market value to stay with his team. He's been a class guy for his whole career here. Edgar, my hat is off to you, it's been a hell of a ride.

In the next few weeks, we'll see some goofy lists explaining why he should or shouldn't be in the hall of fame. He'll be compared to other hitters in terms of OBP, doubles, BA, etc. He'll be docked for not playing in the field. He'll get bonus points for staying in one place. He'll be penalized for the Kingdome. All of this misses the point. For the last fifteen years, he's been the guy in the middle of the lineup who the other team pitches around because they know he'll hurt them. Even now when he can barely walk down the line, other teams don't really challenge him when the game is close. These are the guys who belong in Cooperstown, regardless of whether they own a fielder's mitt.

All of the controversy about the first DH in the hall is kind of shite, anyway. Paul Molitor played about half of his games there, Edgar about 2/3. If the M's had called up Edgar when they should have, it would be closer to 50/50. If a DH doesn't belong in the hall, pull out Paul. Barring this, shut the hell up Joe Morgan (or whoever else will say this).

Edgar Martinez will hold a press conference at Safeco Field today at 2:30 PM and the Mariners have said it is a "major announcement". Edgar was a great player in his day but he should have retired after the 2003 season. I hope he'll at least stick around for this homestand so the fans can say their goodbyes. Then the club can call up A.J. Zapp and we can get a chance to see what he can do. Now if only that useless pile of crap Scott Spiezio would retire too -- that'd be great!

2004 Statistics
Edgar: 8 HR's in 333 AB's.
Bucky: 6 HR's in 71 AB's.

I am still furious about the umpire’s call to end Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays! To end an extra innings game tied at 1-1 on a poor interpretation of a rarely applied rule is shaky at best! Obstruction rarely occurs in Major League Baseball, and it didn’t occur on Friday night. I believe that was, without question, the worst call at any level that I have ever seen, and I challenge other MLB umpires to break ranks with their protectionist majority and admit the obvious error.
I am an umpire with fifteen plus years experience at many levels of ball, up to and including junior college baseball. I have taught other umpires the craft of umpiring. I am still a student of the game and have diligently studied the rules for many years.
Nowhere in the obstruction rule (7.06) is there any mention of blocking a runner’s line of sight. The spirit of the rule applies to physically impeding a runner’s progress, and this is the manner in which it has always been applied. Friday’s egregiously erroneous interpretation has serious consequences, as it implies that fielders may not go certain places in the field, for fear of blocking the runners’ view of the ball. How absurd is that? Major League Baseball needs to admit this error and move on. This cannot become an approved ruling on the obstruction rule!
As an aside, in my opinion, Carl Crawford should not have been watching the ball; he should have been watching and listening to the third base coach. Why else, pray tell, does the third base coach even exist?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Bloomquist thought the call was a bad one and that he saw no obstruction, but he did say "I could have done a better job of getting in position as the cutoff man." But, seeing that no play was going to be made, he was closer to Lopez, third base and Crawford than he needed to be.

You're an idiot, Willie. You WEREN'T in position as the cutoff man. Not even close.

Last night Toronto traded Josh Phelps to Cleveland for a minor league first baseman. While I'm not 100% convinced that the Mariners should have gotten involved because Phelps is a1B/DH type and we have Bucky there and because he's likely to be arbitration eligible (as a Super Two) in the winter, Phelps makes $342,000 this year and had to clear waivers past the Mariners in order to be dealt to Cleveland. Phelps was having a bit of an off year for him but still had 12 HR's and 51 RBI in 295 AB's (admittedly 4 of the HRs and 17 of the RBI came against Seattle, he had 8 RBI vs. TB and didn't have more than 4 RBI against any other team). Coming into the '04 season Phelps had a .497 slugging pctg and had hit 35 HRs in 674 career AB's. Not bad for his first two years in the league. If only Phelps could still catch (he came up originally as a catcher), this would have been a no-brainer -- next year's catching tandem of Olivo and Phelps would have been awesome -- and would have spelled the end of Dan Wilson...

Friday, August 06, 2004

Amazing! By-the-book Bob left a relief pitcher in for more than one inning! Stop the presses!

Your new centerfielder: Willie Bloomquist. This is a failure of roster construction. Willie can't handle the position, and they need a fourth outfielder who can. If Jamal Strong is not healthy, bring up Bocachica. If he is healthy, give him a shot - his roster spot will be a hot commodity in the off-season, so it is high time that they figure out whether he's worth it (I doubt it). Letting Strong get some playing time is far more important than a seven man bullpen.

The M's signed Bill Pulsipher for Tacoma. Maybe they should bring in Dallas Green as a pitching coach to see if he can destroy his arm one more time.

Tonight's centerfielder: Willie Bloomquist. This is a failure of roster construction. The Mariners need to have a fourth outfielder who can handle the position. If they are not confident that Jamal Strong is healthy, bring Bocachica back. I'd argue that a fourth outfielder is more important than a seven man bullpen, especially now that a situational lefty is a moot point. C'mon, Bavasi, let's see if Strong can play, because his roster spot will be a valuable commodity in the off-season.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Just like I'd have thought at the end of May: the 2004 Rainiers could beat the D-Rays at their own park. Even if you load them down with Boone, Ibanez and Spiezio. Madritsch was really sharp tonight - 8 innings in 105 or so pitches, 6 K's. I know it was the fish, and all, but you've still got to get the ball over. I'm curious to see how Bobby fares against a better offensive team.

I'm very troubled by the news about Soriano's continued elbow problems. As we bitched about in this very space this spring, continuing to have a young pitcher pitch when he is injured is a good way to wreck his arm. This was risky, and has the potential to turn out very badly. Just ask Mark Fidrych.

I have a message for Miguel Olivo: Carlos Guillen called, and he wants his batting stance back. Jeez, you've already stolen his number.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Amazingly enough, the marginal prospect we got from San Diego on Friday for Dave Hansen, Jon Huber, pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings last nigh for Class A Inland Empire, striking out ten! If only they'd traded Randy Winn -- now that would get me excited...

Monday, August 02, 2004

I'd say with Guardado going on the DL today (Matt Thornton up from Tacoma to fill his roster spot), the move the Mariners really need to make now is to put Gil Meche in the closer's role. If Rafael Soriano were ready to pitch now, having him close is probably what the team would do, but since he's a couple of weeks away, I think Meche is the best choice. The way he's pitched this season he's likely to be non-tendered in December (since players don't get pay cuts, he'll get at least the $1.95 million he got this year in aribration).

There's been plenty of failed starters (Eric Gagne for one) who've thrived in the closer's role, where they don't have to pace themselves, don't have to deal with facing the same hitters 3 or 4 times a game and they can just rare back and throw the heat. Meche has a 95 MPH fastball.
Seriously, what do the M's have to lose? If Meche shows that he can do the job, they won't have to non-tender him and they can deal Guardado in August or in the off-season.

Making Meche the closer is a daring move, the kind this organization isn't known for, but for once let's see them start to think ahead. Knowing that they're gonna toss Meche aside in the winter for nothing (since he apparently has no trade value), if they can put him in a new role where he can succeed and be a part of the team's success the next couple of years, where's the harm???

ESPN, who needs to fill column inches in the days after the trade deadline, is reporting that John Olerud is about to sign with the Yankees. Even though he was struggling here with putting the bat on the ball with any authority, he'd likely be an improvement over Tony Clark. Olerud, for all of his problems (including what seemed to me to be a decline in defensive skills), still gets on base. And the ability to get on base is a big reason the Yankees win. John, we still love you in Seattle, but if you sign with the Yankees, that goes out the window.

Speaking of the Yankees, raise your hand if you predicted that their most significant deadline move would be dumping Jose Contreras' salary. I guess I don't understand this move from the White Sox perspective, but this always seems to be the case with Kenny 'why the hell haven't I been fired yet?' Williams.

I'm glad to see Randy Johnson, or "the big eunuch" as Popeye calls him, stay in Arizona. That type of reverse tampering where the player says in public who he can be traded to should really be clamped down on by the commissioner. It's bad for the game. The nice bonus of him staying in Phoenix is that he'll be working against the Snakes in the Upton sweepstakes. Get hot Randy, pitch yer bums out of the number one pick.

You heard it here first! Yes, you can take this one to the bank. The Mariners will not lose today!

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