November 16, 2003 · Filed Under Mariners · Comments Off on  

Sorry I’ve been out, I’ve been having this problem with this wireless network*, it’s driving me in-fricking-sane. (skip this paragraph unless you want to geek out, but seriously. I’ve got router A, laptop B, PC C. Everything worked fine until this weekend, when the PC decided it didn’t want to connect to the router, except when it did, and then it just drops it, buuuut if I hook up the LAN cable to the router, boom, I’ve got a LAN and a wireless connection going, and… I’m baffled. I’ve got ~2p of notes on what I’ve done and un-done trying to find a solution to this, but the short-version — such as it is — is that wireless technology is still not to the point where everyone can plug-and-play and enjoy no-headache Internet access. My notes are filled with comments like “this makes me think fondly of the ease-of-use of my old Hayes 2400 SmartModem”.)

For a moment though, I’m going to answer reader email, calm down and talk about Freddy (and remember folks: if you went to Kentridge and I know you, you get your emails answered automatically).

What do we see for Freddy’s future?

I see two possibilities. One is that Freddy, by chance or choice, finds himself working with a pitching coach and catcher that can bring out the best in him. Stan Williams had him in his rookie year, and then his Bryan Price years have been up and down. His Borders starts were (as we saw) excellent, but I haven’t been able to go back and see what his work with other guys breaks down like. I think he’s deeply unhappy being in Seattle, especially after we (and by we I should also say that I was in the front of the pack) gave him so much grief when he spent so much time pitching badly. It may be that he needs a guy like Oscar Acosta, someone known for taking no lip and kicking pitchers in the ass, and a Borders-like catcher unafraid to yell at him if he starts grooving breaking stuff in every pitch.

Garcia’s a year away from determining his own destiny. It would seem that he’s more likely to take the highest offer than find an environment where he’d succeed best– and I’m not sure Garcia knows if it’s him, or his coach, or if he’s just let his relationship with the team and coaches poison his on-the-mound ability.

Barring career-changing injury, there are two paths Garcia’s career will take:

Motivated Garcia: Freddy finds something in himself or finds the right supporting players to keep himself focused during the game, and not let a bad strike call or a muffed grounder cause him to blow his stack. He pays more attention to the scouting reports, and really works to become a better pitcher. This Freddy is a good-but-not great pitcher for years to come, a guy who never dominates a league in the way Randy Johnson or Pedro does, but still consistently one of the twenty best pitchers in baseball.

Inconsistent Garcia: Freddy doesn’t get his head right, doesn’t find the right manager, coach, or catcher to keep him charting pitches. This is the Freddy we’ve seen for too long now: a guy who can go out and throw a good game, another, and then get blown apart by the Tigers. His frustration will probably grow with his own struggles, and he’ll get ejected more often, and become known as a bad clubhouse guy who leaves his team in the lurch. Instead of a first-tier pitcher, he’s a third tier, a James Baldwin-esque gamble for teams who have a 3/4 spot they need filled on the cheap that might bear big returns, and might not. The upside to this is maybe Freddy, years down the line, realizes what’s happening and decides that he wants to really make a run at greatness, and we see the first scenario play out again.

And which one’s actually going to be the future of Freddy? The bad one. Until Freddy has his act together, I don’t think a team should gamble more on him than they can reasonably expect they’d pay for a comperable starter who’d offer consistency, though not the upside of Freddy’s raw talent — and that’s only $1-3m/year on short-term deals.

The issue becomes this: is the additional fame and fortune that comes with being great Freddy enough to make him shake off this funk?

And I don’t think it is. I’d like to be wrong, my view too bitter from exposure over the last year and a half, but I haven’t seen it in him yet. I don’t know Freddy enough to know that or pass judgement, but at the same time I think every Mariners fan has seen that there’s a huge distance between the Garcia that had confidence in his stuff and him ability to pitch and the guy we’ve seen lately, who isn’t comfortable with himself or the team he’s on, and doesn’t know what to do about either.

Jason and Dave, most likely, will have better, well-reasoned opinions on this. If they have troubleshooting tips on this $@#%@ Linksys PCI card/networking issue I’m having, that’d be even better.