Weird weather today, eh kids? For awhile it seemed like the dead of summer (well, Seattle summer at least) and then all of the sudden around 6pm, boom — the wind kicks up and the temp drops about 10 degrees in 15 minutes. And as I type this, the (admittidly old) house is creaking due to the wind.
If you’re into this sort of thing, here are some poll questions you can answer about the M’s.
Raise your hand if you didn’t see this one coming: Ken Griffey Jr. strained his right calf today.
Here’s an interesting story — the M’s are apparently interested in Texas OF Kevin Mench as well as 1B Adrian Gonzalez. Should they be interested in Mench? Sure. He’s 26, doesn’t make much money, and has good power. In 1463 minor league at-bats, nearly 47% of his hits went for extra bases. In the majors (491 at-bats over the past two seasons) that number drops to 38%, though he was suffering from a wrist injury last year. He also draws walks. He’s not a superstar, but he is the sort of guy smart teams should be looking to acquire if the Rangers are looking to move him (which they might be, as he reportedly pissed them off this winter by refusing to play winter ball as they’d asked).
Gonzalez, on the other hand, intrigues me quite a bit more. He was the #1 overall pick in the draft in 2000 by the Marlins, but after a good start hasn’t really lived up to the #1 pick sort of hype. His power, so far at least, leaves something to be desired for a first baseman (not unlike John Olerud, now that I think about it), though he is only 22 so a power spike isn’t far-fetched. Good left-handed stroke, solid plate discipline, and supposedly solid in the field. He’s a guy I’d love to have around in the minors, as he’d immediately jump to the head of the class of prospects hoping to take Olerud’s job next season. It does make some sense that Texas would move him, as they already have Hank Blalock and Mark Teixiera manning their infield corners for years to come.
Finally, I guess you can tell it’s getting down to the last days of spring training when the PI and Times are running nearly identical stories. In the past couple days, each paper has run a story about Olerud getting his swing back and another about Ichiro wanting to pitch (and Melvin saying no way).
Don’t worry, I won’t be shilling for my photoblog often, but I put up some new shots taken with my D70 today, and I’m beyond thrilled with how well this camera works. I’m nothing close to a professional, but a couple of the shots I got today make me smile. This is just too much fun. If I seem to be in a better mood for the next few weeks, thank Nikon.
A quick wrapup of some of the recent M’s “news” we haven’t discussed:
Ichiro is going to hit leadoff, not third. This isn’t really a surprise, but helps the cause of ignoring everything managers say in Spring Training. The talk about Ichiro being more patient this year, however, is intriguing. It appears that the M’s realize that he is more effective when he’s not chasing the fastball at his ankles, even if he can hit it. Getting Ichiro on base at a .380+ clip would be a huge lift for the offense.
Edgar is still the cleanup hitter. And thank God for that. We’ve discussed batting order to death, with people taking every possible opinion, but I don’t know of anyone who thought that hitting Martinez and Boone behind Ibanez was anything but a disaster waiting to happen.
Bobby Madritsch is an angry young man. The Mariners love to extoll the virtues of veterans, but this is an overlooked reality of leaning on players simply because of experience. I don’t agree with Madritsch that he is major league ready yet, but he is right that he never had a prayer going into camp, and that is not going to sit well with players in their upper-20’s. In their pursuit for all-things veteran, the M’s have quietly wasted some very good talent, including guys like Aquilino Lopez and Brian Fuentes. Keeping pitchers like Jarvis and Villone over just-as-capable youngsters has its downsides, besides the obvious fact that we’re carrying bad pitchers.
Mariners hire former Dodgers GM Dan Evans. We’ve gotten quite a few emails about this, ranging from mad (“Bavasi is just doing his friend a favor”), gloating (mostly from Dodger fans), and even optimistic (thinking Evans is being groomed as Bavasi’s replacement). Really, this is not anything to get worked up over one way or another. Yes, this move was made because Evans gave Bavasi a job and BB is as loyal as anyone in the game. This is a repayment hiring, but not a terrible one, as those things go. Evans is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for, and he got the short end of the stick in LA. Honestly, I’d rather have Bavasi calling Evans for advice than Pat Gillick. However, his role as a pro-scout based in Southern California essentially means that he’ll go see some games when they don’t interfere with his golf schedule, and essentially gets a paycheck for availability purposes. Don’t expect Evans to be any factor when it comes to decision making.
It does raise the question, however, of why a team that likes to complain over the smallest bonuses and incentives going to their players feels it necessary to have three former GM’s on the payroll as overcompensated consultants.