We know the Reds are interested in Gil Meche. We know the M’s are interested in young, athletic outfielders. Perhaps its a pipedream, but I’d love to see if Dan O’Brien can be talked out of Austin Kearns. He’s struggled through injuries the past year, but when healthy, he’s probably one of the three or four best under-25 hitters in the game. In his rookie season of 2002, at age 22, he hit .315/.407/.500. He draws walks, hits for power, makes decent contact, and can play a solid left or right field (you know, in case the M’s finally get around to moving Ichiro to center). Thanks to the injuries he sustained last year, there’s a good chance Kearns won’t be arbitration eligible until after 2005, meaning he’s going to be dirt cheap for the next two years. He is the kind of player you build around, the star-in-the-making that this team badly needs. It might take Freddy Garcia and Gil Meche to get him, but I’m okay with that. If Austin Kearns can be had, he’s the type of player the M’s need to go after.
Of course, the Reds can also dangle Wily Mo Pena, Reggie Taylor, Jason Ramano, and Jacob Cruz, all of whom run fast, are good athletes, were at one time highly regarded prospects, and have yet to show any signs of being able to hit major league pitching. This is likely the type of player the M’s are going fishing for.
It is believed the Mariners are primarily seeking position players — mainly an athletic outfielder who is both young and experienced — to rekindle the hope for 2004 while improving the outlook for the next few years.
from Finnegan’s article bugs me. It could be nothing, of course, but this reliance on so-called “athletic” players is what brought us the likes of Quinton McCracken and Randy Winn, not to mention the recent run disappointing amatuer drafts. How about guys who can hit?
On an unrelated subject, I got an iPod as part of a deal to signup for DSL service after I moved, and I’d like to say that as a music player, it’s not a bad memory stick. Seriously, nothing but problems, and Apple’s control-freakiness and ill support are driving me insane. That’s all.
I totally agree. If the team’s realized they need to make wholesale changes — and it seems that a gigantic neon “14 games out in May” did the trick — they still haven’t shown any signs that they’ve learned anything from their failure. All we’ve gotten so far from the organization is misplaced anger (“We don’t know why Aurilia won’t hit, that bum”) confusion, and some scary-weird quips (“We need to get more athletic, like QMcC here”).
It’s also going to be interesting to see how far the team goes. Their goal’s always been to provide quality entertainment for the fans, and they’ve always really made their money in the summer when they sell out day after day. If they take this seriously, that may be gone, and then the team will point to decreased attendence as an excuse for lowering payroll again, and then… or they may waffle a little on the rebuild: if they can’t get much in trading Olerud, say, will they keep him around or hand those ABs to someone who can contribute? Will they move Leone up to play third and have Spiezio play first, or will Melvin put a stop to any kind of player move wackiness?
This may also demonstrate the total folly of extending Melvin’s contract. There are different kinds of managers, suited to different kinds of teams. There are personality types that clash or match, there are managers suited to young teams and those suited to older teams that don’t need to be told to take infield practice. If Melvin was an ideal fit for the 2003-4 Mariners as planned, a smart player’s manager with a heart of gold, now the team’s composition is changed entirely, and if you wanted to bring someone else in to help out with the transition, you’re already committed (financially and organizationally) to the guy you have now. We understand that it’s a sunk cost, sure, but as a team the M’s will almost certainly look at that and say “ennnhh, he’s good enough”.
The rest of this season could be really entertaining or really, really scary.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Bob Finnigan reports that the M’s are ready to blow the team up, and the rumored moves fall in line with what I’ve been told is just about ready to occur. The next week should bring some fairly substantial changes to the roster as we see it. The almost universally agreed upon move will be the ousting of Rich Aurilia, who is almost certainly going to be released if the M’s can’t find someone to pick up part of his contract.
The good news is that the M’s realize that this is a sinking ship and won’t be plowing future resources into trying to save it. The bad news, however, is that the captain who steered it into an iceberg is also in charge of the rescue effort. While I am interested to see how Bavasi handles the task of rebuilding on the fly, I’m not optimistic that he is going to correctly identify players that will help the club. Scapegoating John Olerud isn’t going to solve the philosophical issues the M’s have with evaluating talent. Until they adapt to more advanced analysis than “our scouts like him” and “he can pick it up and throw it”, we’ll just be rearranging the deck chairs as the good ship Mariner goes down.