Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Which way should the Mariners turn?
When everyone was picking the Mariners for the AL West division title during spring training, I almost followed suit.
I figured the Angels looked a lot worse than they had in recent years and who was going to beat the 1-2 punch of Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez?
Plus they have Ichiro AND Chone Figgins setting up the table? This was going to be a wonderful year in Seattle… maybe even a pennant to help say good bye to Ken Griffey Jr.
Sure picking up Milton Bradley was a risk… but he MUST have learned his lessons, right?
But my gut told me, no… I got burned picking the A’s last year.
I decided to play it safe and go with the Angels. Well, the Halos haven't been rewarding my powers of prediction, but HO-LEE CR*P! The Mariners are a disaster.
And I literally have no idea which way they should turn.
One the one hand they are one of the worst teams in the American League. Only the Royals, Indians and lowly Orioles have worse records, and that is INCLUDING their win against the Angels on Sunday.
Milton Bradley has been a disaster. You know something didn't work out when the only positive thing about a guy's year is that he decided to seek help instead of have a career ending meltdown.
Huzzah! You can't play but at least you didn't behave like a sociopath!
The offense, including from new comer Chone Figgins, has been offensive. Hitting coach Alan Cockrell has joined all of us from The Bonnie Hunt Show in the unemployment line.
Franklin Guitierrez and Casey Kotchman lead the team with a whopping 3 homers. THREE. Not for the week, but for the whole season. Three supposed regulars are all batting under .200. I know batting average isn't always the best route to use in terms of judging a hitters worth, but YIKES!
The pitching has been OK, but even King Felix has looked awful in his last two starts.
And the clubhouse has more tension than The Hurt Locker.
Even Ken Griffey Jr, once the feel good part of this Mariners team, is a source of controversy as teammates are coming out anonymously against him and people are calling for one of the great players you and I will EVER see have their career ended by being placed on waivers.
And with Cliff Lee certainly headed off to an expensive free agency, GM Jack Zduriencik might be better off dealing Lee to see if he can get back a few players that would partially make up for Phillippe Aumont, Juan Ramirez and Tyson Gillies, the players sent to Philly for Lee.
It's a lost season.
OR IS IT?
Despite such a disastrous start, the Mariners are only 5 back of the Rangers in the loss column.
THE RANGERS! You know, the team that always starts off well but fades the minute the weather gets into the "Oh My God, is this HELL?" range!
The A's are ahead of them... and I think they are poised to steal the division... but they could just be having a nice first two months. They were projected to be a 90 loss team and they could very well be.
The Angels are a sub .500 mess as well. And even if they find a way to fix their hitting woes and their starting pitching mess... Brian Fuentes will find a way to blow the lead.
What I am saying is this is the very definition of a winnable division.
Plus they have recalled top prospect Michael Saunders who homered on mothers day.
Two more homers and he'll be tied for the team lead.
Sometimes it takes a young spark like Saunders to ignite the team and give them some new life.
It also helps that they are about to face the Orioles... and Milton Bradley is no longer on the team.
And Cliff Lee is off the DL... maybe the Mariners can get on a roll.
Or maybe they'll continue their current pace to finish the season at 62-100 with their veterans either eying free agency, seeking psychiatric or taking a snooze.
Cliff Lee's trade value will never be higher... then again the division may never be this winnable.
What should they do?
I don't envy you Jack Zduriencik.
First of all you have to constantly spell your last name out for people.
But secondly the wrong decision in 2010 could screw the team up for years!
If you go for it and the team falls apart, then you would get little to nothing back for the Chone Figgins/Cliff Lee/Milton Bradley gamble.
If you wave the white flag, you would lose fan interest for this year and it would take more than Ichiro and a bunch of people you've never heard of to get them back.
Choose wisely, Jack.