Sunday, July 31, 2011
The Seattle Seahawks announced that they are releasing three-time pro bowler middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu. The Seahawks had asked Tatupu to take a pay cut and when he refused he was released. For those who think Pete Carroll was going to turn the Seahawks into a bunch of ex-USC Trojans well think again. Under Carroll the Seahawks have cut Lendale White, traded away Lawrence Jackson, passed on Taylor Mays in the draft and now released Tatupu. For the Seahawks Tatupu was the heart and soul of the defense as he was the team captain from 2006-2010 and was captain for the 2005 playoffs as well. Tatupu is easily Tim Ruskell's best draft pick seeing how he is the only pro bowler he drafted. Tatupu helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl his rookie year as he made the pro bowl. The Seahawks like they did with Matt Hasselbeck are making a decision based on what you can do for the team tomorrow vs what you did yesterday. The Seahawks have just got rid of the two faces of the franchise. The two main captains the last six seasons are no longer in Seattle. Just like with Hasselbeck despite his poor play the last three years the fans shouldn't forget how great Tatupu was from 2005-2007.
When the Seahawks selected the middle linebacker from USC in the second round many thought the Seahawks made a mistake. Instead Tatupu helped lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl being the only defensive player to make the pro bowl on the team. Tatupu his rookie year led the team in tackles with 86 solo tackles and 19 assisted. Tatupu also had four sacks and three interceptions including a touchdown on monday night football in Philadelphia. In 2006 Tatupu once again made the Pro Bowl with 93 solo tackles and 30 assisted. He 1.5 sacks and 1 interception while forcing two fumbles. Everyone remembers that year in the playoffs Tony Romo fumbled the snap for the Seahawks to win the game. What is often forgotten is the play before Tatupu making a great tackle on Jason Whitten to force the Cowboys to kick the field goal. Whitten caught the pass and Tatupu immdediately tackled him. The play was ruled a first down but after a challenge the Cowboys facing a fourth and inches kicked the potential game winning field goal. Then in 2007 Tatupu made the pro bowl while being named first team all-pro beating out Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis. That year Tatupu had 83 solo tackles and 26 assisted. Tatupu also had four interceptions including three at Philadelphia with one sack and forced three fumbles. Tatupu became only the second player in NFL history besides Dan Marino to make the pro bowl and win the division title in his first three years in the NFL. Tatupu is the Seahawks greatest middle linebacker of all-time and that isn't even close. For right now the Seahawks will have to wonder who will replace Tatupu's value to the franchise.
The man who will be replacing Tatupu is David Hawthorne who has made 27 starts the last two seasons including 11 at middle linebacker. In 2009 filling in for the injured Tatupu who missed 11 games Hawthorne got his chance. In 16 games and 11 starts Hawthorne had 93 solo tackles and 23 assisted. He also recorded four sacks, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Then last year filling in for the injured Leroy Hill he started all 16 games at outside linebacker. Hawthorne recorded 74 solo tackles and 31 assisted. He also had one interception and forced a fumble. With Hill returning and fourth overall pick from the 2009 draft Aaron Curry being on the outside Hawthorne will take over the middle linebacker spot. Tatupu has had the better career than Hawthorne but right now the past two seasons Hawthorne has outplayed Tatupu which is all Pete Carroll cares about. This is the NFL and Carroll has a job to put the best possible team on the field regardless of sentiment.
In conclusion, seeing Tatupu and Hasselbeck let go in the same week has been tough. Both were my favorite players and I've had their jerseys since 2005 and they both represented a great part of the Seahawks past. That is the thing they represent the past and not the future. Carroll will be viewed as the bad guy and if he wins a Super Bowl the fans will quickly forgive him. Every coach has to make these tough decisions like when Mike Holmgren released Seahawks legend Cortez Kennedy that was tough. Tatupu simply wasn't productive the last three years like Hasselbeck. Both guys are great Seahawks and I look forward to the day when both raise the 12th man flag. I do worry about who will pick up the leadership aspect on this team. I can see Lawyer Milloy on defense but he is aging as well on defense. Ultimately the Seahawks will need Earl Thomas to step up and be the leader on defense like Tatupu was at a young age. While on offense the leader isn't on this roster. The leader needs to be your franchise quarterback which the Seahawks don't have. Carroll is cleaning up this roster and getting rid of the high priced guys living off their name. I want to thank you for your career Tatupu but Carroll is making the right decisions this offseason.
The Seattle Mariners officially ended the Erik Bedard era in Seattle by trading him to the Boston Red Sox in a three team deal that brought back two outfield prospects. The Mariners have traded away two starting pitchers and a bullpen arm the last two days for three outfielders, a third baseman and a bullpen/starting pitcher. The Mariners under Jack Zduriencik are once again rebuilding trying to get younger. The Mariners offense this season has been horrible so the Mariners are hoping some of these prospects can pan out. With the Mariners traded Bedard this ends a frustrating three and a half year marriage that started off with so much promise. For those who remember previous GM Bill Bavasi traded away Adam Jones, George Sherrill and Chris Tillman for Bedard. Bedard was brought in to be the ace of the staff as the hope was he'd anchor the rotation in the playoffs. Instead the Mariners got only 46 starts from Bedard. Bedard in his years with the Mariners never pitched a single inning in August or September. In fact he hasn't pitched in September since 2006 and has never pitched in a playoff race.
What the Red Sox are acquiring is a pretty good starting pitcher when he is healthy. In his career with the Mariners Bedard made 46 starts with a 15-14 record throwing 255.1 innings with a 3.31 ERA. He posted a 1.22 WHIP with 249 strikeouts to 101 walks. This season Bedard who hadn't pitched in 2010 started the year off rough and has pitched great since then. He recently was on the DL and came back to make his final start for the Mariners lasting just 1.1 innings allowing five earned runs. For the season Bedard went 4-7 in 16 starts with a 3.45 ERA in 91.1 innings pitched. He posted 1.17 WHIP with 87 strikeouts to 30 walks. Bedard when he is on can be an ace as he showed in May posting a 1.39 ERA in 32.1 innings pitched. He had a 0.95 WHIP with 32 strikeouts to 9 walks. In June he posted a 2.25 ERA in 32 innings pitched. He had a 0.84 WHIP with 33 strikeouts to 6 walks. The Red Sox are acquiring a pretty good pitcher when healthy. The Red Sox also gained 2008 first round draft pick reliever Josh Fields from the Mariners. Fields this year in the minors in 29 games has pitched 39 innings posting a 3.92 ERA. He has a 1.53 WHIP with 39 strikeouts to 32 walks with three saves. In his brief career he has appeared in 81 games pitching 101 innings posting an ERA of 4.54. He has a WHIP of 1.51 with 103 strikeouts to 72 walks. The Red Sox didn't make this deal because of Fields it was for the chance to land a potential key playoff starter in Bedard.
The Mariners acquired Trayvon Robinson from the Dodgers organization and Chih-Hsien Chiang of the Red Sox. Both are in the minor leagues and both guys are putting up good seasons. First I'll start with the 23 year old Robinson who is in triple A. For his career he is hitting .283/.358/.436 in 2,441 career AB's. He has hit 64 home runs(HR every 38.1 AB's) with 697 strikeouts(28.5%) to 267 walks(10.9%) which isn't great. He also has 149 stolen bases in his career. For this season he is breaking out hitting .293/.375/.563 in 368 AB's. He has hit 26 home runs(HR every 14.1 AB's) with 122 strikeouts(33.1%) while walking 45 times(12.2%) with 8 stolen bases. Robinson like Casper Wells will be competing for a spot on next years roster. If Robinson doesn't crack the roster he'll provide depth for Tacoma.
The other player the Mariners got was Chih-Hsien Chiang who is also an outfielder. Chiang is a 23 year old in double A who has a career line of .284/.333/.460 in 1,887 career minor league at bats. He has hit 51 home runs(HR every 37 AB's) with 326 strikeouts(17.2%) to 126 walks(6.6%).This year in double A Portland(Maine) Chiang is hitting .338/.399/.647 in 317 AB's. He has hit 18 home runs(HR every 17.6 AB's) with 61 strikeouts(19.2%) to 25 walks(7.8%). When you look at Chiang's numbers you see improvement in his career and a guy who is a slugger. His strikeouts are about right while I'd like to see his walks increase. Chiang hopefully in a year or two can make the Mariners roster. For now he'll add organizational depth in the outfield as the Mariners are hurting in the outfield position. Zduriencik is hoping that one of these three outfielders he acquired in the past 48 hours can someday produce for the Mariners.
In conclusion, the Mariners we all knew were going to be sellers this trade deadline. The Mariners were pretty thin at the outfield position which is why Zduriencik traded for three outfielders hoping to help that weakness. The Mariners traded from a position of strength to help out a position of weakness. I know fans are tired of prospects as am I because rebuilding simply sucks. The Mariners are hoping with these deals they can have some major league depth down the road. While the Red Sox are preparing for the playoffs with a pitcher who proved this season he can be an ace. With Bedard he is such a wild card because he can give you a great outing or he can break down once again. The Mariners made some moves for more prospects so now as fans we have no choice but to wait and see. From all the reports I've read Zduriencik did well once again. Nobody has questioned Zduriencik eye for young talent. Now if Zduriencik can just apply that same strength to free agency we have ourselves a great general manager.
This past Wednesday I had an interview on seamheads with Jeff Engels. For those who don't know Engels is also known as Jeffs Mariners on facebook. The actually interview you listen to right here at the 91 minute mark. That is when Jeff and myself discussed the Seattle Mariners for a half hour. It was pretty fun discussing the Mariners on a national podcast. The format of the podcast is it is two hours long which a half hour is dedicated to the Seattle Mariners which Jeffs Mariners has been doing all by himself this season. Well the Mariners lost 17 games in a row and with Jeff having a cold I came on to help out. I'll be more appearances on his podcast which is every Wednesday at 7 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. throughout the season. In this particular podcast we discussed the state of the franchise which meant some talk about Jack Zduriencik and the job he is doing. We also discussed at lengths about how the Mariners keep "rebuilding" with young guys who to date haven't panned out. I brought up Justin Smoak who Jeff isn't a fan of as he's been struggling. I'm usually quick to write off a player but I'll wait on Smoak although his June and July leave me concerned. We also had some positive news to discuss in this podcast as well.
The positive of course was that day the Mariners ended their franchise record 17 game losing streak with a 9-2 win over the New York Yankees. The Mariners led by Felix Hernandez going seven innings while allowing just one run and Ichiro having four hits helped lead the Mariners to the win. We talked about Ichiro's slump this season and how Jeff(along with Bryan White) would be upset if they resign Ichiro after 2012. We talked about how Dustin Ackley is already the Mariners best hitter despite being a rookie. How Ackley is the only hitter in the lineup who gives you a quality at bat every time up. We also discussed Mike Carp how this appears to be his last chance and he's making the most of it in his second stint of 2011. I ended the podcast saying something crazy talking about a potential winning streak the next time I come on. There was plenty of good baseball talk though for that half hour segment.
In conclusion, I love doing radio interviews as they are very fun. I used to be afraid to listen to my voice but now I enjoy it. If someone asked me to talk about Science on the radio I would have to decline but to talk sports I'll accept every single time. I always laugh when these sports talk radio hosts complain about their work load. They get to discuss sports how hard can it be? I'm thankful for the opportunity Jeff Mariners gave me to co-host the show with him. I'll never turn down a sports radio interview as they are fun. I don't even need to plug my blog either I can talk for hours at a time. I recap my interview but I left plenty out so go listen for yourself. I come on at the 91 minute mark and it was pretty fun. Hopefully next time I come on the Mariners have a winning streak like I said to end the last podcast.
The Seattle Mariners with their recent losing streak were going to be sellers at this trade deadline. What surprised Mariners fans is that they traded two guys who aren't expensive at all in starting pitcher Doug Fister and reliever David Pauley. The Mariners under general manager Jack Zduriencik are hoping that these four prospects from the Detroit Tigers can turn into something special down the line. The Mariners acquired outfielder Casper Wells, pitcher Charlie Furbush, 20 year old third base prospect Francisco Martinez and a player to be named later who is thought to be one of the Tigers top draft picks from the 2010 draft. The Mariners are hoping that Martinez can develope into the third baseman of the future while Wells gives them a much needed upgrade in left field. This won't be a popular trade as Fister despite his record had the lowest ERA on the team and was the Mariners most consistent starting pitcher. The Tigers have acquired two good arms from the Mariners in hoping they can do more for them than Jarrod Washburn did two years ago.
What the Mariners gave up to the Tigers were two solid cheap arms in Fister and Pauley. On the year Fister in 21 starts is only 3-12 but has thrown 146 innings(7 innings a start) while having a 3.33 ERA. Fister hasn't received any run support this year. He has thrown three complete games and has a WHIP of 1.17 with 89 strikeouts to 32 walks. Fister for the year has a 2.8 WAR which is pretty good. He is also under club control for several seasons. The other guy the Tigers are acquiring is setup man David Pauley who was flirting with an all-star season for most of the year. Pauley on the year has pitched in 39 games posting a 5-4 record while pitching 54.1 innings with a 2.15 ERA. Pauley also has a 0.99 WHIP with 34 strikeouts to 16 walks. He also has a 1.7 WAR which is extremely high for a reliever considering all-star closer Brandon League has just 0.4 on the season. The Tigers are acquiring two solid pitchers for four youngsters.
The Mariners aren't stupid they are selling high on both players while they can. The Mariners signed Pauley to a minor league deal and before this year he was a nobody. As for Fister he is a back of the rotation starter and it hurts to lose him the Mariners did receive four players in return. Let's start off with outfield Casper Wells who is 26 years old. Wells this season for the Detroit Tigers is hitting .257/.323/.451 in 113 AB's on the year. He has 4 HR's with 12 RBI's and 16 runs scored on the season. Wells has 29 strikeouts to 9 walks though which is a concern. He is a good defensive outfielder and can provide a nice platoon in left field and fill in for Franklin Gutierrez if he continues to slump. In his minor league career Wells hit .252/.342/.494 in 1,715 AB's with 81 HR's(HR every 21.2 AB's). He struck out 487 times(28.3%) to 181 walks(10.5) which isn't that great. Wells is worth 1.0 WAR so far on the year which is a major improvement over what the Mariners have received in left field.
The other prospects the Mariners received were Charlie Furbush and Francisco Martinez not to mention a high draft pick of the Tigers from the 2010 draft. First with the 25 year old Furbush he is a 6'5" left handed pitcher who is in the bullpen but has started in the minors. This year for the Tigers in 17 games including two starts Furbush is 1-3 with 32.1 inning pitched while posting a 3.62 ERA. He also has a 1.54 WHIP with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks this year for the Tigers. In the minor leagues Furbush has pitched in 73 games including 69 starts where he is 25-20 having thrown 386 innings with an ERA of 3.71. He has a career WHIP of 1.18 WHIP with 406 strikeouts to 32 walks. Furbush will be the lefty out of the pen for the Mariners this year and compete for a starting rotation spot next year or this year if Erik Bedard is dealt. The main prospect is Martinez who is only 20 years old and in double A. Martinez career minor league line is .277/.329/.361 in 1,108 career at bats. He has just 13 home runs(HR ever 85.2 AB's) with 220 strikeouts(19.8%) to 80 walks(7.2%) which is horrible. This year though he is hitting .282/.319/.405 in 348 AB's with 7 HR's(HR ever 49.7 AB's). He has struck out 80 times(22.9%) to just 19 walks(5.4%) which is Carlos Peguero like. I'm not liking what the Mariners got for what they gave up.
In conclusion, I think the Mariners are taking a major risk on this trade. It will all depend who that player to be named later turns out to be because these three players don't excite me. You have two mid 20's guys who have average minor league stats who are in the major leagues. The big prospect is Martinez who has a K's to BB's ratio as piss poor as Peguero. I hope Zduriencik didn't make this trade out of desperation to keep his job by showing he's trying to improve the offense. Finding innings eater on the cheap like Fister is and is going to be is hard to find. Take Jason Vargas for an example he'll be making over 5 million dollars next year while Fister wouldn't even make a million. The Tigers have to be smiling as they improved their starting rotation and bullpen without giving up their key prospects. The Mariners are banking on Martinez developing into a solid third baseman down the line. As it looks right now today it appears the Mariners got burnt badly in this trade. I guess we'll wait and see down the line but right now today the Mariners fans can't be happy with this deal.
Friday, July 29, 2011
The Seattle Sounders after a disappointing 1st leg of the Champions League preliminary round get back to work in MLS as they head to Tornado Alley to take on the Houston Dynamo. The last time these two met back on March 25th, the Sounders had a lot of opportunities to score but were only able to capitalize on only one in the 80th minute via a tap in by Steve Zakuani as the match finished all square at 1-1. The Sounders, coming in with a 9 game unbeaten streak, have yet to win in Houston. Drawing 1-1 in their first visit in 2009 and losing 2-1 last season.
Seattle Sounders FC - For Seattle, of course Steve Zakuani is out with a broken leg. Brad Evans had injury problems last year and he's having injury problems again this year. He is listed as doubtful with a hamstring strain. Also listed as doubtful is Jhon Kennedy Hurtado with an MCL Sprain. Backup goalkeeper Terry Boss has a concussion so I don't expect him to be on the squad tomorrow, look for #3 goalkeeper Josh Ford to make the 18-man squad this weekend.
Houston Dynamo - For the other guys, Calen Carr, he has not played at all this season for the Dynamo having dealt with a concussion, he is listed as doubtful. Also Cam Weaver, who of course went to Kentwood High School, is listed as probable with a sprained left ankle.
Only one player suspended and that would be Je-Vaughn Watson of the Houston Dynamo. Watson picked up a second yellow card in Houston's 3-0 loss to Chivas USA.
Brad Davis vs James Riley - There's always a key matchup on the wing, especially when you have a playmaker like Brad Davis. He's gonna be everywhere tomorrow. There's no time for any hiccups.
Fredy Montero vs Bobby Boswell - Fredy Montero, he's back to doing what he does best... Scoring goals. Boswell is gonna have a long night defensively.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
One teams trash is another teams treasure. That is exactly what the Tennessee Titans are hoping by signing former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to a three year deal worth 21 million dollars. The Titans are hoping that Hasselbeck with a good supporting cast like running back Chris Johnson can bring back the Hasselbeck from 2003-2007 instead of the Hasselbeck from 2008-2010. The Titans needed a quarterback as they released Vince Young and they don't want to rush first round pick Jake Locker who they drafted 8th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Titans are hoping with a fresh start they can get new results from Hasselbeck.
With Hasselbeck they have a proven playoff quarterback who has led a team to the Super Bowl. This appears to be a solid move for the Titans franchise as Hasselbeck showed at times last year he still has some game left in him. Hasselbeck has proven at times last year he can still be an NFL starting quarterback and lead a team to a playoff win. In last years 41-36 playoff win over the New Orleans Saints Hasselbeck threw for four touchdown passes. Just like in Seattle Hasselbeck won't have much of a receiver group as his best option Kenny Britt will most likely start the year off suspended. Hasselbeck will have Chris Johnson who will be the best running back he's ever had including Shaun Alexander. The main thing for the Titans is Hasselbeck allows them a bridge gap to the Jake Locker era. With Hasselbeck he can hold the fort down for a year possibly even two which will allow Locker to learn the offense.
This is also great news for Jake Locker as he won't be asked to save the franchise. When Locker is finally starting for the Titans it will be when he is ready instead of being thrown into the fire. We have seen recently young quarterbacks thrown into the fire on bad teams the success rate is very low. While you look at Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers, and Tom Brady they all sat their first year in the NFL. In the case of Rodgers he sat for three full seasons while Rivers sat for two seasons. With Locker sitting and learning from a great pro in Hasselbeck that will help his career quite a bit. The last thing Locker needed with only a month to prepare was to start the season as the starting quarterback. Nobody cares how you do as a rookie anyways. The Titans drafted Locker for what he'll do in his career not what he'll do his rookie year. I think Hasselbeck can hold the spot down for at least a year and a half before letting Locker take over.
In conclusion, as a Seattle sports fan I love this move quite a bit. It would have sucked seeing Hasselbeck kick the Seahawks asses in a San Francisco 49ers jersey. Now I'll sort of adopt the Titans as they have Hasselbeck and Locker. I know I'll be watching their preseason games for sure to see how both guys do. This should be a weird feeling for Locker playing at Montlake for five seasons as Hasselbeck was for the Seahawks. Now Locker will be learning from the guy who he shared the spot light with in Seattle. This is a good move as Hasselbeck can extend his career while the hometown hero Locker can learn from a pro. I'm excited that the Titans not the 49ers signed Hasselbeck. I wish Hasselbeck luck and when that time comes I'll wish Locker luck as well. I know a ton of Seattle fans just became Titans fans as well.
The Seattle Seahawks began the free agency period as big players signing three free agent players. Pete Carroll is being very active this offseason despite letting popular quarterback Matt Hasselbeck go. The Seahawks signed pro bowl wide receiver Sidney Rice, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and former #2 pick overall Robert Gallery. The Seahawks had the third highest cap space combined with a billionaire owner you knew the Seahawks would make some moves this offseason. Last year the Seahawks made more moves than any team in the NFL so I expected this year to be no different. The Seahawks under Carroll preach competition and these guys being brought in sure will help with that. The Seahawks despite winning the division and advancing to the second round of the NFL playoffs were a flawed roster. With these moves the offense will be much improved especially when you factor in the draft. The Seahawks so far have made a statement that they are going back to the 2003-2005 era when they had a great offensive line.
The Seahawks in the draft went offensive line with James Carpenter and John Moffitt to help rescue an area that has been lacking since Steve Hutchinson left after the 2005 season. Well the Seahawks are reuniting Robert Gallery with his former head coach Tom Cable who is the Seahawks offensive line coach. With Gallery the Seahawks are getting a physical 6'7" 325 lb offensive guard. The Seahawks will most likely put Gallery on the left side with last years 6th pick overall Russell Okung to form the best left side they've had since Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson from 2001-2005. With Gallery the Seahawks land the former #2 pick in the 2004 NFL draft as he started 41 games his first three years in the NFL all at tackle. He started 10 of those games at left tackle as the Oakland Raiders were hoping they drafted the next Walter Jones. Well Gallery struggled as a tackle and was labeled a bust. The great thing about "bust" tackles is they always turn into at worst a solid guard. Gallery was switched to guard and has since started 50 games at left guard. The Seahawks are getting a quality offensive lineman who has experience at tackle and guard which should help out the young offensive line. With the offensive line improved the skill players should thrive this season.
The Seahawks let Matt Hasselbeck go at quarterback and are hoping Tarvaris Jackson can be the guy. Jackson knows the offense as his offensive coordinator is now the offensive coordinator for the Seahawks. Now Jackson hasn't produced much in the NFL and for those who know me will know I trashed on him more than any quarterback. Jackson in his four year career in the NFL is 10-10 as a starting quarterback while passing for 3,984 yards while completing 58.7% of his passes with a rating of 76.6 in his career. He has thrown for 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while rushing for 535 yards with four touchdowns. Now those aren't great numbers and they are actually below average but they are on par with what Hasselbeck has produced in the last three seasons. Jackson's best season was in 2008 when he helped lead the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC North Division championship. That year Jackson played in nine games and started five games. Jackson threw for 1,056 yards while completing 59.1% of his passes with a rating of 95.4 for the season. He also threw for nine touchdowns to just two interceptions while rushing for 145 yards. Jackson will give the Seahawks a mobile quarterback who knows the offense. He will also be familiar with one receiver as well.
The Seahawks signed former pro bowl wide receiver Sidney Rice of the Vikings as first reported by Jay Glazer. Rice comes to the Seahawks signing a five year 41 million dollar contract. Rice is only 24 years old and showed in 2009 he can be the #1 receiver the Seahawks are lacking. The Seahawks haven't sent a wide receiver to the pro bowl as a receiver since 1989 with Brian Blades. With Rice the Seahawks land a receiver who has 146 career receptions for 2,129 yards and 18 touchdowns. His pro bowl season of 2009 he had 83 receptions for 1,312 yards with 8 touchdowns. Rice is a big receiver at 6'4" 200 lbs which will make life difficult on opposing defenses in the red zone. With Rice and Mike Williams the Seahawks now have two big targets they can lob the ball up to for a touchdown. The Seahawks are hoping with a new and improved offensive line they can finally put some points on the board.
In conclusion, the Seahawks are going through with their promise of being active this offseason. That is why you have to love the Seahawks management they always try to improve the team unlike the Seattle Mariners. The Seahawks have went from the worst offensive line in the NFL to possibly a good offensive line by the time they all get used to each other. The Seahawks also have a big play receiver in Rice which slides Williams to a #2 receiver not to mention speedsters Deon Butler and Golden Tate. The Seahawks aren't done yet I have a feeling they'll make some more major moves. The Seahawks made the tough decision on Hasselbeck while responding making big moves with Gallery and Rice. Glad to see a Seattle sports franchise trying to make their team better.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The Seattle Seahawks announced that they will not bring back long time starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. That news has set off a ton of emotions amongst Seahawks fans. For the most part the people in the Seattle Sportsblog group reacted pretty well to the news. For me this is a bittersweet move which I'll explain in more depth later on. The last time Matt Hasselbeck didn't start a game for the Seahawks was in 2000 so for the first time in over a decade there is some mystery at quarterback for this franchise. A franchise who missed the playoffs in the entire 1990's because they didn't have a solid long term solution at quarterback. The fans are fearing that will happen to them again. The same fan base that trusts Jack Zduriencik no matter what won't trust Pete Carroll which I find surprising. The Seahawks are moving forward as a franchise which is always tough and there is never a happy ending. In this following post I'll explain why Carroll made the right decision in letting Hasselbeck go. I'll also talk about the great career Hasselbeck had with the Seahawks.
For me this is a sad move as Hasselbeck was always my favorite player. I used to always wear his jersey at games and wear it every Sunday. Hasselbeck was the face of the franchise for a decade and he was a great person off the field. He was the leader for the franchise, he was the heart and soul of the Seahawks. Hasselbeck was always a great interview regardless if he played well or played terrible he never made excuses either. When you look up "pro" in the dictionairy you'll see Hasselbeck's picture. Hasselbeck with the Seahawks is a three-time Probowler(2003,2005 and 2007) while leading the franchise to the playoffs six times in the last eight years. Before 2003 the Seahawks had made the playoffs just once the previous 14 seasons. With the Seahawks Hasselbeck threw for 29,434 yards while completing 60.2% of his passes with a rating of 82.2 which is pretty good. He also threw for 174 touchdowns to 128 interceptions with a record of 69-62. His best year was in 2005 when he led the team to the Super Bowl. During that season Hasselbeck threw for 3,459 yards while completing 65.5% of his passes with a rating of 98.2 which is pretty incredible. He threw for 24 touchdowns that season to just 9 interceptions. Hasselbeck was also a playoff warrior throwing for 2,741 yards in 11 career games while completing 58.4% of his passes for a rating of 84.4 which shows he stepped his game up. He threw for 18 touchdowns to 9 interceptions in his postseason career. Hasselbeck had a great career and someday he'll be rewarded with a trip to the Seahawks Ring of Honor. Unfortunately for the Seahawks that doesn't help the team going forward.
I haven't seen the city react this way towards a team letting go of an icon since the Seattle Sonics traded away Gary Payton. I was in high school back then and that pissed me off when Payton was dealt. Looking back that was one of the best(few) moves Wally Walker ever made. The Sonics were ripped a new one and Walker traded Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks. Payton would never play in an all-star game again while the guy they traded him for Ray Allen would play in four all-star games with the Sonics while leading them to the division title in 2005. Had the franchise resigned Payton they would have been set back a decade. Fast forward to 2008 new GM Sam Presti traded Ray Allen away and Rashard Lewis. He was also killed but look at the franchise now? They were in the Western Conference Finals. Had Presti resigned Lewis and kept Allen they would be some middle of the road West team struggling to get out of the first round. That is why fans should never be GM's because there is no place in sports for emotional decisions. This sounds terrible but you need to be very cut throat in sports. No player is above finishing his career off with another team.
I know the Seahawks will get killed for this decision. Let people kill this decision those same people killed the Philadelphia Eagles for trading Donovan McNabb in division. The Green Bay Packers were second guess for two straight seasons for letting Brett Favre go. Well the Packers won a super bowl three years after being "dumb" and the Eagles with Michael Vick look great for another five to six seasons. Had either franchise hung on to the past they'd be in terrible shape right now as we speak. If Jerry Rice and Joe Montana can finish off their careers with another team then any player in the NFL can finish somewhere else. Hasselbeck for as great as he was isn't that quarterback anymore. In the last three seasons he is just 12-23 as a starting quarterback with 34 TD's to 44 INT's while completing just 58.5% of his passes. He was great in the playoffs but that shouldn't erase being below average for three straight seasons. Hasselbeck is 35 years old with a quarterback rating of under 76.0 the last three seasons. The Seahawks were left with no choice but to say good bye to Hasselbeck.
In sports it is always tough to say good bye to a franchise leader. For Pete Carroll unless he wins a Super Bowl will always be hated as he'll be known as the guy who let Hasselbeck go. I give Carroll credit for moving this franchise forward instead of clinging to mediocrity which is what the Hasselbeck era has become since 2005. Unlike the Seattle Mariners who sign 33 year old players to a five year deal worth 90 million dollars the Seahawks are moving forward. Will the Seahawks benefit at first? No they won't in fact I expect them to be terrible this year. Will the Seahawks be better off long term? Hell yes! They'll find their franchise quarterback in next years draft so knowing that will make the pain of this year go down easier. The Seahawks don't want to be like the Mariners where they are last place while paying an icon top money for what he did yesterday instead of what he can do tomorrow. In the world of sports loyalty can only go so far. The great teams who consistently win like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles are the three most cut throat franchises in the NFL. They constantly tell their old guys "thanks for the career but there is the door." That is how you have to run a sports franchise to be successful.
In conclusion, I'm sad to know Hasselbeck won't be with the Seahawks this year. I'm also happy knowing that my franchise doesn't make moves based on fan reaction instead they make business like moves. Just remember John Schneider came from the Packers so he saw first hand the circus of the Favre saga. He also saw the Packers win a Super Bowl three years later so he'll take some heat knowing down the road he'll be getting praise from those same people. The Hasselbeck era is good for both parties but mark my words the Seahawks five years from now will look back happy with this decision. There is no room for loyalty and when Hasselbeck retires I can't wait to see him inducted in the ring of honor I just don't want him being my quarterback for 2011 and 2012. The Seahawks made a tough decision today letting Hasselbeck go and I have a feeling one of their faces on defense will be let go later the preseason. For now I'll thank Hasselbeck for his great career in Seattle while being excited knowing the Seahawks management got this tough decision right.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Seattle Sounders FC vs San Francisco F.C. Previewing the first leg of the Champions League preliminary round matchup.
The Seattle Sounders get ready to take on Panamanian side San Francisco F.C. in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round. The match kicks off at 5pm and will be televised on FOX Soccer Channel and streamed online at concacaf.com. The Sounders got through the preliminary stage last year, knocking off Isidro Metapan 2-1 on aggregate, but can they get through again this year? We'll tell the story following the conclusion of the second leg next week.
Who are San Francisco FC?:
There's really not much history with this club. This is only their 40th year of existence, however they have won seven league titles and have qualified for every Champions League since it was formed in 2008.
What to look out for in this game:
- The Sounders are going to be without Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Brad Evans and O'Brian White fo the first leg, but there is a possibility that they could be named to the 18-man squad when the Sounders travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday. Look for youngsters Miguel Montano, David Estrada, Mike Seamon and possibly Michael Tetteh to appear on the 20-man squad.
- The weather forecast in Panama City calls for highs in the mid-80's and chances of thunderstorms all day on Tuesday. The Sounders had to deal with similar weather when they played on a shitty pitch under a downpour. Hopefully there are no thunderstorms that would force a delay or a postponement of the match.
The Seattle Mariners are currently going through their worst stretch in franchise history. The Mariners went into the all-star break on a five game losing streak which appeared to eliminate them from the race. Now the Mariners in the second half have lost all 10 games to the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. The Mariners have lost a franchise record 15 straight games which is shocking considering as of July 6th this team was just 2.5 games back of first place. Now the Mariners trail the Oakland A's as they sit in last place in their division. The losing streak started off with the Mariners not hitting which has been a problem all year long and has been a problem in the entire Jack Zduriencik regime. What has surprised most fans is that this week especially on the road trip to Toronto and Boston the Mariners offense woke up while the pitching staff has been lit up. For the first time all year I'll have several pitchers make the "bad" list. Like I do whenever the team has a losing week I'll be going over the good(not much), the bad(over half the roster) and the ugly(the mastermind behind this team).
When a team is going through a 15 game losing streak I'm sure you are thinking good?!1 Well a few hitters have stepped up this past week and so have some pitchers. This week saw the return of Mike Carp from Tacoma and now that he is getting regular at bats he took advantage this week. If Carp can show life that would be nice since the offense is still broken. The Mariners also saw short stop Brendan Ryan hit his first home run of the season and then he followed that up with a grand slam. This week also saw rookie pitcher Blake Beavan who was acquired in the Cliff Lee deal pitch pretty well in his two starts despite picking up the loss. Beavan this year has pitched a quality start in all four of his starts which is a good way to start your career. The Mariners finally had some hitting this road trip but the pitching has been terrible. The Mariners offense this road trip has averaged 4.8 runs per game which is pretty good for this offense.
Dustin Ackley: 12-42(.286), HR, 6 RBI's, run
Brendan Ryan: 14-40(.350), 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, 7 runs, 2 SB's
Mike Carp: 8-22(.363), 2 HR's, 4 RBI's, 3 runs
Blake Beavan: 0-2, 13.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7 K's
Jeff Gray: 6.1 IP, 1.42 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5 K's, Blown Save
David Pauley: 0-1, 5.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4 K's
Chris Ray: 3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 3 K's
Brandon League: 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 2 K's
The team hasn't performed very well as you can see by the limited work that closer Brandon League has received. It was nice seeing the youngsters like Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp and Blake Beavan perform well during this losing streak that was the lone bright spot.
The Mariners have set a franchise record with their 15th straight loss when they were swept by the Boston Red Sox sunday losing 12-8. The Mariners go on the road to the New York Yankees then return home to face the Tampa Bay Rays so this losing streak could very well stretch to 20 games. The Mariners pitching in particular their bullpen overachieved in the first half and law of averages have caught up to them. The Mariners still have several hitters who are slumping as the offense scored just two runs in their four game sweep at home to the Texas Rangers to begin the second half. Watching this losing streak I think we all feel crazy that just two weeks ago there was actual playoff talk surrounding this team. Now the Mariners are headed towards another top five pick in the major league baseball draft. First year manager Eric Wedge you can tell is fed up with this team as he blasted his veterans in a loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. He even shaved his famous mustache in an attempt to avoid the losing streak. The team is hitting slightly better now but that was all negated due to the pitching being so terrible.
Justin Smoak: 6-34(.176), run, 7 K's
Adam Kennedy: 6-32(.187), HR, RBI, 3 runs, 6 K's
Miguel Olivo: 8-36(.222), 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, 3 runs, 2 SB's, 10 K's
Carlos Peguero: 0-2(.000), 2 K's
Franklin Gutierrez: 7-32(.218), 3 RBI's, 4 runs, 4 SB's, 7 K's
Chone Figgins: 2-13(.153), 2 runs, SB, 5 K's
Greg Halman: 2-19(.105), HR, 3 RBI's, run, 8 K's
Felix Hernandez: 0-2, 14 IP, 6.43 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 8 K's
Jason Vargas: 0-2, 9 IP, 10.00 ERA, 2.67 WHIP, 3 K's
Michael Pineda: 0-1, 10.2 IP, 10.13 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 10 K's
Doug Fister: 0-1, 13.2 IP, 5.27 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 5 K's
Aaron Laffey: 5.1 IP, 10.13 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 3 K's, hold
Jamey Wright: 0-1, 4.2 IP, 11.57 ERA, 2.36 WHIP, 3 K's
The numbers don't lie right there. The starting pitching which has carried this team all season long has fallen apart in the second half. The Mariners saw two key bullpen guys just fall apart which isn't helping things at all. The hitting has been terrible since 2008 which makes you question how things are being run upstairs. The main player that is a red flag is Justin Smoak who has been slumping pretty bad ever since his hot April. He was a key acquisition in the Cliff Lee trade and if he doesn't pan out that will set the franchise back some years.
The Mariners right now are looking like a flawed roster that is heading for another disasterous season. The Mariners are on pace to lose 93 games this season which would be their third season in the last four years of losing over 90 games. The Mariners are going for history this season as the worst American League offense in the DH era which is a record you don't want. The Mariners despite a decent sized payroll have put out a minor league batting lineup the past two seasons. Now I've already debated with Insider Steve on whether or not Jack Zduriencik should be retained. I'm not going to open that up instead I'll post some ugly stats.
Jack Zduriencik era
- Has a 189-236(.444%) record in Seattle. That is an average of 71-91 record.
- Has an offense that is scoring 3.28 runs per game in 2011 which ranks last in baseball, scored 3.16 runs per game in 2010 that ranked last in baseball and 3.9 runs per game in 2009 that ranked 28th in baseball.
- In his years his offenses have averaged 3.49 runs per game.
- His teams have hit only 325 HR's in 425 games so they aren't producing the power.
- In 2011 the Mariners are hitting .226/.290/.334 which ranks last place, last place and 29th. In 2010 the Mariners hitting was .236/.298/.339 which ranks last place in all three categories. In 2009 the Mariners hitting was .258/.314/.402 which ranked 21st, 29th and 23rd. The offense has regressed each season under Zduriencik.
Now the pitching has been pretty good but Jason Vargas and recently Blake Beavan only starting pitchers that Zdurienik has his hand on. While the crappy hitting only Ichiro this year and last year Jose Lopez plus our crappy catchers were the only non Zduriencik hitters. The hitting has been historically awful and this losing streak might have sealed Zdurienik's fate. I think firing Zduriencik doesn't solve the Mariners problems but hard to imagine a GM keeping his job with such ugly numbers.
AL West Standings:
Texas Rangers: 58-44, first place
L.A. Angels: 55-47, 3.0 GB
Oakland A's: 44-57, 13.5 GB
Seattle Mariners: 43-58, 14.5 GB
The Seattle Mariners as a franchise has been in a decade long drought. The Mariners feel like that snail who takes one slow step forward then falls back quickly two steps. The Mariners since 2003 have had five full-time managers and seven managers overall. The Mariners have had three different GM's in that time and it appears we'll have our fourth next spring. The new "savior" that the fans will drool over every move he makes. This feels like a process that never ends. The names come and go while the same crappy results continue on. This franchise despite having an ace pitcher in his prime and a first ballot hall of fame hitter will lose over 90 games for the third time in four seasons. They will have lost over 90 games five times since 2004. This year we all figured it was going to be a rebuilding year and possibly the team overachieving in the first half may have cost Zduriencik. The fans had accepted 90 plus losses heading into the season but expectations changed during the season. One thing that hasn't changed is the historically awful offense that Zduriencik has assembled. For as much crap as people give Wedge for his lineups you can only do so much with seven turds. The Mariners offense is just one giant turd at the end of the day and this losing streak just magnifies it.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
By: Authentic Adam
As the Mariners fall further away from contention, there's one, huge, obvious, no-doubt-in-my-mind reason why. The Mariners have come down with some kind of sickness that prevents anyone not named Dustin Ackley from hitting, they have a career .281 BA guy hitting .184, a career .255 BA guy hitting .186, but that isn't even the worse part. The franchise's face for the past decade is hitting .260, yes, if you don't already know, Ichiro Suzuki has dropped off substantially from his career averages. Ichiro is on pace to get nowhere near his 200 hits and career .327 BA that have been the one thing that the Mariners have always been able to count on this past decade.
Even as it is looking more and more likely that age is catching up with Ichiro, his 10 year Major League career is nothing short of spectacular. Ichiro broke records that have been untouchable for almost 100 years with a style of playing that has never before been seen in Major League Baseball. The sad part is that it's easy to under appreciate Ichiro, I am not the only person who would rather see bombs launched out of the park over Ichiro's weakly hit infield singles, but that shouldn't take away from what Ichiro has been able to do in his career. Let's dive into Ichiro's Major League Career, specifically all the records he has tied/broken.
Batting Line: .350/.381/.457 with 242 hits, 8 HR, and 56 SB
-He set the Major League record for most hits by a rookie, he also had the most hits in a season by a player since 1930.
-He became only the second player in Major League history to win both the Rookie of the Year award and Most Valuable Player award in the same season
-He became the first player since Jackie Robinson in 1949 to lead the league in both BA and SB
-The Mariners tied the record for most wins in a season with 116, Ichiro played a huge role in the Mariners success
Batting Line: .321/.388/.425 with 208 hits, 8 HR, and 31 SB
-He became the first player on the Mariners to have back-to-back seasons with 200+ hits, only two other Mariners have ever reached 200+ hits (ARod twice, Boone once), He became only the 6th player to start off their career with two seasons of 200+ hits
Batting Line: .312/.352/.436 with 212 hits, 13 HR, and 34 SB
-He became only the 3rd player to start of their career with three seasons of 200+ hits.
Batting Line: .372/.414/.455 with 262 hits, 8 HR, and 36 SB
-He set the Major League record for most hits in a season with 262
-He set the Major League record for most hits in a players first four seasons in the Majors with 924, he also set the record for most hits over a four year span, but later broke his own record in 2007.
-He became the first player in the history of baseball to have 50 hits in 3 different months of the same season
Batting Line: .303/.350/.436 with 206 hits, 15 HR, and 33 SB
-No records set, although Ichiro set a career high in HR.
Batting Line: .322/.370/.416 with 224 hits, 9 HR, and 45 SB
-He set the record for most hits in a 6 year span with 1,354.
Batting Line: .351/.396/.431 with 238 hits, 6 HR, and 37 SB
-He set the AL record for most stolen bases without getting caught with 45 consecutive SB.
-He set the Mariners hitting streak record with 25 consecutive games with a hit, he would later break that streak in 2009.
Batting Line: .310/.361/.386 with 213 hits, 6 HR, and 43 SB
-He reaches a career milestone, totaling 3,000 hits in both Japan and the United States
Batting Line: .352/.386/.465 with 208 hits, 11 HR, and 26 SB
-He set the record for most consecutive seasons with 200+ hits at 9.
-He became the 2nd-fastest player to reach 2,000 Major League hits.
Batting Line: .315/.359/.394 with 214 hits, 6 HR, and 42 SB
-Tied Pete Rose for most seasons with 200+ hits in a career.
-Extended his record of consecutive seasons with 200+ hits.
Batting Line: .260/.306/.310 with 104 hits, 1 HR, and 23 SB (Current stats)
-Set the Mariners career hits record with his 2,248th hit.
-10 All-Star game appearances, 1 All-Star game MVP
-10 Gold Glove awards
-3 Silver Slugger awards
-7 seasons of leading MLB in hits
-2 seasons of leading MLB in BA
There is a common theme with Ichiro and the records he set. Hits, hits, hits, and more hits. He doesn't walk, he doesn't strike out, he just gets hits. Ichiro is one of the greatest hits guys in baseball history and would have given Pete Rose a run for his money if he came over to the US before he was 27 years old.
Ichiro is the first player to ever make a Hall of Fame career out of infield singles. Infield singles don't count as much as HR, but they're even more impressive in this case. There are plenty of players who can hit 40HR in a season and 500HR in a career (some more legal then others), but there is only one guy in the history of baseball with more than 250 infield hits, and that is Ichiro with 412. Ichiro has 164 more infield hits then the Luis Castillo in 2nd place. 164 hits would be considered a good season for almost every player.
While some Mariners fan don't like him because of his attitude, or his approach to the game, or the fact that he doesn't help out in the community, or even the 18M the Mariners are paying him, it still doesn't deny that Ichiro is a unique baseball player with Hall of Fame credentials. He's been a staple in the Mariners line up in a decade where there was barely anything else you could count on and until this year has earned his salary every year of his Major League career outside of 2005 (where he was 0.8M off).
All in all, Ichiro is struggling now in what is looking more and more like the twilight of his career, but don't let this season stand in the way of appreciating his remarkable achievements. Ichiro is still Ichiro, and I'll gladly go to the ball park to even catch glimpses of his Hall of Fame career.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By. Insider Steve
It's official; the 2011 Seattle Mariners have fallen off the face of the earth.
As painful as that was to admit, it is the ugly truth. In all of my years watching baseball, I have never witnessed such an epic mid-season tail spin as the one the mariners currently find themselves in. As Ron Fairley would aptly put it; this one's for the ages. How does a team go from 2.5 games behind in the standings on July 5th to 11.5 games in a span of 13 days? It's a great question because most teams do not usually play themselves into that situation unless they are a bad team. It would have to take a total team effort to pull off a meltdown like this, and for the first time this season, the offense isn't the one to blame for the nose dive. For the first time all season the pitching has been equally as bad. The worst part for the Mariners is that it doesn't look like it will get any better anytime soon. If you happened to glance at the upcoming schedule, you will notice that it does not offer any breaks. Two more games in Toronto before moving onto Boston for three, and then finishing up with three in the Bronx against the Yankees. It is more than possible that before the Mariners finish this road trip their losing streak could reach 15 to 20 games, but before i completely scare you off, we should discuss what it's going to take to turn this thing around.
In Jack Zduriencik's defense, his model for building a team to fit the parameters of Safeco Field looked good on paper. If you gather a bunch of high on-base guys with a couple of speedy table setters, it could negate the effects of not having a traditional power guy(s) in the middle of your lineup. If you do your job correctly and assemble the right players, your lineup conceivably would hit right in the middle of the MLB average for OPS numbers. Somewhere between .700 and .728. Zduriencik'd plan hasn't exactly worked out the way he would've liked. During his tenure, his offenses have posted OPS numbers of .716, 637, and 614. That is a -102 points drop off. It goes well beyond just overall team OPS. One look at the positional OPS numbers and you will see a roster that not only hasn't hit up to league average, but is a roster in dire need of improvement. This isn't just idle talk. This a problem that if not fixed immediately, it could snowball and negatively effect the next five seasons.
Positional breakdown by OPS from 2009 through 2011:
- C - 2009: .658, 2011: .628: -30
- 1B - 2009: .867, 2011: .730: -137
- 2B - 2009: .766, 2011: .792: +26
- 3B - 2009: .683, 2011: .478: -205
- SS - 2009: .621, 2011: .636: +15
- LF - 2009: .669, 2011: .606: -63
- CF - 2009: ..764, 2011: .450: -314
- RF - 2009: .851, 2011: .617: -234
- DH - 2009: .735. 2011: .670: -65
The majority that have watched the Mariners up close this season would say that the holes are at the LF, 3B, and DH positions. So if the holes are that glaring why not start there? It came as kind of a surprise to me, but the LF and DH positions have not been as bad offensively this season as the CF and RF positions, so this is where I would start looking for an upgrade. Do I think that Franklin Gutierrez needs to be DFA'd? No, but if a better option presents itself in center field, and that option does provide a consistent power source without giving up too much on defense, then the Mariners would be much better suited sliding Gutierrez over to left field for the 2012 season while Ichiro plays out the final year on his current deal. Speaking quickly on Ichiro, Let's hope that 2011 was indeed just a blip on his career radar. The Mariners can ill afford to have the same type of season bleed over into the 2012 season. Anything short of Ichiro retiring back to Japan in the off season, #51 will be back in the lead off spot in 2012.
Players the Mariners to consider in CF:
- Matt Kemp -CF - .289/.344/.487/.831, 113 HR, 403 RBI
- Jacoby Ellsbury -CF - .296/.350/.424/.774, 33 HR, 182 RBI
The best move the Mariners could make for themselves at this seasons July 31st non-waiver trading deadline is to rid the lineup/bench of Chone Figgins. Let's face it, Figgins has not worked out the way he was supposed to. If Jack Zduriencik can persuade a team to take on the final two years of Figgins' deal, then the Mariners will be deadline winners in my opinion. Again, with Ichiro around for one more season, the Mariners must address the third base position with a consistent power source in the lineup. The Mariners cannot continue signing the Jeff Cirillos, Scott Speizios, and Chone Figgins' of the world(.538 OPS, 21 HR, 168 RBI combined in 6 seasons as Mariners) and expect the fans to accept this as a form of improvement.
Players the Mariners to look at, at 3B:
- Wilson Betemit -3B-.268/.335/.443/.778, 58 HR, 224 RBI
- Mark Reynolds -3B-.240/.335/.484/.819, 142 HR, 397 RBI
The only thing that is certain in regards to the Mariners is the need for a legit big bat/power threat hitting in the middle of their order. Make no mistake, most teams that have built their lineups with "on-base" guys, have a power bat hitting in the middle. In most cases, all those teams are hitting inside the league average in OPS. It should be no secret to many that the Mariners will have the money this off season to make a big splash in free agency. You have no choice but to hit a home run in this scenario (no pun intended) and pay for Prince Fielder's services. There will be the negative backlash that comes with territory of signing a guy like Prince, but in this case you have to ignore the backlash and pay attention to what is important; (Prince's career numbers).281/.388/.538/.926, 214 HR, 609 RBI. Take one second for yourself to imagine what Prince Fielder would look like in the Mariners lineup.(I'm waiting) Now look at the lineup with the roster moves I have outlined.
- RF - Ichiro
- 2B - Ackley
- 1B - Fielder
- DH - Smoak
- CF - Kemp
- 3B - Betemit
- C - Olivo
- LF - Gutierrez
- SS - Ryan
That lineup might not be enough to win you a World Series title, but it will get you into the playoffs, and with our pitching depth, who knows what could happen from that point. Major roster moves have to be made and it has to involve players that will pay huge dividends. Prince will be considered major because of the financial aspects of any deal he will eventually sign and bcause of the lumber he brings to the lineup (duh). Matt Kemp will be a major trade because no one is expecting the Dodgers to part ways with their All-Star who is a vital piece of their future.
Short story long, if anything the last season and a half has shown us is that without power the Mariners will not be able to compete inside their own division. It has to improve dramatically because with every year that passes, Oakland, L.A. Angels, and Texas all improve all little more offensively and widden the gap even further. It's time for the Mariners to finally address their power issues and reinsert themselves back into the ranks of the American League. If they continue to act like a small market team, they will quickly find themselves as this centuries St. Louis Browns. If anyone remembers their baseball history, and that is not a good thing. Okay 2012 Seattle Mariners. Your now officially on the clock.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
All of Seattle should be excited to see one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Manchester United get ready for their 2nd game of their U.S. tour against the Seattle Sounders. Over 68,000 tickets have been sold for this match and I'm pretty sure this will be much better than their friendly matches in 2009 against Chelsea and Barcelona. Even if this match ends up being a blow out with like 20 minutes to go, don't turn the match off or don't leave the stadium. Just watch for 90 minutes.
Who are Manchester United?
Manchester Untied are an English soccer.... I mean football club that has been around since the late 1800's. This team was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR F.C. by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath. They started playing a bunch of exhibition matches at that time against other departments and rail companies, but on November 20, 1880, they played their first recorded match against Bolton Wanderers, wearing their green and gold. They lost that match by a final score of 6-0. Money wasn't that big a deal back then like it is now, regarding signing and selling players.
Ever since the Premier League was formed in 1992, Manchester United pretty much became the New York Yankees of English football. In 19 Premier League seasons, Manchester United has won 12 League titles. That inclues last year.
What to look for in this match:
Well we had a handful of trialists in practice today but only one will play in the friendly. His name is Mrisho Ngassa. He was brought to the Sounders in an effort to strenghten the team's relationship with clubs in East Africa, but seriously, if he does well, sign him.
Now here's a video of the coin toss atop the Space Needle. Kasey Keller was up there representing the Sounders along with Manchester United players Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, who kicks off first tomorrow? Check it out right here........
Monday, July 18, 2011
The Seattle Mariners have hit rock bottom in the Jack Zduriencik era recently having lost nine straight games all to division opponents. The Mariners have scored just two runs total in their last 44 innings in year three of the Zduriencik regime. The Mariners are coming off a disasterous season last year which saw them lose over 100 games for the second time in a three year span. The Mariners as of July 5th were just 2.5 games out of first place. Now the Mariners on July 17th find themselves 11.5 games out of first place and in distant third place. Whenever a professional sports team starts losing the blame game is tossed around. For the first time in Zduriencik's regime there appears to be doubt on whether or not he is the guy. One thing that can't be ignored is that he hasn't done a very good job the last two season. You already saw Insider Steve make his case on why we should still trust Jack Z. In this following piece I'm not saying the Mariners should fire Zduriencik but I will point out his flaws.
Before I break down Zduriencik's short comings I'll bring up the terrible mess he appeared to have inherited. By the time Bill Bavasi was fired in the middle of the 2008 season the Mariners were on their way to losing 101 games and finishing last place in the division for the fourth time in five seasons. Bavasi was the mastermind of the first ever team to lose 100+ games with a 100+ million dollar payroll. Ownership was pretty pissed off that they were spending so much money on a crappy product have decided to decrease payroll by 25% in the Zduriencik years. The team had no major league ready up and coming players in the system and some pretty bad contracts as well. Zduriencik inherited a mess from Bavasi but how much of a mess is sometimes lost. The Mariners were bad but the the part of the team that is carrying them right now is the starting pitching staff. Felix Hernandez, Doug Fister, Erik Bedard and Michael Pineda were all in the system before Zduriencik took over the team. With the Mariners being so terrible they also had the #2 pick overall in the draft which allowed them to select Dustin Ackley. So while Bavasi did a terrible job he didn't leave Zduriencik as big of a mess as his apologist want to paint.
The Mariners offense is pathetic and Zduriencik has let three hitters who would produce on this team go under his watch. The first one is Mike Morse who he traded in 2009 to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Langerhans who is currently rotting away in Triple A Tacoma. Morse for the season is hitting .300/.348/.523 on the season with 15 home runs and 49 RBI's which would be nice right about now. Instead of having Morse get the DH AB's against left handers Zduriencik decided to go with the veteran Mike Sweeney. The Mariners also let go of Adrian Beltre after the 2009 season and Beltre now plays for division rival Texas Rangers. Beltre on the season is hitting .268/.309/.488 with 19 home runs and 72 RBI's with gold glove defense. The Mariners decided to go with Chone Figgins instead at third base for four years and 36 million dollars. Figgins on the year is hitting .183/.230/.243 with one home run and 14 RBI's with just nine stolen bases and six caught stealings. Not to mention his defense has been very average and he currently has the worst WAR(wins above replacement level) amongst all starters. Another guy Zduriencik let go was Raul Ibanez who is hitting .249/.293/.426 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI's on this year. Imagine this offense with Ibanez at DH instead of Cust against right handers and playing some left field(we had Peguero who also sucks on defense), with Morse playing DH against left handers and playing some outfield as well and Beltre at third base? This offense goes from Triple A to average offense.
The Mariners this season are hitting as a team .221/.286/.325 which ranks last place in the majors in all three categories. The Mariners have also scored the fewest runs in the major leagues this season. Last year the Mariners hit .236/.298/.339 which also ranked last place in all three major categories. The Mariners ranked dead last in runs scored and home runs last season. The Mariners who had a winning season in 2009 ranked 28th out of 30 teams in runs scored. Zduriencik tried to build a team based on run prevention but failed to realize you do need some offense. Zduriencik has yet to find a DH and now third base not to mention left field appear to be huge black holes. With the recent play of Franklin Gutierrez who is hitting .190/.224/.233 with just one home run in 163 at bats makes you wonder if he is the answer in centerfield. The strength of the team is the pitching which Zduriencik inherited from the Bavasi years while the major weakness is the hitting which Zduriencik has a hand on eight of the nine players who play every day. Zduriencik's eye for talent has to be questioned given that he has built the worst offense of the last three years.
For those who trust Zduriencik's eye for talent I ask how can you do that when his manager that he personally hand picked was fired after just a season and a half? Zduriencik showed he is a coward by blaming Don Wakamatsu for a roster that he built. Unfortunately for Zduriencik he can't blame the manager this time around. Bill Bavasi did the same thing he fired Bob Melvin but he did admit if he is forced to fire Mike Hargrove that will result in him losing his job as well. Zduriencik has already showed that his eye for talent is flawed given that the manager he hand picked was canned less than two years on the job. Then Zduriencik also looked foolish last year claiming he had no clue about Josh Lueke's background which a quick five second google search would have discovered that. You also have to wonder how great of an eye for talent Zduriencik really has when his old team the Milwaukee Brewers have made the playoffs just once in the past 29 seasons. I know the Brew Crew appears to have some talented pieces but in professional sports you are measured by wins and losses. Another thing that worries me is the people who hired Zduriencik.
Everyone is on to Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong by now. We are fully aware these two are morons and shouldn't be running a baseball team. Does it concern anyone that these two hand picked Zduriencik? They whiffed on Bavasi and appear to whiff on every manager since Piniella was traded away. Nobody trusts those two to make any decisions correctly so why trust them now? I'm not willing to give Dumb(Lincoln) and Dumber(Armstrong) the benefit of the doubt that they aced this hire. Zduriencik for all the complaining about cheap ownership currently is working with a 94 million dollar salary cap. Of course there is some dead money in there that isn't contributing which has nothing to do with Zduriencik which accounts for 13 million. I'm sorry you should be able to put together a major league offense for 81 million. Nobody forced Zduriencik to wrongfully pay Chone Figgins nine million a year or to trade Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. It wasn't a bad contract for bad contract swap as Silva made 12 million compared to Bradley's 13.3 not to mention the Mariners are paying 5.5 million of Silva's contract. Nobody forced Zduriencik to trade for Jack Wilson then give him a contract extention worth five million this season. That is 19.5 million that Zduriencik lit on fire and burned it down. The team is spending enough money to put together a major league offense which Zduriencik has yet to do in any of his three seasons with the Mariners. Just remember dumb(Lincoln) and dumber(Armstrong) are the ones that nobody should trust yet they hand picked this guy.
All in all, think what you want about Zduriencik but please don't "trust" him. The Mariners don't deserve our trust one bit. The Mariners are that girl friend who is constantly cheating on us would you would "trust" her to have a weekend to herself in Las Vegas? Hell no! Just like you shouldn't trust this Mariners team. The Mariners product is an embarassment to any fan who has spent money on this team the last decade. Nobody should be given a free pass on this team yet so many fans seem very quick to defend Zduriencik just like Huskies fans defended Tyrone Willingham or how current Cougars fans defend Paul Wulff. This is sports not T-Ball you are measured by wins and losses and to date Zduriencik while in Seattle is 189-230(.451) which isn't horrible but not good. This is a make or break offseason for Zduriencik as it should be. If he can't get at least 85 wins by next season he should be shown the door and if the team wins 85 games while having the worst offense he should still be shown the door! A good general manager by now would be having his major league team show some progress by now which the only bright spot he had nothing to do with. So remember fans not saying to fire Zduriencik but stop this "trust" business. Why should this franchise deserve our trust after cheating on us for 36 seasons? Just remember the people you don't trust also hired Zduriencik.