Sunday, May 08, 2005


I have not posted in a while, due to generally being swamped with non-baseball related matters. Alas. While away, I noticed that the Mariners suffered seven losses in a row.

Coincidence? I think not. Clearly, I need to blog more often.

It is still early, and some of the Mariner hitters are only just now showing signs of life (hello, Adrian Beltre). It is not the case that we're doomed just yet, particularly because we seem to have faced really tough pitchers in the first five weeks of the season.

Still, it is pretty difficult at this point to conceive of the M's becoming serious AL West contenders if they continue to give significant playing time to players who a) have only replacement-level talent and b) are not likely to improve by merit of that playing time.

Tad earlier suggested that we need to turn to desperate measures like Michael Morse, if for no other reason than to light a fire under the guys on the major league squad. I will admit, this team now FEELS like the teams of yore--you know, the ones on which Alvin Davis was THE big draw. Teams that gave us the excitement of OCD batters-box routines by Jim Presley. (Before OCD even meant anything.)

But we refuse to be undead fans. (Actually, if we do succumb to the temptation to be undead, then since we're Mariners fans, several H.P. Lovecraft tales provide some pretty interesting ocean/alien/undead kinds of models--so at least we can be INTERESTING undead fans.)

So, how do we kill zombies? First, we need Bruce Campbell. "It's a trick. Get an axe." Next, we need some perspective. It's still only the eighth of May. I think that it is obvious that the team's management is aware of the team's problems--which was not at all obvious this time in 2004. These are both encouraging signs, since there is plenty of season left in which to develop a winning 2006 ballclub, while shooting for some positive movement this year.

So I'll back off of my earlier opposition to Morse, on this basis: IF Michael Morse is viewed as a potential part of competitive Mariners clubs in the near future, then by all means call him up, even though I contend he's not ready yet. If Jose Lopez gets healthy and ready to play, call him up too. Shoot, trade Randy Winn for pitching and bring up Shin-Soo Choo for more than three plate appearances. Give Chris Snelling the major league audition he has earned. Plan, behind the scenes, to sign actual major league caliber middle infielders for next season. Plan further, behind the scenes, to fill out a rotation and bullpen with above average pitchers. There are precious few quality starting pitchers likely to be available on the free agent market this offseason, so beyond getting Pineiro and Meche healthy and carefully developing King Felix, this is likely to be the biggest problem area for Bavasi and company.

The next nine months are perhaps the most crucial for the Mariners' chances in the near term; I believe that we have the core of the next competitive club in Seattle, but we cannot afford to waste any time that Big Sexy is healthy, or that Adrian Beltre is still entering his prime years, if that club is going to come together. No zombies in the front office. Dave Hansen is not the answer to any question worth asking. Nor is Wilson Valdez, or Pokey Reese for that matter. As stopgaps, fine, but I am curious about the long-term thinking in the front office right about now.

The other way to kill zombies, of course, involves a mob, pitchforks, and torches. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.


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