Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Tatonka List: 2005

Part II in a lengthy series that should get us through Spring Training without having to complain about WFB every day.

Last time we unveiled the reigning member of the Tatonka list, Kenji Johjima. Let's hope he avoids the usual fate of these guys. But not every member of this list will be an utter disappointment.

Take 2005's representative, Adrian Beltre. He's not a complete waste, although his productivity at the plate compares rather poorly to his salary thus far, but it's still early yet in his Mariner career, so we have to say that the jury is still out on this one. His signing was not unlike Johjima's: 17 December 2004, two days after signing brittle first baseman Richie Sexson to a huge free agent deal, the Mariners inked the twenty-five year old third baseman Beltre to a whopping five-year, $64 million contract. This was quite a Christmas present, and after several years of the Mariners being rather reluctant to spend big money on free agents, this move inspired all kinds of hope and praise on the part of often pessimistic Mariners fans.

Indeed, the twin signings of Sexy and Beltre in that fateful December also seemed to mark the definitive severing of ties between the Mariners and former GM Pat Gillick. This, too, inspired hope, mostly of the "how much worse could anyone else be" variety. It seemed to be a sign that on Bavasi's watch, the Seattle organization would make smarter moves in the marketplace, which might also transfer into better trades and farm development as well.

The sky was the limit.

93 losses was a rather disappointing outcome to the immediately succeeding season, and although it was not all Beltre's fault, he certainly contributed to the inability of the M's to improve by more than the six games that they did. The good news, in Spring 2006, is that Beltre's signing was still smart, given the young man's age and previous demonstrated potential ability with that stick thingy that players generally bring to the plate. Plus, he's kinda good at defense.

So for now, the 2004-05 Tatonka is, uhh, not all bad. Yeah. Whoo hoo!

A running recap:

Tatonka List
2006 Kenji Johjima
2005 Adrian Beltre
2004 next up


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