Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A rented mule

Ever heard the taunt I'm going to beat you like a rented mule?

Wikipedia attributes that bit of slang lexicon to Mickey Redmond, a former NHL player and current Detroit Red Wings color commentator. It's my current pet phrase. I'm a fair ping pong player, and prior to most of my recent string of victories over a friend of mine, I've frequently loudly employed it - much to his amusement (and chagrin).

Thus, instead of beating a dead horse, I'm going to bastardize the theme slightly, especially since the M's have continued their recent dominance over the hapless Texas Rangers, indeed beating them like a rented mule.

Let's look at the ages of the Mariners' opening day lineup and starting staff:

Ichiro! - 34
Lopez - 24
Ibanez - 35
Sexon - 33
Beltre - 28
Wilkerson - 30
Vidro - 33
Johjima - 31
Betancourt - 26

Bedard - 29
Felix - 21
Silva - 28
Washburn - 33
Batista - 37

That is one old team.

Compare it to the positional counterparts of the Cleveland Indians, who (unlike the Mariners) pulled the plug completely and did a full rebuild - returning to prominence sooner than Seattle, for that matter:

Sizemore - 25
Cabrera - 22
Peralta - 25
Martinez - 29
Hafner - 30
Garko - 27
Gutierrez - 25
Dellucci - 34
Blake - 34

Sabathia - 27
Carmona - 24
Westbrook - 30
Byrd - 37
Lee - 29

I haven't bothered to include the bench and relief pitchers, but based solely upon these lists, which team appears built for the long haul?

Having beaten the horse, mule or whatever equine creature suits your fancy sufficiently, spring is the time for optimism, not criticism. The Mariner starters are humming along in the first three games, the hitters seem willing to work the count instead of lunging at everything, and the bullpen is solid - the loss of J.J. Putz notwithstanding.

161-1, baby.


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