Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Will They or Won't They?

Trade for Erik Bedard that is. They is the Seattle Mariners, and they have been entwined in a soap opera with the Baltimore Orioles for the last while going back and forth in trade talks.

For those of you who don't really know what I am talking about, let me give you a little background. The Mariners have been in the market the entire off-season for starting pitching. They signed Carlos Silva back in December to a 4 year contract. I really think the Silva signing will turn out to be a lot better than some people think. The initial reaction to the signing was that it was for too much money, but the reality is he was the best free agent starting pitcher on the market and if the Mariners didn't pay him someone else was going to. And where would that have left the M's? Sure they would have the money in their pockets but they would have also taken a step back in fixing the one thing that has plagued this team year after year, starting pitching!! You can argue that Silva is not the solution to the Mariners pitching problems. And your right--he isn't, at least not completely, but he is part of it. What Silva brings to the Mariners is stability in the middle of the rotation. He will benefit from pitching with one of the best infield defenses in all of baseball behind him and will probably factor in 13-15 wins on the season. Laugh if you will when I say that, but I believe he will excel at Safeco field. I believe that he will surprise a lot of people just as Miguel Batista did last year. Silva alone does not make the Mariners an instant contender, but he helps move them in that direction as far as pitching goes.

Think about it, last year the Mariner rotation included the horrid Jeff Weaver and the almost just as horrid Horacio Ramirez. Weaver, who went 7-13 with a 6.20 ERA was a nightmare for Mariners fans. He started the season at 0-6 with an ERA in the high teens. Ramirez went 8-7 with a 7.16 ERA. Carlos Silva will not suffer the same fate as those two because he is a better pitcher--plain and simple. The Mariners missed the playoffs last year and finished 6 games back in the division behind the Anaheim Angels. What could have been had Weaver and Ramirez brought us 6 or 7 more wins between them on the season? Instead, they were the reasons why we lost so many games.

The Mariners rotation as it stands right now would probably look a little something like this:

Felix Hernandez
Carlos Silva
Miguel Batista
Jarrod Washburn
Brandon Morrow/Horacio Ramirez???

Felix in my opinion has the potential to become one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. His stuff is downright nasty. He showed his potential last year when he started the season off in top form absolutely dominating his opponents. He started the season shutting out their division opponents the Oakland A's by throwing 8 strong innings of 3 hit baseball. He followed that performance with an even stronger one against a potent Boston Red Sox limeup. Chris and I were at that game and watched him take a no hitter into the 8th inning. He ended up throwing 9 shutout innings and yielded only the 1 hit off the bat of J.D Drew. It was an experience I won't soon forget and I am certain there is a no hitter waiting for Felix sooner rather than later. His next start came against the Minnesota Twins and I think you could have heard a pin drop in the stadium--and all of Seattle--when Felix called the trainers out to the pitching mound during the first inning. He was removed from the game and went on to miss the next month with an elbow injury. He ended up going 14-7 with a 3.92 ERA. Not bad for a 21 year old kid who missed over a month and at least 5 starts. Felix struggled to find his form the first month or so back from injury. But when he did he once again showed all the promise he has. I truly believe had that injury not happened that he would have won at least 18 games.

I have already made the case for Carlos Silva, and I stand by it.

Miguel Batista is a pitcher who everyone thought was the worst signing the Mariners could have made last off-season. The funny thing is, of all the pitchers signed out of free agency in the entire Major Leagues last year, Batista had the most success. He didn't go deep into games, but with Miguel you always knew what you were going to get. A lot of pitches, a lot of walks and about 6 innings each outing. He was consistent, and he won 16 games. That was more than I think any of us expected of him. I expect a lot of the same from him going into this season.

Washburn is a mystery to me. He always has been. He teases you with how good he can be and then crushes your heart when he does the complete opposite. Maybe I expect too much from him, but I really feel he is better than he performs most of the time. I think he is better suited at the back of the rotation as the 4th or 5th starter where there isn't so much pressure on him to perform at such a high level, but that's just me. He only won 10 games last year and that frustrates me because I believe he is better than that.

Brandon Morrow is another young kid who in my mind has the potential to be a great pitcher. But right now I just don't think he is ready for it. I would like to see us keep him in the bullpen for late inning relief or even the setup man for closer J.J. Putz.

Ramirez -- been there, done that. Enough said. He was terrible and if the Mariners put him back out there as a member of our 5 man rotation I may just vomit.

All of that brings us back to the important topic at hand--Erik Bedard. Bedard is one of the best left handed pitchers in baseball. Probably top 3 and falling in behind none other than Johan Santana and C.C Sabathia. Bedard has dominant stuff, he is a strikeout machine and adding him to the Mariners rotation makes them a contender in my opinion. The Mariners have not had an true number 1 "Ace" starter since the departure of Randy Johnson. The argument can be made for Felix that he has ace potential, and he certainly does. But for now he is too young--he needs to be able to go out there every 5 days and pitch without the pressure of being that guy. Bedard gives him that. A one-two punch of Bedard and Hernandez automatically makes the Mariners a tough team to play from a pitching standpoint. Imagine it Mariners fans, a playoff series with Bedard and Hernandez at the helm. It gives you goosebumps just thinking about it doesn't it?
With Bedard, our rotation would likely look like this:


Not too shabby!!

So here we sit waiting for the soap opera to be played out. Will the Orioles agree to a trade? Reports came out on Sunday that the two teams had agreed to in principle to a trade that would send Adam Jones (Mariners prized young outfielder), George Sherrill (left-handed reliever) and 2 other prospects to Baltimore in exchange for Bedard. The Mariners pulled Jones out of winter ball in Venezuela to head back here to the states. Jones himself spoke with a reporter down there and said Bavasi (Mariners GM) told him he had been traded. I did a dance of joy, I really did. As much as I like Adam and think he is going to be a talented player in baseball for a lot of years, I think Erik Bedard is someone you just can't pass on if you have the chance. Dominant pitchers are hard to come by and a lefty one at that. If there is one thing I have learned about baseball it is that pitching matters more than anything else. If you don't have pitching you can't compete with those who do.

Ever since Sunday there has been reports coming from all sorts of different places about this trade. Whether it will happen, whether it was ever really in place. It is reported that Orioles owner Peter Angelos is angry news of the trade was leaked before Jones could even get to Baltimore for a physical. The latest is that the Orioles are now trying to sign Bedard to a contract extension rather than trade him. Most think an extension is unlikely and that when this is all over with he will be a Mariner. As a Mariner fan who is 100% for this trade I hope it happens. But for now, we just sit and wait for the powers that be to make up there minds either way.

Hold on tight kids, the rollercoaster ride seems far from over.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Well here we are. Chris and I figured there wasn't enough of us out in the blog world so here we are with yet another blog for you all to read and love. Unlike our other 2 blogs which consist of the daily stories and photos of our lives this one will be strictly for sports stuff. Chris and I are both sports nuts which is probably why we go so good together. Growing up in Canada I am a crazy hockey fan and a die hard Edmonton Oilers fan. Chris is a Colorado Avalanche fan which is okay with me considering my favorite player and former Oiler is now a member of the Avs. When I met Chris and found out he was also a hockey fan I know it was meant to be. ha! My love for baseball didn't happen till I met Chris's mom. Being from Seattle they are big Mariners fans. I swore I would NEVER like baseball. That didn't last long because as soon as I started to sit down and watch the games and learn there is really so much more to the game than just hitting a ball and running I fell in love with it and to this day I can't get enough. Since we live in Boston Chris and I order the baseball package and stay up late most night so we can watch the M's. We both are crazy about the Seahawks and can't wait for next season to arrive. Soccer, golf, college basketball and the list goes on.

So there you have it, that is a little about us. You will read about all sorts of things on this blog but mostly about our favorite teams and what is going on with them. We welcome your comments and ideas for this blog.