Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 2, 2008 10:16 AM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Good morning to you all, especially to Novice in the comments thread. Must be some Fourth of July fireworks going off early at your place in honor of Mr. Bloomquist's game-winning hit last night. And no, I would not put you in the category of a "troll" either. If all trolls were as simple to deal with as you, I wouldn't be keeping the Tylenol folks in business. Thanks to all the lawyers who came out yesterday and offered some insights on the Shawn Chacon-Ed Wade situation. Enjoyed reading your takes.
So, Richie Sexson hits his first home run since May 24. I'm sure the phone lines are burning up at the Pelekoudas residence. Or, maybe not. Here's one national writer's take on what's happened to the M's this season. Interesting to read what the rest of the world thinks about you. That outside viewpoint comes into play come trading time. And there are some places shaping up as possible destinations for Mariners players. They are also places the M's can safely deposit those players without having to worry about being burned by them too often in the near future.
There are problems in Philadelphia, where the Phillies looked like they might have a shot at a World Series not too long ago. Well, now, after weeks of losing, the Phils just unloaded big-ticket starting pitcher Brett Myers to Class AAA.
The Phils need another arm. If they can't trade for C.C. Sabathia, you'd have to think that Erik Bedard would be an interesting fallback plan. Or maybe even Jarrod Washburn, if he continues to pitch well. Washburn has proved adept at handling NL lineups. He's gone at least six innings and not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his three starts against NL clubs so far. Also went six innings and allowed only one earned run against Toronto -- an AL club that hits like an NL team -- his last time out. We'll see what he does tonight. Unlike Bedard, Washburn won't cost teams an arm and a leg. But dealing him would get the M's out from under the $13 million or so that he's still owed through 2009.
The Boston Red Sox are struggling at the plate and at the catching position. Seattle has three catchers. One of them, Jamie Burke, can catch a knuckleballer like Tim Wakefield and likely provide more offense than Kevin Cash. Another, Kenji Johjima, can catch every day and is under contract for three more years. Jason Varitek is not. Could there be a fit here? Remember, too, the Red Sox have made a sizeable investment in Dice-K Matsuzaka and stepped up their marketing efforts to the Japanese community. I also think the Red Sox bullpen could use another left hander. Arthur Rhodes could fit that bill, though he might have to pitch at Yankee Stadium in a pennant race. Oh, well. Speaking of the Japanese community, this could be a decent spot for Ichiro to land as well. Not in center, where Jacoby Ellsbury is making his mark. But in right field. Remember, the Red Sox get above average power from Manny Ramirez in left. Imagine the 1-2 speed punch at the top of the order with Ellsbury and Ichiro. This type of move, though, could be more of an off-season project than a trade deadline thing.
The knee problems of Yankees left fielder/DH Hideki Matsui contiunue to worry a Yankees squad that appears set to make a run at a wild-card spot after an underwhelming first few months. There could be a fit here with Raul Ibanez, a native New Yorker. Ibanez doesn't have to play left field every day. But he could man the position a couple of days per week and be a DH on other occasions. Yes, the Yankees have a DH type in Jason Giambi. But he can't play left field at all. Renting Ibanez out for a few months to the Yanks also would be unlikely to hamper Seattle's attempts to re-sign Ibanez in the off-season. Happens all the time.
Another team looking like a trade partner with the M's are the surprising Atlanta Braves, still crossing their fingers and praying for some bullpen help. They are 4-21 in one-run games, which tends to reflect on the bullpen. Remember how good the M's looked in tight contests last year because of their bullpen? Well, this is the opposite. These guys need some help in the latter innings. Rhodes could be a fit here. So could a guy like Mark Lowe, or Sean Green. I only throw Lowe's name out there because the drafting of Josh Fields means things are starting to get a little crowded on the eighth and ninth innings fronts for the M's when you look at 2009 and beyond. We still don't know what the plan is for Brandon Morrow. It would obviously take quite a haul for the M's to give up on Lowe so soon. But like they said, everyone is up for grabs. If that's true, it means everyone.
Here's another interesting situation developing in Tampa Bay. I think it's still too early for the Rays to hit the panic button. But Troy Percival is an old guy. We'll see how long it takes for him to come back from his hamstring injury and whether or not it lingers throughout the season. The Rays may be looking to add some bullpen depth later on down the road. Seattle has plenty of that. Don't know whether Rhodes would be a good fit here, as the Rays already have two quality lefties in Trever Miller and J.P. Howell. But if everyone gets shoved up a slot, the Rays could use some more middle relief. Take your pick with the M's. Even a guy like Roy Corcoran could have some value on a team desperate for bullpen help, especially of the more "veteran" kind, be it as a major leaguer or minor leaguer. And we all know the Rays have plenty of young prospects to offer up in return. Would probably take more than Corcoran to net a prospect, but you never know.
Obviously, there are other matches and other teams out there. Any of you care to offer up some potential destinations? Things will become much clearer as the trade deadline approaches. Needs will be more firmly established and desperation more evident. Just trying to get the ball rolling here with some names we've already discussed ad nauseum and others just coming up (in my head) for the first time.