Which way should the Mariners turn?

When everyone was picking the Mariners for the AL West division title during spring training, I almost followed suit.

I figured the Angels looked a lot worse than they had in recent years and who was going to beat the 1-2 punch of Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez?

Plus they have Ichiro AND Chone Figgins setting up the table? This was going to be a wonderful year in Seattle… maybe even a pennant to help say good bye to Ken Griffey Jr.

Sure picking up Milton Bradley was a risk… but he MUST have learned his lessons, right?

But my gut told me, no… I got burned picking the A’s last year.

I decided to play it safe and go with the Angels. Well, the Halos haven’t been rewarding my powers of prediction, but HO-LEE CR*P! The Mariners are a disaster.

And I literally have no idea which way they should turn.

One the one hand they are one of the worst teams in the American League. Only the Royals, Indians and lowly Orioles have worse records, and that is INCLUDING their win against the Angels on Sunday.

Milton Bradley has been a disaster. You know something didn’t work out when the only positive thing about a guy’s year is that he decided to seek help instead of have a career ending meltdown.

Huzzah! You can’t play but at least you didn’t behave like a sociopath!

The offense, including from new comer Chone Figgins, has been offensive. Hitting coach Alan Cockrell has joined all of us from The Bonnie Hunt Show in the unemployment line.

Franklin Guitierrez and Casey Kotchman lead the team with a whopping 3 homers. THREE. Not for the week, but for the whole season. Three supposed regulars are all batting under .200. I know batting average isn’t always the best route to use in terms of judging a hitters worth, but YIKES!

The pitching has been OK, but even King Felix has looked awful in his last two starts.

And the clubhouse has more tension than The Hurt Locker.

Even Ken Griffey Jr, once the feel good part of this Mariners team, is a source of controversy as teammates are coming out anonymously against him and people are calling for one of the great players you and I will EVER see have their career ended by being placed on waivers.

And with Cliff Lee certainly headed off to an expensive free agency, GM Jack Zduriencik might be better off dealing Lee to see if he can get back a few players that would partially make up for Phillippe Aumont, Juan Ramirez and Tyson Gillies, the players sent to Philly for Lee.

It’s a lost season.


Despite such a disastrous start, the Mariners are only 5 back of the Rangers in the loss column.

THE RANGERS! You know, the team that always starts off well but fades the minute the weather gets into the “Oh My God, is this HELL?” range!

The A’s are ahead of them… and I think they are poised to steal the division… but they could just be having a nice first two months. They were projected to be a 90 loss team and they could very well be.

The Angels are a sub .500 mess as well. And even if they find a way to fix their hitting woes and their starting pitching mess… Brian Fuentes will find a way to blow the lead.

What I am saying is this is the very definition of a winnable division.
Plus they have recalled top prospect Michael Saunders who homered on mothers day.

Two more homers and he’ll be tied for the team lead.

Sometimes it takes a young spark like Saunders to ignite the team and give them some new life.

It also helps that they are about to face the Orioles… and Milton Bradley is no longer on the team.

And Cliff Lee is off the DL… maybe the Mariners can get on a roll.

Or maybe they’ll continue their current pace to finish the season at 62-100 with their veterans either eying free agency, seeking psychiatric or taking a snooze.

Cliff Lee’s trade value will never be higher… then again the division may never be this winnable.

What should they do?
I don’t envy you Jack Zduriencik.
First of all you have to constantly spell your last name out for people.
But secondly the wrong decision in 2010 could screw the team up for years!

If you go for it and the team falls apart, then you would get little to nothing back for the Chone Figgins/Cliff Lee/Milton Bradley gamble.

If you wave the white flag, you would lose fan interest for this year and it would take more than Ichiro and a bunch of people you’ve never heard of to get them back.

Choose wisely, Jack.

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Good For Milton Bradley

I’ve crapped a lot on Milton Bradley over the years on this blog.

I’ve crapped on him as a member of the Padres
I’ve crapped on him as a member of the Cubs
I’ve crapped on him as a member of the Mariners

I’ve crapped on his lack of trade value
I’ve crapped on his crazy temper
I’ve crapped on his getting thrown out of spring training games

He is a super talented guy who wears out his welcome wherever he goes before he unpacks.
He is nuts and possibly unstable.

And I was just sitting back, waiting for the inevitable implosion that was going to happen in Seattle.

SEATTLE! The most remote team in baseball whose media crush is almost nonexistent.
And it was getting to be too stressful for him. Maybe it wasn’t the Cubs fault after all.

But after being benched from a game the other day and leaving the ballpark… Milton did in Seattle what he DIDN’T do in Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Texas and Chicago:

He sought help.

It clearly isn’t an issue about the media because he has played in some of the most anonymous markets in all of baseball.

It clearly isn’t about the money. He is a millionaire many times over.

It isn’t about not getting another chance. He has gotten more chances in his career after flopping than Colin Farrell.

There’s clearly something wrong… with HIM.
And he’s asking for help.
And he’s getting it.

And who knows? Maybe he’ll figure out what the heck is wrong with him.

Now that doesn’t excuse him from quitting on his team… and it certainly doesn’t absolve him from his dreadful play (and it might behoove the Mariners to eventually designate him for assignment.)

But what if he figures out what is ailing him… and then harnesses his talent without the anger?

He’s clearly needed help all along.

So I won’t crap on him when he finally asks for it.

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The Ulti-MET insult to Milton Bradley

So Oliver Perez got ROCKED again… by the Washington Nationals no less. And one of the worst contract signings in history rages on in Queens.

And a terrific Met fan, the brilliant Emmy nominated comedy writer Andres Du Bouchet posted as his Facebook status update “Ok Mets. Please release Ollie and eat his salary. I’m begging you. You can replace him with a T-ball tee.”

So I remembered my insane Blockbuster Trade post from last winter. Essentially it was my 9 team, 11 player swap as viturally every jaw droppingly bad contract was swapped for each other.

I had the Cubs getting Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley… which of course happened.
But in my trade, Bradley was sent off to the Mets for Oliver Perez. (The Mets actually DID pick up Gary Matthews Jr, who was also in my proposed blockbuster.)

But remembering the Perez for Bradley part of the deal, I wrote to Andres.

“Would you trade Perez for Milton Bradley?”

He responded right away “No.”

Remember, Andres had just established the fair market value of Perez to be a batting tee!

So by THAT logic, Bradley’s trade value is LESS than a batting tee. If the Mariners called a team and said “We’ll send you Milton Bradley and we want a batting tee in exchange” the second team would say “You need to sweeten the pot!”

I can think of no bigger insult.

Now please enjoy Andres in a sketch from The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. He is in the Arab outfit.

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