Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why Losing Leroy Hill is Not as Bad as People Think

The Seahawks have taken the franchise tag off of Leroy Hill making him a free-agent. Since this announcement many fans have been losing their proverbial shit. They seem to be under the impression that losing Leroy Hill would be akin to when Hutch decided to leave Seattle. This is simply not the case.

First, it's not even certain that Leroy is gone. There is a real possibility that he could test the free agent waters and come back to a reasonable deal with Seattle. His value is about as low as it could be right now. All teams that needed a linebacker have filled that need through free agency or the draft so the market for Hill is limited. Of the teams that do want him I'm not sure how many are going to a) be contenders and b)offer him the kind of money he wants. But supposing a deal doesn't happen I don't believe fans need to be too concerned and here's why:

-Hill can competently replaced by a linebacker platoon. DD Lewis can play most downs and be subbed out in obvious run situations or more pass rush is needed. David Hawthorne showed flashes in limited action and could be the thumper half of the platoon. Will Herring might not be a bad choice either.

-Given that the Seahawks are moving to a more Tampa 2 style of defense Hill's abilities might not fit what The Seahawks are trying to do defensively scheme-wise. I love the way Hill gets after the ball carrier and blitzes but that maybe required less next year and the price Hill would want wouldn't be justified for what we are asking him to do.

-Aaron Curry has the tools to be even better than Hill. This is projecting a little bit but I think many experts would agree that Curry has better tools with which to work to become a helluva linebacker. Curry posses better coverage skills, better ability to track the ball down downfield not just in the backfield, Curry should be almost as adept as Hill and attacking the blocker and getting to the ball carrier, and with Curry's athleticism it would not surprise me if he doesn't turn into a pretty damn good pass rusher.

-It's not financially viable to have that much money tied up in one position. That was part of the reason we got rid of Julian Peterson his hit against the cap hindered the ability to sign free agents. A perfect example of this type of situation is the Chicago Bears. Lance Briggs whined like a little girl missing her teddy and got a huge new deal. But Brian Urlacher, feeling like he'd been putting in work longer and harder than Briggs, wanted a new deal as well. Chicago doesn't have the money to pay both what they feel they are worth. It's a shitty situation and best to avoid it if at all possible.

-Great Linebackers are helped to be that way by their d-line. Look at Ray Lewis. In Stabby's Superbowl days he had a pair of monstrous lard-asses keeping him clean from blockers in Sam Adams and Tony Siragusa. He suffered a decline in production until Haloti Ngata was drafted and now he has enjoyed a resurgence. Urlacher became elite and helped that team to the Superbowl only after Tommy Harris was added. In 2007 The Packers Linebackers were great at hitting the ball carriers like they were Rihanna, when their line was playing great. In 2008 when the line fell apart the Linebackers looked less threatening than Uppum from "Saving Private Ryan". Antonio Pierce and Kawika were nobodies until Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Fred Robbins dominated the opponents line.

-A good defense does not need great LB's. Take Philly for example. That team has ran out whiteys like Mark Simoneau, Chris Gocong and Stewart Bradley on a regular basis and still managed to be a damn good defense. This is because brings enough pressure to crush the Beyonder and he doesn't need his LB's to be great.

-If another team was to go and sign Hill The Seahawks will receive a 3rd round compensatory pick. Wikipedia on compensatory picks:
In addition to the 32 picks in each round, there are a total of 32 picks awarded at the ends of Rounds 3 through 7. These picks, known as "compensatory picks," are awarded to teams that have lost more qualifying free agents than they gained the previous year in free agency. ...the placement of the picks is determined by a proprietary formula based on the player's salary, playing time, and postseason honors with his new team, with salary being the primary factor. So, for example, a team that lost a linebacker who signed for $2.5 million per year in free agency might get a sixth-round compensatory pick, while a team that lost a wide receiver who signed for $5 million per year might receive a fourth-round pick.

-Lastly the Seahawks save a ton of very precious cap room if they don't sign Hill. Having cap room effectively allow the Seahawks more freedom during free-agency as well as being able to resign their own player. Given that it is highly likely we have a top 10 pick next year-SUCK IT BRONCOS! DIE DIE DIE!!!-that extra cap space could help sign the QB of the future for this franchise.

Losing Leroy Hill this season may not be optimal and it also very well might upset some fans. I don't share this concern. I think that for the reasons I listed above this club could lose Hill and still be just as good as if he was on the roster. So worry not Seahawks faithful for the fear you feel, this too shall pass.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fear and Loathing at the NFL Draft part II

More random thoughts from the first day of the draft.

Someone needs to round up Hugh Jackman and Anthony Hopkins to go on a mission into the heart of Raidervania and put a stake through Al Davis' heart. With the #7 overall pick the Raiders selected Darius Heyward-Bey. I liked DHB as a later round semi-sleeper WR, but his amazing 40 times was as good as spilt blood to Count Al. Instead of doing the smart thing and trusting he would be around later in the round The Raiders reached and took DHB as the first WR off the board.

In the second round Count Al, again enamored with the life giving nature of the 40 time, selected Michael Mitchell a safety out of Ohio University. This move prompted astonishment from the commentators. Mike Mayock of NFL network muttered "I had him listed as my 50th best safety!"

The Raiders now have a nice collection of players that are straight line fast but might never make it in the quick cuts, stop and start NFL. The Villagers are getting restless, don't be surprised if they aren't outside Count Al's castle with pitchforks and torches if the season goes south.

The Lions proved that, despite lip service being paid to advanced statistics as a means to move the team out of the incompetent shadow of the old regime, nothing had really changed. Matt Stafford got signed a contract worth $78 million/$42 guaranteed a large raise over what Matt Ryan was signed to last year as the #3 overall pick. Nothing endears a player to the destitute populace of the #1 most dangerous city in America like a hugely exorbitant contract, especially in the midst of a fierce depression.

I thought this was a terrible decision as the holes on defense and the O-Line were setting up a young QB with one target for terible failure. The Lions had the chance to look like geniuses with their second pick. Needing to redeem themselves for the Gosder Cherilus tackle debacle of last year and Michael Oher sitting for them at #20 it seemed like fate gave them a second chance. Instead, The Lions punched fate in the face, grabbed it and forcibly had their way with it. The Lions selected TE Brandon Pettigrew. As nice as a quality tight end is for a young QB, not having their head taken off every play is much nicer.

Scott McDaniel seems to be trying to get himself killed before the season even starts in Denver. After having signed Corell Buckhalter, JJ Arrington, and Lamont Jordan in the off-season the Broncos drafted Knowshon Moreno with the 12th pick. At a time when any number of defensive players could have helped the team, they decided to go with one of the easiest positions to fill. With their next pick they selected someone who seems will be out of place in their defensive scheme. Their next pick was on an undersized corner. And they traded next years first, likely a top 10-15 pick, to the Seahawks.

The Iggles selected Jeremy Maclin from Mizzou. This is interesting because Maclin seems to be Desean Jackson pt. 2. It's funny after never getting McNabb anyone to throw to the got him the same thing two years in a row.

Those are just my thoughts people. I sadly doubt I'll be able to do much of a recap on tomorrow's happenings but we'll see.

Fear and Loathing at the NFL Draft

I love the NFL Draft. There is something intriguing about grown men in absurd pin-striped suits that fawn over young men in a manner that brings their sexuality into question. I love the draft day trades and maneuvering to gain better draft position. I enjoy the cold comfort of knowing that Count Al Davis will continue to suck the life out of that franchise by reaching terribly to snag a guy based only on his 40 time or how far he can throw a football his knees-God knows how often that scenario comes up in a game. This is the first look the general sporting populace has to see these players before they are stars or Ryan Leaf style epic busts.

Seahawks' drafts under Tim Ruskell are rarely anything exciting but often are quite solid. Using the methodology of taking the most NFL ready players who are contributors both on and off the field the Seahawks keep the bust rate rather low while sacrificing a bit of upside in the name of security. While the draft so far has followed the same model it has been infinitely more fun to watch.

Given the #4 overall pick after a dismal 4-12 season many people expected the 'Hawks to take a true game changer with their first pick. With Matt Stafford off the board to the Lions-Happy Trails Matt. Hope you enjoy living in a bombed out shell of a city- Many, myself included, hoped Tim Ruskell would pick Mark "Dirty" Sanchez, QB out of USC, as the heir apparent to Matt and his bulging disk. A Offensive Tackle was another area in need of upgrade with Walter Jones' status unclear. Instead the Hawks let a lot of people down by taking arguably the best player in the draft Aaron Curry, LB from Wake Forest.

I'll admit, I wasn't thrilled at first. The more I thought about it, the more I liked this pick. Curry is a versatile player and can do anything asked of him. Yes we unloaded Julian Peterson to the Lions to save ourselves his hefty cap hit and because the talent in the LB corps seemed redundant. Adding Curry moves hill to the weakside where he can use his downhill tackling ability to attack the ball carrier and go for sacks. Curry moves to Hill's spot and provides a headiness in coverage Hill never dreamed of possessing. Given Curry's athleticism it would not surprise me at all if he was sent on the blitz occasionally. His skillset is not unlike what we thought we were getting when we traded for Peterson a few years ago, before it was apparent his coverage skills had eroded.

As I said in an earlier post, a domninant LB probably has the least impact of almost any position on the field. That said talent is talent, and many pundits thought Curry could be the first overall pick and was the best player in the draft. Having Curry also gives the Hawks leverage in their negotiations with Hill. Should Hill persist to feel his $36mil/6 year contract is nothing more than a formal cockpunch, the 'Hawks could easily trade him and still have a damn fine LB corps.

The second round held a lot of promise for Seattle as many of the players that could be brought in and have an immediate impact on the team were still on the board. But no amount of promise or expectation could have prepared me for what came next.

Many fans felt Ruskell should have traded out of the #4 pick and accrued more talent later in the first. When he didn't they gnashed their teeth and howled. With the second pick of the day Timmy heard these cries and traded the #37 pick for a 2010 1st rounder to the Denver Broncos who are in full implode mode after the Cutlerfucker fiasco.

Getting next years first rounder is huge. Denver looks to be pretty terrible and didn't help themselves by drafting Knowshon Moreno at #12, taking a 3-4 OLB with #18 even though I'm pretty sure they still run a 4-3, they then traded up to snag an undersized corner with the Seahawks #37. 3-13 isn't out of the realm of possibility given the Broncos' schedule next season. If this turns out the case the Seahawks could be in a damn good position to draft the QB of the future in next years draft that features Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy.

Seattle traded it's 3rd and 4th rounders to get back in the 2nd round and select Max Unger, C Oregon. Unger looks to be the bizarro Chris Spencer. Where Spencer was monstrously stong, crazy athletic and more raw than 2liveCrew lyrics Unger is not going to blow up anybody with his strength, good in space and is a member of football Mensa. In the zone blocking scheme Seattle is moving towards Max Unger looks to be the galvanizing and forceful leader that will convert this unit of disparate parts into a cohesive unit that will open up lanes for our running game. That is an exciting thought.

It seems Ruskell pulled out his philosopher's stone and transmuted a relatively weak draft class into quality functionable pieces of the future. Getting the Broncos #1 draft pick from next year makes the draft a masterpiece, so far.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why Judging a Pitcher Based on Wins is Fucking Stupid

Quite often when talking with baseball fans about the subject of pitching and the relative merits of certain pitchers number of wins inevitably comes up. For instance in defending Daisuke Matsuksaka of the Red Sox they'll say "He had 18 wins last season!!!!" while leaving out he played behind a crazy offense, a pretty good defense and had a crazy high and unsustainable strand rate. Another example of this was the defense of signing Jarrod Washburn to contract with double the salary and years of the next closest bidder. People would point at the 18 wins he had the year the Angels won the World Series and say that he was a gamer and "knew how to win". This is a load of horseshit. Jarrod Washburn knows how to win like Kanye West knows humility.

Tonight's game by Erik Bedard is a perfect example of the meaningless nature of wins as ascribed to MLB pitchers. Bedard had another incredibly solid start going 7 innings and while having only had two runs scored against him. His fastball wasn't as deadly as his last start but his curve sure as fuck was. Of the two runs that he "allowed" neither were his fault. The single up the middle by Miguel Cabrera that led to the first run was a function of Yuni playing too far towards 3rd base. The second run scored was due to Ichiro pulling a Dennis Miller analogy with the ball and going far over Rob Johnson's head, allowing the second run to score.

Prior to that the M's had failed to scored runs with a man on 3rd and only one goddamn, twice. First, Junior was unable to get Endy chavez in when his attempt at a sac fly failed to leave the infield and the Beltre grounded out to end the inning. The second came in a similar fashion with Yuni hitting a shallow fly and Jose Lopez, attempting to score on the play, was thrown out at home.

Due to this double edged sword of ineptitude Erik Bedard is now 0-1. Read that again 0 and fucking 1. Despite regaining his dominating form of two years ago, Bedard has only one loss to show for his effort. It wouldn't surprise me if he loses another few games as the season goes on while pitching damn good like he did today.

So you see, a misplayed fucking bloop single, combined with offensive and defensive ineptitude can cause a perfectly winnable game for a pitcher to be hung in his loss column. And yet this wins often are the major key that the average fan points to as a sign of success. Which is why the majority of the sports watching public are fucking idiots. Wake up sheeple! There are better ways to evaluate pitching performance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

6-2? Did Someone Spike My Tea with Shrooms Again?

It's early in the season still and at times like these it is very easy to overeact to small sample sizes and lose perspective on the season. But 6-2 after a big win over the Angels, HOLY FUCK!!! Not even in my most wild orgasmic fantasy did I envision the M's to start off the year so well. This is exactly what the team needed to prove to the general viewing public that they are as different from the 2008 team as the coach's daughter in Remember the Titans is from 2009 sexpot Hayden Panetierre.

Had the team started out shitty and came home with a losing record not even the Return of The Kid could get most casual fans interested in this season. Instead The M's have been treated to great pitching performances from King Felix and a finally healthy Erik Bedard. Not only that but they've been witnesses of the Death to Flying Things outfield of Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez. With Ichiro coming off the DL this outfield will make defense sexy again. Add in the high-wire act of the bullpen and their always exciting attempts to get out of innings and you have a pretty damn fun team to watch. Which is something no one would ever say about last years team, not even while drunkenly booing the team as per Ichiro's suggestion.

My more recently developed rational/statistical side knows this kind of play isn't sustainable. M's starting pitchers have been stranding a shit ton of runners and at some point the luck is gonna run out and some team is gonna hit us hard when one of our pitchers gets into a bases loaded situation. Same thing with the bullpen. Throwing gas is all well and good but soon a patient team will force the relievers to actually throw strikes and that's when thing get dicey. David Aardsma's battle against Jack Cust to end the finale down in Oakland is the perfect example. Cust, being a fastball hitter, kept fouling off the high heat he was being fed before lining out to Endy Chavez. A little luck the other way and the great play on the ball isn't made and Bedard's beautiful game is wasted.

Meanwhile the primitive f-complex part of my brain is screaming out in sheer joy as we amass early season wins and vanquish our enemies like Vigo the Carpathian. The sight of Griffey taking walks is glorious to me. The unbelievable hot streak Endy Chavez is riding allows me to forget about his inevitable regression to the mean. Listening to Dave describe Carlos Silva pitching and it not be a terribly painful experience is dizzying. It's nice to see my favorite Seattle Sports team do well again.

Even often alleged pessimist DMZ at points out this heartening factoid
The M’s, at 6-2, have now won 10% of last year’s total. If they go .500 the rest of the way, they’ll finish 83-79, an improvement of 27 games.

I'll buy that for a dollar!

Even if the Mariners eventually regress to their true talent level I'll be happy. This team is fun to watch again. Felix and Bedard are a latter day Riggs and Murtaugh, a pair of lethal weapons, The offense while pretty damn terrible doesn't have that feeling of bleak hopelessness of last season, and the team speed and defense The M's possess ensure that every ball in play is a bit of enjoyable chaos.

Thanks Zduriencik for putting a quality team together after such a shitty 2008 season. Now that's change I can believe in!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sounders Lose for First Time This Season. I laugh.

I went to a buddy's house tonight and, before heading to the bar to listen a quality cover band, we finished watching the Sounders FC lose their first game of the year 1-0 to Kansas City. I wonder how many fans will jump off the bandwagon now and adopt the 4-2 M's.

I understand soccer pretty well along with most of it's idiosyncrasies such as stoppage play, yellow and red cards and the general overall strategy of the game. That said I still find it a terribly dull sport. Too little happens over the 90+ minutes of game time to keep my interest.

Too often forays into opposition territory result in nothing of note. Either the ball is stolen away or a weak shot on goal is attempted before the goal keeper clears the ball to the opposite end of the field. Most of the game is spent in the middle ground just trying to get the ball within respectable range to take a shot.

When a team can lose one of its most integral cogs like the goal keeper, as the Sounders did tonight, and only lose on a infrequent type of shot in the waning minutes consider me unimpressed. Imagine if LeBron went down against the Spurs and they put in the 3rd string point guard to run the show, they Cavs'd be done for.

Having watched the heated and yet still not that entertaining rivalries of Chelsea vs. Liverpool and Man U vs Arsenal of the British premiere league I can say one thing with certainty. The MLS is a joke on par with the WNBA. The talent level of most teams is laughable. David Beckham is a celebrity known for his corner kick more than his actual soccer prowess and other than him does the MLS have a single marketable star? Not really, no.

When Casey Keller the Sounders goalkeeper got a red card and was ejected from the game the 3rd string back-up came from Western Washington University. Name one other sport where a mediocre back up from a tiny school can be made to look passable from lack of talent exposing his marginal skills. Sure on occasion a QB comes from nowhere and lights it up but that has to do much more with surrounding talent more than anything. But a quality O-Line, running game and receivers can cover for a shit ton of short comings *cough* Elisha Manning *cough! In soccer the other team may never come down to your side of the field due to craptastic play.

The other thing thast bugs me about MLS is many teams cannot come up with original name. DC United, what two teams combined to create your franchise and thus live up to the name "United"? Real Salt Lake, in Spanish real means royal, what royalty is you team named after? Finally Sounders FC(Football Club), we already have a football team in Seattle they're called the Seahawks not only that but you play in a league called Major League Soccer not Major League Football. Why the fuck do you have an FC in your team name? Come up with real team names that pertain to the home city and the MAYBE I might gain a little respect for the farce of a league you call MLS.

Basically MLS soccer is a boring spectacle than anyone who's had minor playing time at a DII school can play for. On top of that, the league has co-opted names from European Premiere leagues without any context. It is for these reasons I don't care whether the Sounders win or lose. because frankly nobody likes soccer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just Look on the Bright Side of Life

So, yeah, today's game was a hidden turd at the bottom of an otherwise enjoyable cereal. But let us not forget that prior to Diabeetus Boy coming in and failing like Jay Cutler's soaked insulin pump things were looking damn good for the Mariners. It is in this vein that I write this post.

Erik "Girl Parts" Bedard pitched a helluva game. Yes he only went 5+ innings and he gave up three runs that let the Twins back in the game. More than that, he struck out 8 and only issued two walks. Listening to ol' Dave Niehaus on the radio it sounded like The Interview's curve had more bend than Beckham's famous corner kick. If the ump hadn't been calling a ridiculously small strike zone Bedard would have struck out the last man in the 5th and that would have been the end of his night. It didn't and he ended up giving up 2 more runs before he left. M's fans should take solace in the break on his curve and the velocity and movement on his fastball. His stuff tonight was that of the man we gave up so very much for. One of the best pitchers in baseball.

Franklin Gutierrez has been a pleasant surprise as well. Brought in for his terrific defense his hitting prowess was an afterthought. Astute minds like Dave at thought that Gutierrez had the potential to be the next Mike Cameron. Which means he would be a great defender with a solid bat. So far that looks to be correct, all he needed was a little playing time.

The bullpen was solid tonight. Corcoran pitched two scoreless innings striking out 2 and not allowing a hit. David Aardsma was the beneficiary of the improve outfield defense with some hard hit balls luckily being caught allowing him to go one inning with no damage. Work on that fast ball location there, bud.

There's 160 more games if I get too upset about each one I'll be dead from stress before the year is out. I gotta temper with my anger with what good happened as well, or else chemical abuse happens and that's no good.

The end of today's game sucked, to be sure. But let's remember the lyrics to that great Monty Python song "Life's a piece of shit/When you look at it. So just look on the bright side of life."

Hello Losing My Old Friend. I've Come to Talk to You Again.

Well, the Mariners didn't take long to let down their fans in dramatic fashion.

Holding a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the 9th with newly re-minted Brandon Morrow and his insulin pump coming in to close the game out, 2-0 was looking the M's right in the face. At that point the M's dropped to their knees and blew the hell out of the game.

After cutting down the first two batters like wheat before the scythe Brandon Morrow seemed to forget that the key to pitching is throwing strikes. The next three batters were walked to load the bases. It was at this point I felt my own ulcer start to build. Maybe Ichiro and I can score some black tar together.

Morrow, over his career with the M's, has more command issues than a mute dominatrix. Normally his spotty command is offset by 97mph heat that burns away his blemishes like liquid nitrogen on genital warts. Tonight his lack of command ended up killing him.

Miguel Bastista came in and gave up a high chopper to bring the Twins within one to the first batter. When the game is on the line the pressure can erode a pitchers confidence in his stuff. Miguel Batista doesn't have good stuff to begin with, so when the pressure is on results like tonight's 2-run single it is to be expected.

After the glorious high of last night's win this loss is a real kick in the balls. I need some stability, M's, or we're through.

I'm getting too old for this shit.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Shit! I Just Enjoyed A Baseball Game

The last time I watched a baseball game, Griffey was still a Mariner.

Since then, I've come to hate it.

Baseball's slow, there are 18 quadrillion games and I can only keep track of so many Hernandezs. Hence the hatred. Except for that one time when a certain friend of mine got baked with me and explained why the Oakland A's always make it to the playoffs. It seemed brilliant for about a half-hour.

Despite my decade-long feud with baseball, I watched the Mariners beat the holy hell out of the Twins tonight and it was great.

Granted, I was cooking dinner and not totally playing attention, but the game seemed to move a lot faster than I remember. I kind of want to watch another game.

It's still not football, or even basketball, but it'll do until the NFL preseason starts.

Full circle. Man, I feel old.

Dominatr(Fel)ix: An Omen for 2009?

So, in perhaps what will be my new tradition, I am doing my season preview for the M's after the first game. Because we here at NLS like to do things a little differently. And also because I was too upset last night to post.

If you have been following The M's through the off-season you'll know that GM Jack Zduriencik put together a team that cannot only contend this season and but also has the financial flexibility to make moves to improve in the seasons to follow. This may not seem like much but if you have any knowledge of the Dark Ages of Marinerdom(Aka the Bavasi years)you know this is a very welcome change.

If you just joined us then you are probably wondering who the hell these guys are. In truth they aren't too different than the fictional Cleveland Indians from "Major League" though sadly lacking any felons(if only my dreams of making it to the big leagues panned out). A bunch of relative nobodies who'll more than likely come together and exceed most people's expectation. To familiarize you with the '09 M's I'm gonna do a quick rundown to help you out.

Starting Pitchers:
King Felix
Erik "The Interview" Bedard

Basically it's Felix and Bedard starring in "Two Aces" and then a ton of ?'s. Silva should be better than last year but it's hard to be worse. Washburn should not throw teammates under the bus, also not suck like a toothless hoo'er. RRS is decent, a likable Australian Washburn with cool glasses. If Felix takes a step foward, mixes things up(which he didn't do that well today) and doesn't go Rocco Siffredi on the fastball and Bedard can keep his girl parts clean we'll have the best 1-2 punch outside of Rocky Bernard.

If you get a couple drinks of regression towards the mean this rotation looks downright fuckable. But reality can knock the beer goggles right off and hopes of greatness can disappear in an instant.

A bunch of live arms, most of whom have trouble throwing strikes but should still be rather effective. Morrow and his insulin pump are now the closer(that still pains me to type). Last year's #1 draft pick, Josh Fields, will join the club sometime later this summer adding to the BP depth.

Line Up:
C: Johjima
1B: Branyan
2B: Lopez
SS: Betancourt
3B: Beltre
LF: Chavez/Balentien
CF: Gutierrez
RF: Ichiro
DH: Griffey

Nothing too intimidating here and yet it should be a shit ton better than last year's line up. Not giving at-bats to black holes of suck like Vidro, Sexson, and Cairo can only help. If this line-up doesn't give you confidence, that's alright. This line-up doesn't do much for me either. But having and actual DH and 1st base bats is a nice change. That said we're not gonna be the Sox or Yankees with run scoring. This is definitely not our strong suit.

This is the area that the 2009 M's are the most different from their '08 mouth breathing breathren. When Ichiro comes back the M's will run out three CF to roam the expansive Safeco outfield. Where last year Raul IbaƱez seemed to almost magically push balls away from him through a force field of suck, Endy Chavez will catch damn near anything over the 3rd baseman's head. Sure, on occasion they'll let Griffey out of his DH cage and let him roam left. But for the sake of his and the fans' health he will probably DH far more often than he fields. Also gone is Big Suxy, who despite his freakish frame was an abysmal defensive first baseman.

Defense helps pitching espescially in Safeco field. Flyballers like Washburn and RRS will benefit the most from this paradigm shift. Hell look at the 2001-2003 rotations. Not a true ace in the lot. You had tools like Aaron Sele and John Halama win 15+ games. They never topped those feats. Why due to defense!

Solid Pitching, meh Offense, and spectacular defense will be the hallmark of this M's team. Along with most other smart people on the interwebs I'm predicting about 70-80 games and a chance to compete for the AL west which is Terry Schaivo weak. Hopefully my predictions come true and we can put the nightmare 2008 season behind us. If not it'll be another long season spent waiting for the hope of football to save us.

Some fool might ask something like "Well if the Mariners end up sucking and the Sounders FC keeps on winning won't you be forced to accept soccer?" The answer to this fuckwit is a resounding "Get fucked. Nobody likes soccer!"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Seriously, fuck me running!!!! According to sworn enemy of the blog Geoff Baker things done changed. Phillipe Aumont, the M's 2007 #1 draft pick, is now being converted to a full-time reliever. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!
This is a terrible idea!!!!! Words fail me to express how terrible of an idea Aumont in the pen really is.

The M's will now have used their last three first round picks on starters in Morrow, Fields, and now Aumont. This is after Zduriencik put together a, probably, passable bullpen out of spare parts. Which is the exact type of thing the A's have been doing for years. Taking FAILED starters and making them bullpen studs and flipping them for picks has been incredibly successful for them. It is an amazing waste of talent to move potential starters to the pen.

This move also really sucks because, unless Zduriencik makes some crazy move or we magically manage to draft Strasburg, our rotation past this year looks Olsen twin thin. Bastista and Washburn are gone. So, most likely is Bedard. That leaves the rotation with Felix, Silva who, despite his girth, only counts as one pitcher and RRS. Which is one good pitcher and two marginal ones. Gone are the innocent days where dreams of Felix, Morrow, Aumont led rotations floated happily through my head. In this post-apocalyptic rotation reality there is no hope, no hope, no hope, no hope at all.

The move shakes my faith in Zduriencik to it's very core. There is no good reason to make Aumont a reliever. NONE! I don't care if there is a chance he may not become a starter. Oh well, let him FUCKING TRY FIRST. If he can't hack starting then have him be a reliever. To just move him to the pen when he's only TWENTY FUCKING YEARS OLD is incredibly short sighted!!!

Let's not leave out Zduriekcik's reasoning on the move.
"We felt that this was a guy, who, if used in a relief role, could be on a real fast-track to the major leagues,'' he said. "And we're talking a real fast track.''

and according to Baker
Zduriencik said that when you look at Aumont's size, most notably his 6-foot-7 height, it lends itself to being a top-of-the-line reliever.

Yes, because he is 6'7" that means he is perfectly suited to come out of the bullpen. WHAT KIND OF TRIG PALIN REASONING IS THAT?!

I'm not sure what else to say. I'm stunned. I can only hope this is some sort of sick joke. This is not the news I was hoping to hear less than 24 hours before the start of the new season. I feel like Brad Pitt at the end of Seven and I just found out Aumont's head is in the box.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ichiro: Seattle's Newest Superheroin

So the bad news just keeps rolling in, first Clement to AAA and then Morrow to the pen now it seems Ichiro will now start off the season on the 15-day disabled list due to a bleeding ulcer. I'm not sure what I have done to upset the sports gods, but I will drink heavily in their honor in attempts to make it up.

Not only will Ichiro miss the opening road trip but he'll miss the home opener too. Despite his normally sluggish hitting in April the team could have used him healthy to try to build a lead over the injury ravaged Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim(dumbest team name ever? dumbest team name ever) to start the season. Now M's fans must watch the spectacle of a one legged man(Griffey) attempt to play the outfield. That thought is giving me an ulcer.

Fear not though sports fans. Modern medicine has advanced the treatment of the condition that ended the lives of luminaries like J.R.R Tolkien and James Joyce, to a minor inconvenience. With a little rest the treatment should take care of the ulcer in no time and The M's will have a healthy Ichiro for the rest of the season. The hard part will being convincing Ichiro he needs that rest.

Even if Ichiro decides to push it to come back early and the problem lingers he can always self-medicate. I know Seattle's smack reserves aren't what they once were but he should still manage to score some horse. If he does that Ichiro'll be able to manage the pain of a festering wound inside his stomach.

Hey, it worked for Kurt Cobain!