thoughts on the Mariners, MLB draft, and more homelinksdraftabout me

Beyond Howard and Chuck

It's easy to find folks ripping apart the M's right now. The M's make it too easy, with all the losses and a manager like Eric Wedge quitting before he can be fired. Mind you, Wedge insisted on finishing his tenure in Cleveland after he was fired, and was given the chance to do that. Eric Wedge isn't a quitter, to say the least, but something happened in Seattle that made him do that.

Personally, I had grown tired of the way Wedge used his bullpen. I also wonder if his constant mantras about working and grinding inhibited the production of guys like Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Jesus Montero. I don't see much room to grind out hits if you are a good hitter spraying the ball around the ballpark. Then you're just getting good hits. Maybe the players internalize grinding differently than I do though.

So I am stuck in an awkward place as a fan. Maybe you are too. One one hand, woohoo! New manager on the way! Lots of money to spend in the offseason! Young players doing interesting things! On the other hand...the manager just quit...the young players have lots of room for growth...what manager will take a job from a GM in the final year of his deal...what player would want to come to Seattle right now?

Pessimism reigns supreme, thanks to another losing season that extends the M's current run on irrelevance. It's natural to point fingers at suspected culprits, and when the players, coaches, and front office executives completely cycle through without the on-field product changing all that much, it's pretty obvious the fingers will point at the folks not moving around.

Ownership. Or, in the case of the Mariners, the chairmen who represent the ownership, Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong.

I don't know if I have much of meaning to say. I don't know how much Lincoln and Armstrong do (or don't) interact with the M's players and leadership. I'm not exactly sure what it means to be a good sports owner, either. Something seems systemically dysfunctional with the Mariners, given how much they've lost over an extended period of time, but pointing at ownership without solid reasons besides screaming, more or less, "I'M TIRED OF LOSING GO AND FIX IT BECAUSE YEAH" isn't very productive. The problem is likely more complicated than ownership, and I'll my case with a couple simple examples.

Zduriencik Staying

Well, lo and behold it has been over a month and a half since I posted! This was mainly caused by two forces:

1) Moving/new full time job. The major life transitions put the blog on a hold for a bit. But then again...

2) What exactly was there to write about in the last month and a half?

It's hard to separate one from the other. The Mariners know how to bury their very existence in the dog days of August, followed by irrelevant Septembers. 40+ year-old Raul Ibanez chasing down 40+ year-old Ted Williams is pretty cool, and I'm rooting for one more dinger, but that's about it as far as newsworthy things I feel I've missed in the past month and a half or so. That and Taijuan Walker's MLB debut I suppose. But there we go! All caught up. That wasn't hard, for better and for worse.*

*Mostly worse. The Seahawks and their relevant games have reminded me just how irrelevant the Mariners are right now. Sigh.

Today a few newsworthy items broke about the Mariners, one piece of news clearly better than the other. We'll start with the bad. Danny Hultzen's shoulder is apparently ailing again, and the M's team doctor thinks his labrum is torn. Hultzen will get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, a legendary sports doctor who doubles as the grim reaper for pitching arms. This story isn't likely heading for a happy ending.

So, on to the better news! Jack Zduriencik is staying for another year! You can't deny that Z staying is better than the impending doom around Hultzen at the moment, but there is a pretty wide margin on just how much better the news might be. Many (including yours truly) have soured some on Z, and as 2013 comes to a close it's easier to see a dark rain cloud than the silver lining that might lurk beyond it.

Decide which narrative seems more likely...