Geoff Baker’s post from yesterday, regarding Jose Lopez as a non-Mariner in 2010.
Larry LaRue’s post from this morning, citing non-interest from other teams in Lopez.
In another corner and just for kicks, Dave Cameron’s post from last week pointing out Lopez’s lack of strike identification.
What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. I’m not slagging on any of the articles, I’m saying that until the roster is finalized, I’m not going to worry about it. I probably should worry about it, because Lopez’ lagging range at second really does bother me, and if he truly can’t ID strikes (a strategy that seems to have worked for him in the past, but likely won’t for very much longer), then we are in trouble at second for 2010. I am under the impression that 2010 is the year Jack Zduriencik and company attempt to get serious about contending, and I’m not 100% convinced that Lopez is in those plans, regardless of whether or not there are other teams interested in him.
At the same time, I’m a little bummed about the idea of losing him, because Lopez has a lot of heart. He’s had a touching story the last few years, with his 25 or so home runs, and his lengthy at-bats that more often than not resulted in some improbable hit, and the blows to his family, and the fact that he has still struggled on and just played the game. He’s played the game despite everything going on around him, despite the guy in Florida who wouldn’t give him back home run 25, despite taking a lot of criticism from fans regarding his performance, despite his inability to recognize strikes. He had to split his infield spot with Matt Tuiasosopo during the last month of the season, and I don’t remember hearing any complaining. If he is not in Mariner blue next year, I’ll understand, but I’ll also miss him a little.
I think this may get more difficult as the offseason wears on. On the practical side, we need to buckle down and get serious for 2010. We need offense in a bad way without sacrificing our defensive factors. But losing some of the 2009 team is going to sting a little because regardless of our third place standing, our one-run games, our falling contention during the last half of the season, the 2009 Mariners were something special, and the guys that made up that team were a combination we may never see again. I can only hope that the next combination is something far more special, though it might completely blow my mind if that happened. Perhaps I need to prepare for that eventuality?