As a weird aside, apparently, I can post lengthy bits of text into the subject line on this site – as in, the entirety of this post. Who knew?
It is times like these when I am thankful for my inability and lack of desire to really know a lot of the numbers and analysis. So far, Spring Training has been a bit of a bust for the Seattle Mariners. Unlike last year, though, I’m not getting all crazy about it. We do have some issues, though. In no particular order;
- Erik Bedard – a fantastic starting pitcher who has been injured since last year, continues to be injured this year, and whose throwing sessions are currently being delayed because the team wants to take it easy and baby his progress. With Bedard, this is totally understandable. Aggravating, but understandable.
- Cliff Lee – a fantastic starting pitcher who has been injured in the past, and is injured now with the type of injury that doesn’t just go away on its own, and may not for quite some time. Oh, yeah, also he’s suspended for 5 games for a pitch at Chris Snyder’s head, which he says was an accident, but after watching video of it, I’m not so sure.
- Ken Griffey Jr – an aging veteran with a Spring Training batting average hovering far below Mendoza that I think a lot of us want to believe in, but are still not quite sure It is not my opinion, incidentally, that the resigning of KGJ was a “PR stunt”. I highly doubt our front office would do something so obtuse, while they are so terribly vocal to the fanbase about winning games. They see something there that the rest of us don’t. Besides, PR stunts don’t win games. Ask Eddie Gaedel.
- Milton Bradley – a player who has been targeted by umpires in the past for his aggressive behavior, and will likely continue to be targeted in the future. A player who insists he’s not going to change because he’s “gotten this far”. This is not a slam on Bradley at all; it’s fact. He said it. I refuse to jump on the Hate-Milton-Bradley bandwagon, but am full willing to acknowledge that it may cause us problems. I’ll leave it at that.
- Jack Hannahan – a serviceable utility guy who has a groin injury (what is going on in that clubhouse that there are so many groin injuries this year?!) that will keep him off the field past Opening Day. Instead? Our options are Matt Tuiasosopo and Josh Wilson. I am fans of both, but Dave Cameron is right. They might want to examine other alternatives here. No, I don’t know who – though Chad Gaudin* and Jayson Nix’s names have popped up in the past 24 hours – but our middle infield on the third base side is looking kind of scary these days.
- Our rotation. With Lee out (and hence #2 gone), we have one sure spot. One. When the only bright spot in spring so far outside of Felix Hernandez has been Jason Vargas, you might be in a little trouble.
Did I miss anything? There are assorted other minor injuries that are nothing serious according to the club, and as far as I can tell, everyone will be ready for Opening Day in less than two weeks. Bedard I almost don’t count because while he would be an immense asset to us this year, we all knew he wasn’t going to be ready by the beginning of the season anyway. The bullpen bothers me a little bit, but with Kanekoa “Please-Don’t-Go-Back-to-New-York” Texeira and Brandon League stepping up, and Mark Lowe and Shawn Kelley being Mark Lowe and Shawn Kelley, maybe things aren’t as terrible as they appear at first glance. I’m going with that for now.
If Spring Training truly is all about feeling out the competition rather than playing games as Griffey stipulates in the article linked above, then all our troubles should go away the minute some little kid in Oakland yells “Play ball!” on April 5th. Right? Hello?
EDIT: I did forget something, though truly more out of a sense of it not being necessary to address, rather than actually forgetting it. Rob Johnson. I think I forgot about him because my heart already belongs to Adam Moore. But Felix’s doesn’t, so RJ will still be around, at least for a little while.
EDIT 2: The Chad Gaudin thing may have been someone making a dry joke I didn’t quite get that early in the morning. Failed to register. But it’s my mistake, and I’ll own it. Gaudin is a pitcher. Yes, I’m an idiot.