This offseason has been nothing like last year’s. I occasionally find myself forgetting that baseball exists. I know, that’s a terrible thing to say, but whereas last year was filled with rejoicing and happiness at the moves the front office chose to make, this year has been more of a ‘waiting to exhale’ sort of thing. I keep wondering what, if anything will happen. I know the winter meetings haven’t even happened yet, but it’s been difficult to keep my enthusiasm up. Dustin Ackley being the King of Fall Ball gives me hope for the future, but I’m an instant gratification kind of girl, I need something a little more concrete with the big club.
And with that, it appears I get a little bit of my wish granted. It appears that Jose Lopez will be non-tendered this year. It was obviously going to happen, and I am not in the least surprised. I will miss Lopez in the sense that he’s always been a Mariner to me – but this has been a long time coming, and I’m totally OK with the decision. Fortunately for Lopi, the Colorado Rockies are rumored to have a little interest in him, so maybe he’ll find a spot in the NL somewhere and can continue playing. I find his story outside of baseball compelling, but it is time for us to say our goodbyes within the game in Seattle. I wish him nothing but the best. If he winds up in Colorado, he’ll certainly have the proper weather conditions to bring back his home run totals.
George Sherrill is another player who has been non-tendered. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to him through his shift from Baltimore to Los Angeles, but a quick online check shows a bad season and an inflated ERA. Sherrill is 33 now, and likely still has some arm left. I’d be totally happy to see him come back here for a while. Our bullpen could do better, but it could also do much worse. I’d love to see him in Mariners colors again. Because I want it, though, it likely won’t happen. I should keep quiet about stuff like that.
Vladimir Guerrero is also running around loose, technically free of his bonds to Texas. Part of me is hesitant because Guerrero always looks like he’s just about to fall apart and scatter into a bunch of pieces on the base path. But the fan part of me just knows that regardless of how injured he might appear, more of that aggressive, terrifying swing is still waiting for the 2011 season to start. Like a hibernating bear. A bloodthirsty, murderous hibernating bear. Guerrero’s problem is that he is looking for a multi-year deal, and from what I understand, that is something that Texas is possibly not all that willing to provide. I don’t see the Mariners providing it either, I just dream of a day when we have a designated hitter who can hit. And keep in mind, too, that the Rangers made it through the playoffs and to the World Series while occasionally using Vlad in right field. His awkward fielding might not make it in SafeCo, but the fact that he’s a DH who can still passably field in an emergency is in his favor as far as I’m concerned. It’s a pipe dream, I know.
The Mariners have a tight budget this year, so we’re likely not really in the free agent market, but if the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that you never know what Jack Zduriencik is going to pull out of his sleeve. It looks like my tradition of fearing the worst and hoping for the best will continue.