I have had a lot going on over the past 48 hours – Tom left for some shows in Texas and Mexico, and I found out that I would be hosting the family Christmas this year, so baseball has not been my top priority; I’ve actually spent most of my day today insuring that my house looks – inside and outside – like the bastard child of Las Vegas and WalMart. But yesterday was the deadline to tender contracts, and it looks like we have some not-very-great news. In my opinion, at least.
So our guys that were needing contracts offered to them were, in no particular order, Jose Lopez, Ryan Rowland-Smith, David Aardsma, Brandon League, Josh Wilson, Jason Vargas, Ryan Langerhans, and Casey Kotchman. We all already know that Lopi did indeed find a home with the Colorado Rockies, and I’m glad for him. It will be strange to see him in the purple pinstripes, but I wish him well.
The big disappointment is that Ryan Rowland-Smith was not offered a contract – rather, he was offered a deal, but under the club’s terms. Hyphen – quite understandably – declined. I’m sure that there exist some Aussie-haters out there in the Mariners universe, but frankly, I don’t know a single one of them. Everyone I know loves RRS, regardless of his struggles for us last year. He’s possibly one of the nicest, most accessible players in the game, and even with the 140-character limit of Twitter, one gets the very distinct impression that he cares about the game, the fans, and his career in a way that separates him from some other larger stars who may take their positions in the game for granted. I hope he bounces back in 2011, and finds a team with fans that will love him as much as we do – he works his ass off, and he deserves to do well in this sport.
The head-scratcher of yesterday’s deadline was the offer of a one-year contract-with-strings to Erik Bedard. I am hoping that this was done because Bedard has healed or will heal soon. But there are a lot of people who are not happy about this, and I am one of them. As I have said several times, I like Bedard. I really do. Seeing him pitch healthy in 2009 from the 6th row over the first baseline was a treat, one that I’ll also remember (as much for his performance as for the fact that it was an oppressive 90 degrees with only a 2 MPH breeze coming off the Sound). But is this really what we want to do? I feel like Charlie Brown, with Bedard’s Lucy pulling the ball out from under me every time. If you compare Bedard’s near invisibility from both the minors and the major league club this last year with Ryan Rowland-Smith’s contributions to both the Ms and Rainiers, it hardly seems fair, or logical. I like the guy, but I feel like we’re continuing to fight an un-winnable war here.
Perplexing, too, to a lot of folks is the retaining of Josh Wilson. There seem to be two camps – either you love Wilson, or you really don’t. As usual with stuff like this, I sit about in the middle. Without looking at numbers, I generally view him as a passable bench or injury fill-in player; but the numbers prove me wrong, and I can accept that. I am likely using the awfulness of the 2010 Mariners as a gauge. This is wrong and sad, but at least I can admit it.
We don’t have a choice here, we just have to sit back and take it – but I no longer feel all that comfortable with the way things are being done, and these moves are disappointing. I have to assume, since I have not heard otherwise, that the others on the above list have been offered some sort of deal, or something is in the works to get them dealt. The whole situation is a little bittersweet for me, and while I am still trying to figure out a way to afford my 16-game plan for 2011, the offseason just hasn’t piqued much of my interest so far this year.