I have been listening to the new-and-improved (I think, anyway), Brock and Salk show in the mornings, followed up by The Michael Gray show. This makes my mornings at work go a ton faster, and it has made Seattle sports radio a lot more fun than it was. After Mike Salk departed for Boston a few years ago, ESPN sort of lost its luster for me; not because of Salk specifically, but because his leaving basically “broke up the band”, destroying a radio show that I just adored a few years ago. When working in the engineering department for Todd Shipyards, and then going to school, that show kept me sane. After they took the show off the air, I stopped listening to ESPN on any sort of regular basis, and started to feel very disconnected from the world of sports, particularly baseball. Brock and Salk talk about the Mariners with both a seriousness and lighthearted humor that you really only find in a fanbase itself, and made baesball fun to think about, regardless of how the team was doing at the time. So I was elated to find out that duo were coming back to the airwaves starting Monday of this week, and have been listening every day. I have enjoyed Gray as well, but am not as familiar with him just yet. So far so good, though! Makes the first five hours of work really breezy.
The most recent talk lighting everyone up, of course, are the rumors of the Mariners possibly obtaining both David Price and Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays. The baseball fan in me sort of winces; Price and Zobrist have always been Rays, and it seems wrong to take them away from Tampa for 1) sooooo much money, and 2) possibly short-term (I am talking like a year or two, though admittedly I am not sure what either player’s contract situation is, currently). But the Mariners fan in me is all about throwing as much cash and as many prospects at this problem as possible. I realize that is a very knee-jerk reaction to the rumor, and that there are many things to be considered here outside of the desire to winwinwin, but man do I really want to winwinwin right now.
So clearly for such a large deal, we need to consider what the trade would entail on our end. The names that have been brought up include Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, DJ Peterson, and I have even heard James Paxton’s, Justin Smoak’s, and Dustin Ackley’s names being tossed into the mix from various sources (fans, mainly), along with Brad Miller’s (on a personal note, nooooooooooo!!!) The Rays aren’t stupid, though, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a team that would take a look at either Ackley or Smoak and hand over two major pieces like that, without a lot of other chips being thrown on the pile as well; and then at that point, you’re just giving guys away for free, really, and there is no point in adding Ackley or Smoak to the deal, and we’re still stuck with them and vice versa. Then again, this is just my impression from a Mariners standpoint; there are a lot of our ex-players who have found new life on other teams because those teams saw something we didn’t or got lucky. You never know. Hear that, Tampa?! You never know!
In any event, a lot of feathers are being ruffled in a positive way, seeing the possibilities that might come with a Price/Felix/Iwakuma rotation (or a Felix/Price/Kuma rotation, or whatever combination you want to throw them into the mix in), and I have to admit it’s ridiculously tempting to just give up prospects for this….
The above paragraphs were written on my earlier break. I have now had the opportunity to finish listening to the Michael Gray show before lunch, and he had Scott Weber from Lookout Landing on to talk a little bit about the rumors floating around. Weber’s on-air assessment featured something I had been mentally tossing around earlier today, but due to the nature of how I am having to write this while on breaks at work didn’t get around to actually saying; that a Price/Zobrist deal now could actually mean being all in for 2015. I harbor no illusions that this Mariners team is going to the World Series. I believe they will come out above .500, and might even make a go at the division title, depending on what moves the front office makes in the next few weeks, but I just don’t think that we make it past Oakland at this point in the year, and the Angels are reportedly heating up lately, with Mike Trout going nuts all over the place, so it would be a very difficult thing for us to do in 2014. But next year? A Price/Zobrist deal could definitely tip our hand.
Look, I’m as tired as anyone of the next year, next year mantra, but we are finally in a place where it might actually be true. Not Cliff Lee true, but for really real true. And while some others don’t have a lot of faith in Jack Zduriencik, I think we might actually finally be seeing returns on what he promised us when he came onto the scene in 2009. The main problem might be the fact that Price is largely thought to have an anti-Mariners trade clause, but perhaps if we show him that we are absolutely serious about this move, he might change his mind? Seattle’s really not a terrible place, Mr Price, and we’ll love you like one of our own!
We shall see what has to happen. I am hoping it happens sooner rather than later, so that the fans know that Zduriencik is serious (and the team knows it too), and my fingers are crossed – as always – for the best possible outcome. Better writers than I have claimed that we now have something we haven’t had for a long long time; hope. I think I’m feeling it a little bit, too, finally. Now let’s play ball!