Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Blackjack on the M's 

Jack McDowell has his picks on the AL West out, and while he mistakenly picks the Angels over the M's, he does have good things to say about your Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners had the most quietly productive winter of anyone in baseball. They didn't add any glossy names. They didn't defer any salary issues. Heck, they even lost their closer, Kazuhiro Sasaki, back to Japan. But they did add a group of gamers to an already classy group of winners.

"Quietly productive", "gamers", "classy group of winners" are quotes I love, but that others in the blogosphere might try to pick apart. Ibanez, Spiezio, Aurilia and Guardado are gonna be great fits for the M's.

If you lose your closer and want to get the game's gutsiest to replace him, there is no better fit than Guardado. Now Shigetoshi Hasegawa can move back to setting up even though he filled in nicely last season as interim closer. Losing Rhodes is a blow to the pen, but Villone will fill in nicely. He may not be as dominant, but outs are outs. Rich Aurilia, Scott Spiezio, Randy Winn are good scrappers.

And he doesn't even mention Rafael Soriano. Our bullpen will be great, and with Villone and Soriano we have two very good options if something should happen to a starter.

The biggest move by the M's was not trading Garcia. There has been a lot of back and forth on this guy, and he may not be the exact fit for this team. But his stuff is No. 1-starter quality and then some. He is the type of pitcher that can carry a team for stretches during the season and in the playoffs. He's the type of guy you need to stick with through good or bad and hope the good turns to great.

Freddy Garcia is our number 3 pitcher heading into 2004. If he gets back on track we may have one of the best rotations in baseball.

Thanks to Steven Hare for pointing me to this article. We now return to our regularly scheduled efforts to win the company March Madness pool (and maybe the one the S&Bs are doing as well).

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