Friday, January 28, 2005

Pitching Update 

Bob Finnigan moves away from rumor mongering about Mike Cameron (the most substantive statement was "baseball sources say the Mariners might get involved in a bid"), to an actual job of reporting news, as he updates the state of the Seattle pitching staff. More importantly, he quotes actual Mariner sources like Bill Bavasi, Benny Looper, and Lee Pelekoudas. Way to go, Bob! Here's a smattering of Mariner news and links from the past two days.

Good News
Joel Pineiro and Eddie Guardado are working out and throwing and seem to be coming back fine from injury.

Bucky Jacobsen's knee injury was more serious than at first thought. Trainer Rick Griffin says "the doctor went inside the knee and found the divot to be twice as big as the MRI showed". But he is now in a full rehab program and back in the batting cages.

Rafael Soriano "could pitch in the majors in July, if [his rehab] continues to go smoothly", according to Griffin. "It's usually 12 to 15 months to come back, but he might be able to do it in 11."

Pat Gillick chimed in with praise for the signing of Cuban shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. "He's a good one... Our guys did a good job to get him for us." Notably, this is only the second major league contract the Mariners have ever given to a player with no pro experience. The first was Alex Rodriguez.

Nice little interview with Matt Thornton on bigleaguers.com. When asked what his next baseball goal was, Thornton replied "To stay put. I want to get acclimated to the bullpen as a left-handed reliever and set-up guy. My other goal is to help this team win in 2005."

Mike Cameron thinks that Don Baylor can work wonders with Pokey Reese. "I'm telling you: When he gets with Don Baylor, that's going to be a blessing in itself."

One of the few free things left at ESPN is Jayson Stark and he says that the Mariners are the third most improved team this offseason, following the Mets and Marlins. "Now, if anybody can pitch, this team could boomerang from 99 losses right back to contention." No question about it. When the M's pitching bounces back in 2005, the M's will be right back in contention.

Jeremy Reed doesn't expect to be handed the starting job in centerfield. The Everett Herald article reminds us that Jeremy Reed was supposed to be the White Sox starting centerfielder on Opening Day last year, too. "Last year, everybody was saying it was my big opportunity to make the team, but I had a bad spring," Reed said. "Now I'm in the same situation, and hopefully I can learn from that." Reed thinks that he showed what he can do with a .392 average in Septmeber while the M's went 9-3 in his 12 starts. But for now, he is saying all the right things, like "I have to go into spring training with the approach that I've got a job to win."

Bad News
Rett Johnson, Aaron Looper, Clint Nageotte, and Travis Blackley are coming off injuries and are expected to be brought along slowly.

The Mets are looking to deal Mike Cameron, and Bob Finnigan has made this a discussion point for Seattle fans. If we can turn Scott Spiezio and Randy Winn into Mike Cameron, should we do it? I love Mike Cameron, but I still have to say "No." We are unlikely to find a better bench hitter than Spiezio, and the deal takes away a tradeable commodity in Winn without dramatically improving anything other than centerfield defense. Throw in Cameron's injured hand, and it seems too risky to me. Leone For Third reminds us not to be worried about Cammie's or anyone's strikeouts.

Pedro Astacio is apparently seeking a major league contract for $2 million dollars and the M's will not go there. I still hope we can bring him in with an incentive-laden minor league contract, but won't be holding my breath. The Rangers still seem like a likely destination as a team with money to spend (so long Carlos Delgado), and lots of opportunity in their rotation.

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