Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Just a quick note to follow up on a few recent topics.

The USS Mariner continues to act as the Yankees of the M's blogosphere, offering the big contract to all the best free agents. Yes, Blog Consolidation continues, as Jeff Shaw and Peter White, formerly of Mariner Musings, have joined the crew at USS Mariner. Jeff and Peter are my favorite "writers" in the blogosphere, as they obviously know how to turn a phrase, tell a story, and even bring in obscure references, which is just as obviously not my forte. I'm a software engineer whose minimal writing talents are at their best when analyzing or reporting a story, not telling one. USS Mariner should only become better from their addition, and they will continue to be the favorites to win the Blogosphere Series.

Meanwhile, it sounds like Jason may be leaving the site soon which would be a shame. Stay tuned. Shockingly, the boys at USS Mariner have not even so much as extended an invitation to your Mariner Optimist, who thinks of himself as, well, the Mariners of the blogosphere, of course. I might have my crappy entries, but occasionally a gem comes out that keeps my loyal fanbase coming back! Now, if I could just get through the 80's...

By the way, when are we going to get the ladies' perspective in the Mariners blogosphere? Where is Miss Mariner? One of the more entertaining baseball blogs has to be the Twins blog Bat-Girl, whose byline is "Less Stats, More Sass." Ladies, the blogosphere awaits!

On to Felix...
Another Twins blog, Seth Speaks, did a nice little summary of the pros and cons of an early callup of Felix Hernandez. As Seth writes, the closest comparible player to Felix might be a young Dwight Gooden. All I can say to that is "Bring it on!"

I had the misfortune of moving from Seattle to New Jersey in 1982, and decided to adopt the pathetic New York Mets as my favorite National League team at that time. As a result, I got the pleasure of religiously following a young Dwight Gooden when he was called up as a 19 year old in 1984. Gooden was ridiculously nasty. Great fastball and knee-buckling curve. I used to be rooted to the TV on days he would pitch as he was a joy to watch. His Cy Young year as a 20 year old in 1985 had just obnoxious statistics: In 35 games spanning 276 2/3 innings, he struck out 268 and walked just 69 batters. He was 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA!!! For those who think we should "develop" Felix in preparation for a 2006 title run, that is what a year of development in the big leagues did for a young Dwight Gooden.

Unfortunately for Gooden, drug abuse destroyed what should have been a Hall of Fame career. So, we need to surround King Felix with good influences like Jamie Moyer and Dan Wilson, rather than say, Darryl Strawberry. It looks like Mariner fans may get the rare opportunity of watching the emergence of a superstar. And maybe as soon as April. I'm giddy with excitement. And that's from someone who has never used the word "giddy" to describe himself before.

Jeff Nelson has officially signed a minor league contract with the Mariners. I can't do anything about your opinion if you think he betrayed the M's by speaking out against M's management, or if he should be in jail for his bullpen brawling, or even for just having been a Yankee. But if you don't think he can make the 2005 Mariners better, then I have to disagree.

Sure, Nelson had a poor, injury plagued 2004 with the Texas Rangers. But the 38-year-old's curve still has wicked bite, and his peripheral numbers have showed no signs of decline until last year.

His K's per game over the last four years, starting with his amazing 2001?
12.12, 10.84, 11.06, 8.37
Strikeout to walk ratio?
2.00, 2.04, 2.83, 1.16
OPS against?
.492, .669, .679, .679

Essentially, last year his dominance was down a tad, and he walked a few more batters. But otherwise, he's the same Jeff Nelson he has been over the past decade as one of the best setup men in the game. And the M's risked a minor league contract to see if last year showed a trend to decline, or was just an injury-induced (or legal-issue-distracted) speed bump on a steady studly career.

The competition for righties in the bullpen comes from J.J. Putz, Shiggy Hasegawa, and Scott Atchison. None of these three have more upside than Jeff Nelson. And even if all three beat out Nelson, Jeff provides depth in case Eddie Guardado or another pitcher gets injured. This was simply another in a series of great signings from Bill Bavasi.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?