Monday, July 11, 2005

Spanking the Monkey 

Nothing can be quite so sweet as taking a broom to those monkey-dung-flinging Angels.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Betancourt Making Waves 

Today's PI has a feature article on the defensive prowess and future of Yuniesky Betancourt. He's been with Tacoma for all of 34 games, but he already has his manager, Dan Rohn, spewing superlatives.
"He's one of the best shortstops I've seen. Ever. I compare him to Ozzie Smith. I know that's putting a lot of pressure on him, but instincts-wise, he's one of the best I've ever seen.

"There's not a lot we can do for him. Just let him play. I'm not smart enough to help him. He's too good.

"He's fun to watch. Bottom line."

His offensive stats in Tacoma are not awe-inspiring (284/302/425 in AAA), but they offer more promise than 2005 defensive wizards Wilson Valdez and Pokey Reese. My favorite enterprising predictor, Dr. Detecto, sees a clear comparison between Betancourt and the offensive prowess of Alfonso Soriano.

So, we have raves over his defense, and promise of his offense. I know I'm intrigued.

The Mariners have an interesting decision with what to do with Yuiesky Betancourt. I haven't seen it written much, but I noted his contract details in my blog entry on his signing.
Seattle is giving him a $1.31 million signing bonus and salaries of $316,000 this year, $350,000 in 2006, $400,000 in 2007 and $450,000 in 2008. In addition, his 2008 salary could rise by as much as an additional $700,000 if he has 1,000 plate appearances in the previous three years... If Betancourt accumulates enough service time by the end of the 2007 season to become eligible for salary arbitration. 2008 would be voided.

When he signed, most of us ignored the fine print, thinking there was no WAY that Betancourt could possibly be a super-two arbitration guy by the end of 2007. But if he were called up at, say, the All-Star Break, he probably would be, and instead of growing his $400K salary to $1.1 million, he might grow it even further.

I don't think it is going to affect the M's decision to promote him at all, but I am impressed that both sides thought that this was a realistic enough possibility to include it in the contract talks.

I note that in the past I always saw his contract listed as 4-year, $2.8 or 2.9 million, but in the PI it is listed as 4-year, $3.6 million. Look for this to be the beginning of a trend. It sounds like people are starting to believe he may be our starting shortstop for the next couple of years.

I will be watching the Futures Game over All-Star Weekend closely, as this may be the only chance this Texan gets to watch our future Gold Glover before he debuts for the Mariners later this year (September?).

Getting Back on Track 

I apologize for my lack of posting over the past three weeks. I just met a project deadline at work while simultaneously moving into a newly built house. If you've ever had to go through two crunch times like that at the same time, you'll understand why I had to let the blog go for a few weeks.

During this downtime, its been my displeasure to see the M's reeling falling to 16 1/2 games behind the Angles at the hands of the Oakland A's, Texas Freakin Rangers and, ulp, Kansas City Royals.

It has been a dark time for the Mariners, and a particularly bad time for your Mariner Optimist to be off the job. So let me get back into posting and see if we can find the light at the end of this storm of suckitude.

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