Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mariners... Cliff Lee... Damn!

I've been a fan of the Seattle Mariners since they fired it up in 1977. Thirty-three seasons. They've finished with a winning record just 11 times, and seven of those were during the magical Lou Piniella years. It took the M's 15 years before they even had a winning season, the spectacular 1991 campaign when they went 83-79 under the leadership of Jim Lefebvre. That was the summer when my Sweetie, the official scorer, arrived in town from Southern California. Coincidence? I think not. I know that the immortal Scott Bradley would always get a hit if I visited the concession stand when he was up that season. I should have bought more beer, considering he batted .203. But his SLG was .244. So, hey.

In all of those seasons I've never had anything close to the positive vibe about the M's that I got today when I first heard the news that the deal rumored for the last several days was official, that the M's had dealt a handful of decent but hardly blue-chip prospects to Philadelphia for Cliff Lee.

What the hell? This is the Seattle Mariners! We're far more used to dealing Jason Varitek AND Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Frickin' Slocumb. Suddenly we're dealing three OK prospects for a dude two months removed from the World Series, in which he beat the evil Yanks twice, and a year removed from the A.L. Cy Young Award? These are not Bill Bavasi's M's. The combination of Lee and Felix Hernandez, while it may lack the poetry of Spahn and Sain, is one hell of a one-two punch, and certainly light years ahead of what the Mariners have EVER had at the top of the rotation. Can you remember who was second banana to Randy Johnson all of those years? Didn't think so. Even in the do-no-wrong, refuse-to-lose, fantasy year of 2001, when the M's improbably won 116 games, can you tell me who the pitchers were? Jamie Moyer, back when he was a mere 38 years old, led the staff at 20-6, and workhorse Freddy Garcia went 18-6. Paul Abbott--who?--yes, Paul Abbott went 17-4, and Aaron Sele was 15-5. John Halama, who didn't even like baseball, was the fifth starter and won 10 games.

With Felix and Lee, we might go 57-8 over those 65 starts. You don't need to do much in the other 97 games to go somewhere.

This is about the second time we've ever stolen a player. The first time was when even George Costanza knew that we'd robbed the evil Yankees by shipping them Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner, who may well have been the most important piece (OK, after Edgar) of all of those good teams of the late '90s.

There's still the small matter of the offense. Right now we have really no idea who is going to play LF or 1B, and if you go into the season with Jose Lopez penciled in as your cleanup hitter, then that's not a happy recipe for success. Opening day, however, is still nearly four months away. I have a feeling Jack Zduriencik may know what he's doing.


Sweetie the Official Scorer said...

Not so fast. Lee is grumpy about leaving Philly and coming here, and we just signed Bradley. I always knew we'd get stuck with him, I just knew it. Are we paying Griffey enough to be babysitter and den mother?

Weisenheimer said...

You're my sweetie, an official scorer, and a pessimist!

Lisa said...

I'm thrilled about Lee.....not so thrilled about Milton Bradley.