Friday, January 29, 2010

Tigers and Verlander continue to chat about long term deal

Why does this Mariner fan care about Justin Verlander?  Because he is good!  I have followed Verlander just before he was first called up and have not been disappointed.  Yes, he was on my fantasy roster at least two, perhaps three straight season before others took notice. 

He finished third in last seasons Cy Young voting.  The contract numbers that he seeking look surprising familiar.  However, he himself said that he is not modeling his deal after the one that Felix received.  With this new deal, Verlander would not be eligible to hit the free agent market until 2015. 

Two last random MLB notes.  Stephen Strasburg is the #2 prospect in the majors and will most likely see playing time this year.  Erik Bedard remains unsigned…I wonder why?  I did hear that the Orioles are thinking of bring him back. 

I think that we are now out of payroll budget money…whew!

Well, I am exhausted as the offseason moves continue.  One day before Safeco Field opens it’s doors to the adoring fans, Jack Z. spends some money on a right handed bat in Eric Byrnes.  Calling him a bat might be too much, but he was released by the D-Backs two weeks ago and the M’s get a shot at him for $400K.  Oh, don’t feel sorry for him, the D-Backs still owe him $11 Million.

He spent the early part of his career with the A’s and the last 4+ seasons with the D-Backs.  He has only hit 109 career home runs, so his lack of power will still be felt in pitcher friendly Safeco.  He is coming off back-to-back disappointing season due to injuries.  His 2007 season was his career best, especially pleasing to see 50 stolen bases and a .286 batting average.  He is a career .260 hitter.

It appears that he was too good to pass up.  Jack Z. has not made a bad decision yet, that I can think of.  Since Byrnes claims to be healthy for the first time in 2 years, this could be a nice turnaround season for him.  We will see, we do have a place for him in left field.  If he makes the opening day roster, time will tell.  But as far as professional baseball standards are concerned, $400K is nothing.  Of course, someone that inexpensive only means that we could see more moves, even up to the close of Spring training. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

500 Posts!

Well, this is now my 501st, but it is cool to break over the 500 post mark.  Almost as cool when your new car turns over 1000 miles. 

I suppose this post should have meaning besides that personal milestone, so let’s talk taxes.  I love TurboTax!  This is a great application that continue to support year after year.  I am sure if my life was to become overly complicated, an accountant type that places my information into his software version will be necessary…maybe.

My Kindle 2 vs. the iPad

This Kindle user is not worried.  Here are a few items that I find interesting about the latest tagged “Kindle killer”.

1. Battery life. The iPad is registered at 10 hours according to the specs.  For those of you that own iPhones, in order to get 1 full day worth of battery life, you need to shut off a lot of features.  I am assuming the iPad will be the same to come close to the 10 hour mark.

2. Wispernet is free.  The 3G plan of iPad’s will be a monthly charge to it’s owners.  Now, I do like the built in wireless of the iPad.  When I am at home, I would prefer to use my home wireless network, but I only download books so this is not that major to me.

3. Backlit screen.  Sure, it will be nice to read in color, but this is probably the biggest hit to the battery life.  To the iPad’s credit, it would be nice to read newspapers and kids books in color, something that eInk current lacks.

4. Book selection,  Everyone is familiar with Amazon’s selection.  If you find a book that does not have a kindle version, you can click a link to request one.  I am not sure how that works, but I ran across a technical sales book that was NOT Kindle available on January 5th.  By January 10th i was able to download the book.  I clicked the link once, but I am sure one person did now sway a publisher.  I can see it now, “If Josh wants it, than everyone must!”.  The interface as a bookshelf is nice, and the appearance of an open book as you read is cool.  But if you can’t find your book, how “good” is the app, really?

5. Size.  Mashable.com had a great article as to why the iPad is what it is.  In affect, Apple produces a suite of hardware products where one compliments and/or needs others to be a fully functional item.  I, for one, do not see myself taking the iPad on long plane rides for reading.  The Kindle, even though not pocket size, is nice and compact and fits neatly in my laptop bag with minimal amount of space being used. 

6. Cost.  The Kindle running at sub $300 ($259) for the base model is a great tool.  I am aware the iPad can do more with a full blown OS (of sorts),  

I feel the iPad is a “cool” product as are most of it’s technical brethren. Of course I would be lying if I said I did not want to see one and play.  But, the iPad will not be a device in my house at this time. 

New look to an old blog and Mariner notes before FanFest

I was growing tired of the darker colors, decided to go street for a bit and see how that plays out.  Of course, those fans of mine on Facebook and Bleacher Reports will need to actually visit the blog for the full look and feel.

Not much to report.  FanFest is this weekend so my family and I will be attending on Saturday.  Here is a list of all the great transactions that Jack Z has made to prepare for the Mariner title run:

Transactions since 2009 season ended

• Nov. 4: Claimed right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit off waivers from the Diamondbacks.

• Nov. 11: Re-signed outfielder/designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr.

• Nov. 20: Signed free-agent catcher Eliezer Alfonzo.

• Dec. 8: Signed free-agent infielder Chone Figgins to four-year contract.

• Dec. 10: Signed free-agent outfielder Corey Patterson, re-signed free-agent shortstop Josh Wilson and claimed pitcher Kanekoa Texeira from the Yankees' Trenton farm team in the Rule 5 Draft.

• Dec. 16: Acquired left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee from the Phillies for right-handed pitcher J.C. Ramirez, right-handed pitcher Phillippe Aumont and outfielder Tyson Gillies.

• Dec. 18: Traded right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva to the Cubs for outfielder Milton Bradley and re-signed free-agent outfielder Ryan Langerhans.

• Dec. 23: Acquired right-handed reliever Brandon League, along with Minor League outfielder Johermyn Chavez, for right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow.

• Dec. 28: Signed free-agent catcher Josh Bard and right-handed reliever Chad Cordero to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

• Jan. 6: Re-signed utility infielder Chris Woodward to a Minor League contract that included an invitation to Spring Training.

• Jan. 7: Finalized a trade with the Red Sox, acquiring Casey Kotchman for Bill Hall, a Minor League player to be named and cash.

• Jan. 8: Signed center fielder Franklin Gutierrez to a four-year contract extension.

• Jan. 13: Signed free-agent first baseman Brad Nelson.

• Jan. 15: Claimed first baseman Tommy Everidge off waivers from the Athletics.

• Jan. 19: Reached agreement with right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez on a five-year, $78 million contract.

That is an impressive list.  To add to the momentum, Randy Johnson is throwing out the first pitch for the home opener on April 12th.  I was hoping to get tickets, now they are starting to fall into necessity range at this point.  The crowd should be very loud and proud on April 12th. 

MLB released their top 50 prospect picks this week.  Dustin Ackley comes in at number 15 and the lone Mariner.  Ex-Mariner prospect Aumont comes in at 47.  Leading the charge is the Atlanta braves (and future fantasy roster member) Jason Heyward. 

The iPad announcement from Apple was a bit weird to me.  I do not see much use for it…until this little dandy came out. I do not foresee myself buying a rather larger iPod.  I loved listening to the games last year on my iPhone and will do again so this season.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lincecum seeks record arbitration salary

Here it is

I love following Tim.  A Bellevue kid that has accomplished something only Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson with back-to-back Cy Young awards intrigues me to no end.  Plus, that funky delivery and 12-6 curve also add to my intrigue.  Gone is the Morrow/Lincecum debate on this blog as Brandon tries his skills in the great white north. 

Tim is the real deal, don’t let his mediocre team tell you otherwise.  For those of you keeping score at home, he is entering his third full season.  Yes, third.  He was called up during the 2007 season where I snagged him for my fantasy team.  I was unable to grab him in 2008 and now he is keeper for anyone looking for fantasy pitching dominance.  Oh, and that mediocre team he plays on…first place in the NL West this year or a wild card.  Regardless, the Giants are playing in October.  One and done, but playing in October none the less.

Now, the question: How long until someone from the AL East buys him?  I am going to go out on a limb and say never.  He will never play in NY or Boston, not including interleague pay.  That is a risk for me to say, but I feel confident. 

Smoke up boys, it is going to be a bumpy arbitration hearing.

Welcome back, John Schneider!

This is his second tour of duty with the Hawks.  He was director of player personnel back in 2000.  He has spent the past 8 seasons with the Green Bay Packers as a personnel analyst to the GM.  In 2008 he was named director of football operations for the Packers.

I have to admit, it pains me to see someone 3 years my senior taking on a role as cool as GM of a professional football team.  I guess I am just now entering that age.  Plus, with the youth movement occurring in the NFL and other professional sports, more of this is bound to happen.  John has been involved in NFL front offices since 1992. 

John has challenges ahead. We have an aging Walter Jones that needs to be addressed before he retires and leaves us high and dry.  We also have questionable leadership at the quarterback position. I am not sure if this is an issue from the head coach movement over the past 2 seasons.  Regardless of the reason, it needs to be addressed.  Either an attitude adjust on Matt’s part, or a total changing of the guard.  Again, Seneca Wallace is NOT the answer.  He has showed moments of greatness, but overall is not a #1 quarterback in the NFL.

Another point of weakness that I see is the running back post.  It would be nice to have some consistent play in this role, rather than a total running back by committee. Even though, RBBC appears to be another growing NFL trend. 

Basically, we need every position to be placed under a microscope and figure out the best way to spend our April picks.  Good luck John. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

King Felix…5 more years!

Banner offseason, BANNER!  We now have secured Felix Hernandez for 5 years.  Keep in mind, this was not an urgent need.  He was not eligible for free agency until 2011.  However, by doing this now, we won’t have annoying announcers talk about it during 2011, and refer to it as a “distraction”. 

What does this mean for Lee?  I would say everything.  I don’t know how his mind works.  If the M’s are truly able to content for, if not win, the AL West with this awesome 1-2 punch, he may be inclined to stick around past the 2010 season.  Time will tell, as we have learned over time, there is nothing guaranteed in professional sports.

Now, if we could just provide some run support for these guys, we could be dangerous!  The Angels only hit 173 HR as a team last season, 13 more than the Mariners.  The Mariners finished 3rd in the West, the Angels first.  What will be key for us in 2010 will be small ball.  Moving players around, developing and manufacturing runs, something we have not seen here sine Piniella.  The Angels finished second in RBIs while the M’s were dead last.  Not only dead last, but 228 RBI’s behind the second place Angels.  That number is set to change in 2010.  Only 2 weeks to FanFest and about 4 weeks to pitchers and catchers. 

What would Johnny Carson say about all of this?

The late night debate is ridiculous.  Years back, Leno makes a rather large to-do about retiring and naming Conan as his successor.  Now, he is taking it back?  Perhaps I do not understand all that is going on.  I have never been a fan of Leno and his comedy, almost too safe and never pushing the envelope.  And he loves to laugh at his own jokes, more than any other comedian.  Conan has come across as more cerebral to me with a nice biting edge.  I have new found respect for Jimmy Kimmel after watching him cut Jay down to size on his own show.  Honestly, what was NBC thinking of giving Jay his own show at 10 that did the exact same stuff as on the tonight show minus the desk. 

NBC is doing everything it can to ruin whatever image it was creating.  Quality shows like “Friday Night Lights” and “Chuck” need to be saved from providers like DirectTV while “Southland” is moved over to TNT.  Of course, they were unable to save older shows like “American Dreams” and “Studio 60”.   My guess is that they were too real for NBC execs and did not want to stir up too much thought within the base.  (All be it, Chuck is fairly predictable but still entertaining.) 

With Comcast taking over NBC Universal from GE, I am sure things will only get worse.  I do not see Comcast doing much to increase viewership for these shows, while they push other shows like “Heroes”.  I have only seen a handful of episodes and it is well done.  Take away “Heroes”, and you do not have much left.  At least, for this viewer. 

Even my hatred for “The Today Show” grows stronger.  I happened to catch some today while surfing during breakfast.  They were more than happy to show Leno’s response to all this controversy.  However, they did not show Conan’s.  If they did, it was after I left because I can only tolerate about 5 seconds of Matt Lauer.  Again, “The Today Show” continues to show why Americans should not watch corporate news and find alternative news outlets of their own.

Come on Jay, you will always have your cars. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who takes a mattress to a group rally?

Wow, what a way to overreact to a coach leaving.  Understanding this was only 1 year in a long term deal, but I do not think that decision justifies the behavior that I have heard about.  Everything from taking a pee on a Lane Kiffin shirt, to burning mattresses. 

I am all for passion when it comes to your favorite team, hence the majority of this blog’s topics.  But I would never be so irresponsible to act in this manner.  It sounds like this is more, or less, the students acting out and not so much the community of Knoxville.  For those of you that know me, I had similar passions about the Supersonics when I actually gave a rats ass about the NBA.  That drive and passion has long since gone away, even before the team left. 

Speaking of coaching changes, sounds like UM found their man.  I do not know much about him.  He did work for Don Reed at PSU awhile back, so I am not sure if that is a good thing or just a thing.  We will see what the next few years brings to Griz nation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mark McGwire, you are NOW trying to be honest?

Talk about delusional. 

“Dear Mark,

You (more or less) pounded your fist in front of congress to the point that your eyes were bugging out of your head.  I believe the quote was “I am not hear to talk about the past”.  Wasn’t that WHY the hearings were setup anyway?  Because of past behavior?  Then you wait 4 years to come forward and give us some half-hearted truth about steroids?  Why now?  Almost the entire world has safely assumed the obvious when it comes to your drug use.  Just admit and move on, Petite did awhile back and I have totally forgotten about him and his steroid use.  (That is, until some commentator reminds me.)

Yours truly,

me”

Enough with my letter to Mark.  I am not sure what he was trying to prove.  Perhaps he was trying to clear his conscious from something that has bothered him since that record breaking season of 1998.  Perhaps better late than never fits this issue.  But just because he came clean publicly, does not help his chances at a run to the Hall of Fame, in my mind.  Especially since 1998 made a name for him beyond all other years in baseball.  To admit that you took steroids during a season where non-sports fans showed interest, is huge.   I read an article that stated he wanted to opening admit in 2005, but was afraid of legal ramifications.  What changed in 5 years?  Is there some statute of limitations on the admitted use of steroids? Right now, his biggest issue is not being a distraction as the Cardinal’s hitting coach.

Didn’t Pete Rose publicly admit to his wrong doings?  How is that going for him and his fight for the Hall?

For all the Seahawks fans out there.  It would have be nice if he shared with his brother.  Man, what a bust he was!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dennis Erickson round 2

With all the rumors flying around, Pete Carroll is suppose to be the next Seahawks head coach.  We did this awhile back with Dennis Erickson after his successful run with the University of Miami.  How that translated over to the pro ranks, was less than desirable. 

I am not a believer in having a successful college coach make the leap to the pros.  I realize, this is not Carroll’s first run in the NFL.  He spent most of his NFL career earning respect on the defensive side of the ball.  His head coaching time was not horrendous, with a couple of playoff appearances.  I would like to give him a chance, but I am concerned with the Seahawks history of Erickson.  Plus, I also get the impression he is running from the NCAA law.  He will have to do a lot to help erase my memory of Erickson.

I am looking forward to seeing how he handles the unknown of who will be the GM.  Having a head coach known will be nice, but we also need a GM that is going to aid in putting a competitive product on the field in 2010.   Time will tell as we are sitting pretty with first round picks in April.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The good news continues, securing Franklin Gutierrez until 2013

And, we have an option for 2014.  With the way he played this past season, this is an outstanding move.  This removes any and all doubt on what Jack Z has in mind for quality talent he brings to the area.  I am a huge advocate of building loyalty.  Jack Z is finding players that are talented, and doing what he can so that they will be loyal to the Mariners for as long as time allows.

The way we have attacked this offseason is setting a scary level of expectation going into Spring.  Being a lifelong fan, I am never overly optimistic when it comes to Seattle teams in general.  Historically, it is only a matter of time before your hope is crushed.  With that said, I am cautiously optimistic with what is in store for me as a fan.  We have aggressively gone after quality pitching and solid hitting since the hot stove started. 

There is a catch.  We still lack power.  Losing Beltre and Branyan is going to be felt in the HR column.  Not so much Beltre, but Branyan for sure.  Since we appear to be keeping Lopez, let’s hope that he is able to continue his strong offensive showing from the 2009 season.

We are only five weeks away from catchers and pitchers…awesome!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Kotchman to Seattle!

Our infield is now complete…at least for now.  Kotchman for Bill Hall, a minor leaguer to be named later and cash.  Not a bad deal.  Kotchman will be our starting first baseman once the season opens.  We are now going to have 2 ex-Angels running the corners in 2010.

Interesting that Beltre ended up in Boston, which actually makes this deal a lot easier for Boston. 

Kotchman was one of the great players that worked his way up rapidly through the Angels organization.  He had a lot of promise and potential, and is only 26 years old.  He does not have the power that Branyan supplied.  He will put the ball in play and provide some gold glove moments at first base. 

Here is all that Jack Z has done this offseason:

• Re-signed outfielder/designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr. on Nov. 11.

• Signed free-agent infielder Chone Figgins on Dec. 8.

• Signed free-agent outfielder Corey Patterson, re-signed free agent shortstop Josh Wilson and claimed pitcher Kanekoa Texeira from the Yankees' Trenton farm team in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 10.

• Acquired left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee from the Phillies for right-handed pitcher J.C. Ramirez, right-handed pitcher Phillippe Aumont and outfielder Tyson Gillies on Dec. 16.

• Traded right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva to the Cubs for outfielder Milton Bradley and re-signed free-agent outfielder Ryan Langerhans on Dec. 18.

• Acquired right-handed reliever Brandon League from the Blue Jays, along with Minor League outfielder Johermyn Chavez, for right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow on Dec. 23.

• Signed free-agent catcher Josh Bard and right-handed reliever Chad Cordero to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training on Dec. 28.

 

WOW!

Monday, January 04, 2010

5 years and 1 day

I wonder when the fad of blogging will end?  I started this little piece of cyber property on Jan 3rd of 2005.  It all began as a way to talk about the Mariners, Seahawks and a variety of other things that crossed my life. 

Today, it is mostly consumed by the Mariners as we still have some hope for that franchise.  The Seahawks, not sure what direction they are going, but everyone seems to be on a separate bus.  The random thoughts occur, well, randomly throughout the course of my journey in life.  Mostly focusing on a thirst for technology, and/or a thirst for beer. 

I will be in a “Big D” for 4 nights.  Since it has actually been awhile since I did an overnight trip anywhere, I am a bit out of practice.  The one thing I am going to do, is find myself a local brewpub to have some local flavor.    If any readers have any recommendations, please let me know.  Of course, I will what I can to avoid going out on Thursday night.  I am not a fan of any Texas athletic program. 

Adding more random thoughts to this post, I do not have a New Years resolution.  I would say, that I tend to reflect on what I have learned and hope to improve, but to require something healthy is really not my gig. 

All in all, here is to 5 more years of posting crap that no one will read.  Cheers!