First they hired Mike Hargrove. Then they dealt for the first base duo of Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez. Next they got their hands on Franklyn Gutierrez. Cliff Lee made a half season stop in Seattle in ’09. Then they actually took Russell Branyan off of our hands. And now, the coup de gras….The Grinder, Eric Wedge, has been hired by the Seattle Mariners as their new manager. He comes to Seattle with seven years under his belt, and a mustache!
Man do the Mariners love them some Wahoo sloppy seconds.
In all seriousness, Seattle GM “Trader” Jack Zduriencik has completely butchered this organization. How he still has a job is a mystery to many.
He handed a four year, $36 million contract to an aging Chone Figgins, then moved him from third to second. He moved second baseman Jose Lopez, also past his prime, to third. Both moves tanked. He traded for the cancer of all cancers, Milton Bradley, to be their cleanup hitter, and handed Gutierrez $20 million before he had proven that he was worth the money (Franky G finished ’10 hitting .245/12 HR/64 RBI in 152 games). He traded top prospects for Cliff Lee to go with Felix Hernandez at the top of the rotation, which was a smart move at the time. Except the three through five guys in the rotation were brutal, the bullpen was worse, and the lineup was littered with guys who strike out too much.
Picked to win the AL West by many, the Mariners finished 61-101, the worst record in baseball.
So now they turn The Grind. I guess the first failure of an ex-Tribe manager wasn’t enough in the Pacific Northwest. Reading the Wedge press conference quotes was a classic stroll down memory lane.
“I could write a master’s thesis on what it means to respect the game and everything that goes along with that. But that consistency in what we’re going to show is going to allow them to come out and play it all the way through. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the stands, where we’re playing, the time of the year, what the weather is like, what our record is, the way we play and our effort and the way we go about it is going to be there each and every day. … Those are things that are going to happen here.”
I don’t know about you, but I really miss me some Grind-speak.
“I’m going to stress this to our players — you’ve got to pay attention to the game. You’ve got to watch the game. Pay attention to the game. Not just when you’re up to bat or on the mound or in the field. Watch the game, because you’re going to learn. Manage the game with me. Be a smart baseball player.
On his reunion with old buddy Milton Bradley:
“I think one of Milton’s biggest obstacles is just staying healthy. Hopefully, he’ll be healthy and help us have an opportunity to win some ballgames here. I’m looking forward to having another opportunity to work with him. I don’t hold any grudges. Milton’s a long ways away from that, too. I’m sure our relationship is going to be fine.”
I for one hopes Wedge does well in Seattle. I’m in the minority as a Wedge fan; I think he knows the game, is a decent in game manager, and commands the respect of his players.
Now back to the team he takes over. What is it about the Indians trash that the Mariners find to be a treasure? The history goes back to the 2006 when the M’s were looking for a right-handed stick for their bench. They set their sights on veteran Eduardo Perez, toiling mostly unused on the Indians bench. The decided they would send a young AA shortstop to the Tribe. That kid turned out to be Asdrubal Cabrera.
A month later, the M’s needed left-handed first base bat. They again looked to the East and targeted the Tribe’s Ben Broussard, an average at best stick with a decent glove. In return, the Indians would receive a AAA Center fielder from South Korea.
His name? Shin-S00 Choo.
So the Mariners traded two players who today are cornerstone of the Indians organization for the “Benuardo” first base platoon. The 2006 Mariners fell off the table mid-year, and finished 78-84, last in the AL West. The manager of that team? Mike Hargrove. Perez played 43 games with Seattle, hit .196, and then retired at season’s end. Broussard played in 56 games in ’06, hitting .238. He would play in 99 games in 2007 with the Mariners, before moving on to the Rangers for one more year.
The only team who seemingly loves Russell Branyan more than the Indians? The Mariners, who brought him back mid-season from the Tribe after searching for a power bat.
2011 will be a new era in Seattle baseball. I hear they have a new theme song too. “Come on…..it’s Grind Time, now.”