from the grief of the grid iron to the dream of the diamond . . .

Being SO close to feeling, for a second time, the euphoria still simmering from the first championship only to have it abruptly snatched away in the final seconds was pretty brutal (to put it mildly). It’s going to take some time.

Luckily, there’s a cure . . .

the delicious distraction that is BASEBALL 🙂 – some catchin’ up to do . . .

The CY Award that wasn’t

Felix Facts | From the Corner of Edgar and Dave

Why Felix Hernandez (unexpectedly) lost the Cy Young Award | Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times

Mariners Ace Felix Hernandez not winning Cy Young Award is a Stunner | Larry Stone, The Seattle Times

 “Yeah, I did,” he said. “It was a great year. I think I pitched way better than 2010.”

Goodbye to some old friends, hello to the new

  • 1B Justin Smoak claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays
  • RF Michael Sauders traded to the Blue Jays for LHP J.A. Happ
  • Signed free agent LF Nelson Cruz
  • RHP Matt Brazis traded to the Cubs for RF Justin Ruggiano
  • RHP Brandon Maurer traded to the Padres for LF Seth Smith
  • Signed Guti and Endy to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training
  • Signed free agaFA 2B Rickie Weeks

A message from Michael Saunders to Mariners fams | Ryan Divish, Mariners Blog

Mariners sign Nelson Cruz to 4-year deal | ESPN.com

nelson

Gar continues to garner high profile support

Randy Johnson endorses Edgar for HoF | ESPN.com

tweets of the off-season

PLAY BALL!!!!

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It’s baaaaaak . . . .

And so am I!

OK – I admit. I feel a just a tad guilty.

A few months ago, I hung up my compass and pulled ashore from the Mariners seas in favor of soaring with the Hawks and the twelves for the winter. And, as chronicled in previous posts ~ what a flight it was! But, after an exhilarating fling with my “first sports love”, I’m back from the “gridiron giddiness” and ready to get back to my “true sports love” 🙂

heart baseball

Seems I’ve got a little catching up to do . . .

From what little I’ve heard, sounds like Mac is well-liked . . .
and, above all, respected. He’s not shy with the media or his players – has strong feelings and opinions and isn’t afraid to voice them. But, he want’s to keep things loose. He and Jack Z even visited with Pete Carroll at the Seahawks training facility during practice (hey – not everything can translate from the gridiron to the diamond but, doesn’t hurt to associate with those of winning ways 🙂 )

Lloyd McClendon

As for Robinson Cano . . .
I’ve heard snippets of interviews with Brad Miller, Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak and they all rave about him. Not only because they are thrilled to have one of the best hitters in the game on their side now but -to a man- they are impressed with his work ethic AND his willingness to share his knowledge and experience. I have to say, initially, I was less than thrilled with the prospect of that HUGE contract but, if he can play for the M’s like he did in pin-stripes and help their young hitters to improve and, maybe even entice some other high profile free agents along the way, through the years – then, it will be worth it.

hello cano

So, anyhoo, there was a baseball game today 🙂
The Annual Charity Game between the M’s and Padres at the newly renovated Peoria Sports Complex they share.

Mariners 7 | Padres 1
Seems things went pretty well for the M’s first dip into spring, not so much for the Pads . . .

Welcome Back Baseball!!!

(I really did miss you, even though I had a tremendously delicious distraction for a time 😉 )

Russell and the trophy | Paul Sancya, AP

 

Tomorrow, Cactus League play starts in earnest.

Ups, Downs, all-arounds . . .

Just catching up on some of the movement of late.

Brad Miller’s call up set off some dominoes . . .
Reporting to AAA Tacoma were IF Carlos Triufel (optioned to make room on the 25-man roster) and RP Josh Kinney (out-righted, to make room on the 40-man roster) and 3B Ty Kelly (received in a trade from Baltimore for OF Eric Thames) and 1B Alex Liddi was designated for assignment.

Minor League Recognition . . .

M*A*S*H
* Guti back to the 15-day DL (hamstring) after only playing 1.5 games back from his last stint
* Michael M (strained quad) is getting close to being sent to Tacoma for a rehab assignment
* Jesus Montero scheduled to DH tomorrow in AZ (will be limited to DH/1B for the remainder of the year)
* Danny Hultzen was scratched a couple of nights ago from only his second start in Tacoma since coming off the DL – tests revealed no structural damage but, he’ll have 10-14 days before throwing again.

International Free Agents . . .
M’s sign 16-yr old Venezuelan OF, Greifer Andrade
Top-30 and where they’ve signed

 

 

Taijuan moving on up . . . and other news and notes

Yesterday, the Mariners announced that top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker (drafted 1st round -43rd overall- in 2010) was promoted to AAA Tacoma after a stellar start in AA Jackson . . .

I’ll say! 84 innings ~ 2.46 ERA ~ 1.04 WHIP ~ 96 strikeouts

 

M’s have been busy signing their selections from the June Amateur Draft (have now signed 30 of 40, including 19 from the first 20 rounds). The latest to sign and take batting practice at The Safe, Austin Wilson . . .

 

Meanwhile, up in Everett, a couple new prospects get started on their professional baseball careers . . .

 

Rehabbing and Retooling . . .
* Danny Hultzen was scheduled to throw FIVE innings today in AZ rookie league
* Guti’s starting to hit down in Tacoma (last 10 games: .333 w/2 HR, 2 2B, 11 R, 8 RBI)
* Dustin continues to tear the cover off AAA ball (.372) and is taking reps in the outfield

So, I guess it’s more than just a cuppa joe for Mr. Zunino . . .

Seems he’s been given the keys to the coffee shop!

The tweets started coming through early afternoon (while I was enjoying late breakfast with my daughter ~in town from Tahoe~ and my in-laws) . . .

The M’s had signed Henry Blanco and DFA’d Kelly Shoppach . . . wha????

At first blush, it made no sense. Why dump a decent back-up, no bat catcher for an even older one?

But, as the day went on and more info was disseminated, it became clear that the move was centered around the fact that the M’s had essentially declared that Mike Zunino as their everyday catcher. Apparently, Blanco is known for his mentorship (and Kelly, I guess, not-so-much).

So, let the Zunino era begin!

Here’s a link that includes audio from the last, great Mariner catcher and some of his thoughts on the catcher of the future (prior to the somewhat surprising news today)

“He’s a guy that does need to play,” Wilson said. “Learning how to play every day, learning how to play through injuries, learning how to play through nicks and bruises, and learning the position and everything it encompasses just takes some time.”

One of the concerns reporters and scouts have with Zunino is his ability to hit the breaking ball. Yesterday, he drilled a line drive up the middle on a 0-2 slider. It’s only been one game and it is a diminutive sample size. But, if Zunino continues to adjust with the bat, and proves Wilson’s acclaim, there is no reason he should not be here to stay. Perhaps he will be the best catcher the Mariners have had since Wilson. Perhaps even better.

“He’s 22 years old, but he’s playing a lot older than that,” Wilson said. “I can’t wait to see how he continues to develop.”

 

 

He loves us, he really loves us!

Felix and Jack with the announcement we’ve all hoped for…

Wow. I was able to catch Felix’s press conference on my iPhone while at work… tissue was needed!

The word that comes to my mind is ….

GENUINE
not a false bone in his body nor a fake emotion in his heart

How awesome is it to know that The King will be anchoring the M’s rotation for the foreseeable future?

Long live the #KingOfSeattle

Felix has steadfastly maintained he wants to stay with the one who brung him. His last contract reinforced that with brick and mortar and this new one  will do so with tempered steel. He wants to play for the team he adores, live in the city he and his family love and be paid what he is worth.

The Mariners (Jack Z, specifically) have steadfastly maintained they were not trading Felix. Again the analogies from brick and mortar to tempered steel fit. JZ and the M’s know what they have in this uber-talented, high-character, still young ACE who they have now rewarded for all he has provided in the past and given him security for the future. They want to improve their own lot by building around this face of the franchise while protecting their investment as much as possible.

By all accounts, each wanted the same things: value and security. Each did their due diligence to ensure the conditions were met. Here’s to the continuation of a great relationship that will someday culminate in the ultimate reward for each, making all the sacrifices (Felix’s loyalty and the M’s money) well worth every minute and every penny.

UPDATE:
Podcast here of a great, further enlightening, interview KJR’s Softy had with Felix’s agent Scott Pucnio