Sunday, April 01, 2007

2007......

It's been three seasons since our favorite navy and teal baseballers finished the year with a winning record. Three seasons since they kept our interest past June. And I'm finding myself inching ever so closely to that dreaded place that all sports teams want to keep their fans out of: indifference. Even though the M's have stunk for the last three seasons, I was excited about something going into the season. In 2004, they had just finished winning 90+ games for the fourth year in row. In 2005, the front office finally opened up their pocket books and signed some big bats. Even last year, I was excited to see what young guys like Felix, Betancourt, and Lopez could do and if Beltre would rebound. But this year is different. This is the least excited I've been about the Mariners in a long time. And I don't like that. But, without further ado, here are my thoughts going into the 2007 season. Let's do this in threes:

3 reasons for hope

1. The King. Felix was pretty inconsistent last year, but some of his underlying numbers were still pretty good. Most importantly, he seems to have a new focus and is ready to take the hill tomorrow. And he's only 21. We could see him develop into the top 5 pitcher that we all hope he can be.

2. Infield defense. No, seriously. The M's management took the approach of signing groundball pitchers this offseason. The reason? One of the best defensive infields in all of baseball. Beltre and Betancourt just may be the best left side of the infield in the land. If those groundball pitchers (Felix included) can keep the ball on the ground, there could be a lot of easy outs this year.

3. A pretty solid lineup. If that sentence doesn't tell you why I'm having a hard time getting excited about this team then nothing will. The lineup is what it is, but what that is is pretty good. How about that sentence? Dave from USS Mariner puts it nicely when he says,

The opening day line-up is going to have Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt batting 8th and 9th in some order. Both are projected to be nearly league average hitters, and they’re filling out the last two spots in the batting order. What the offense lacks in thump, it attempts to make up for in balance.



3 reasons you'll be counting down the days until football season

1. The gruesome foursome. After Felix, the rest of the rotation is.....uh....suspect. I didn't want the M's to join in the spending madness that was this offseason, and I'm glad they didn't sign Meche, but Washburn, Ramirez, Batista, and Weaver are all back of the rotation starters at best. If the M's had a more potent offense or top-notch bullpen, they may be able to survive with that. But, methinks no.

2. Mike Hargrove and Bill Bavasi. Hargrove for everything he does that sucks, and Bavasi because is either extremely unlucky or a poor evaluator of talent. Now that Jeremy Reed has been sent to AAA, it seems the Freddy Garcia trade was a complete bust. Not to mention Jesse Foppert being released, making the Randy Winn trade worthless. Plus the Vidro and Ramirez trades, the Batista signing, Beltre, and, you get the point. I've been pretty patient with Bavasi because I think he was handed a crappy situation when Gillick left, but that patience is wearing thin.

3. Jose. All three of them. Vidro as a DH? Guillen as a teammate? Lopez's second half? Those three could make or break a lot of 2007.


Overall, I don't really know what to think. They don't look awful, but they don't look amazing either. The AL West isn't much of a division, and I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that if a lot of things break a certain way, the M's could be playing meaningful baseball in September. Let's hope that's true.

Other (aka better) previews:
Seattle Times
USS Mariner

Also, read this hilarious tribute to Dave Henderson at Lookout Landing.

Baseball!!! Yay!!!

4 comments:

  1. maaaah1:08 PM

    the dave henderson comments were hilarious...where's the "proper goodbye to Gil Meche"?

    go m's...excited at least to go to opening day tomorrow...beyond that...we'll see.

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  2. I don't know I'm still not sure how to say goodbye to Gil. Maybe I'll wait until the M's play the Royals.

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  3. Neddy Ballgame7:53 PM

    What an Opening Day...Maaah and I were there- --Felix was King for a day ---I know,I know...one day a season does not make--but it was a big win against the A's of 2-17 infamy in '06 ---Richie came thorugh nicely after Raoul's sac fly took advantage of a huge Oakland error--somethign we didn't do much of the past 3 years --taking advantage of anythign was a struggle for M's.soooo...hope still springs eternal and let's see if Wash is not washed up!!!

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  4. Wash not washed up, oh neddy you kill me! Haha he did look decent last night though. I was able to catch a few innings. I still love Yuni, mr hustle

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