On My M’s SoapBox
I usually try to avoid writing about subject(s) matter that tends to cut a little too close to the vest. In the case of the Seattle Mariners ownership, It’s extremely hard to keep a straight face.
No matter how deep seeded my allegiance lays, (I’ve stayed loyal to this team for over 20 years and that will never change), it becomes extremely hard to keep my mouth shut when ownership punts a season away, or least gives off the vibe of punting, before spring training even begins.
This is where I will start this conversation because I believe there hasn’t been enough talk about accountability from our ownership representation.
This off-season highlighted everything that is wrong with the current economic structure in MLB. There isn’t a system of check and balances in place that keeps cheap owners from abusing the current economic structure.
In plain English – If they don’t want to spend on player personnel, they do not have to.
All-the-while owners continue to reap the benefits of revenue sharing for acting like a cheap-skate in the first place.
Which brings us back to the Mariners, who decided early on in the off-season they were going to continue a craft they have perfected – deciding not to spend on anything worthwhile to improve.
From their standpoint, it doesn’t feasibly make sense to do so. Even with a sagging attendance, the Mariners still turn enough of a profit outside of Safeco Field that by the end of the year, their ledger book still reads a profit.
Moreover in all of this lunacy, it seems we have given this ownership group another out. We have given pity to Hiroshi Yamachi’s sagging net worth (Nintendo has really taken it in the shorts).
We also seem to have given minority owner Chris Larsen’s ugly divorce (I’m somewhat sympathetic) a pass. All-the-while the Mariners are still pocketing yearly profits playing in a publicly funded stadium while they continue to try sell us patience.
The Michael Pineda trade should’ve been the last straw with ownership.
Teams that are focused on winning do not trade aces with two years remaining before arbitration. They would try to add to their strengths. They would spend a little to correct their weaknesses.
A good point in case, the Mariners stood to have close to 15 million dollars available after the 2011 season when Milton Bradley and Jack Wilson’s (among other players) contracts came off the books.
Obviously 15 million dollars doesn’t seem like a ton of money, but it’s still enough to buy you the Jason Kubel, Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit type one.
There guys are the two-year type free-agent rentals that could give you a chance to be competitive offensively in 2012-13, while still giving the team enough time to complete the evaluation process of some of the prospects.
Unfortunately the Mariners decided to pocket most of that money.
The Mariners response to improvement?
$3,850,000 dollars worth of MLB contracts to free-agent pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, George Sherrill, Shawn Camp, and Hong-Chih Kuo, and less then 1 million dollars ($877,000 on John Jaso and Jesus Montero) on fixing an offense that was one of the worst statistically since the inception of the designated hitter in 1972.
I understand what the Mariners are trying to do. When your franchise bottoms out, it takes time in the rebuilding process. In a perfect world, a team will try hard to stay relevant while going through a franchise overhaul.
Even the Oakland A’s, who are the most financially snake bitten team in MLB, still finds ways to improve within their financial structure. They recognize their weaknesses, and they aren’t afraid to take risks with whatever money they do have available.
Billy Beane understands that winning cures all ailments, because the worst possible thing for the franchise is sitting around staying stagnant.
Come 2014 when Jack Zduriencik’s rebuilding efforts have yielded it’s fruits at the MLB level, and it’s time to open up the wallet to augment the nucleus in place, I have no faith that ownership will follow through on their promise to Jack Zduriencik.
He will be hung out to dry by ownership, while being villainized by fans for not doing enough. Which means come the 2014 July 31st trading deadline, they will be forced to trade Felix Hernandez to improve.
While reaping the financial windfall of a new regional sports network they most certainly will have in place by then.
This isn’t about selling the team (I believe they should) as it is about the need for Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to come forward an tell us what their intentions are.
Say something, because the only one that seems to have a direction is the general manager, and to be perfectly honest, that’s asinine. Ownership is supposed to be the one leading by example.
There has to be some explanation in regards to the future because to continue to stay quiet in this situation, isn’t helping to extinguish the fire that is rolling through your fan base.
We deserve some reason or explanation for our continued support. I cannot speak for the rest of this snake bitten franchise, but for someone who stuck up for you, and remained loyal for over 20 years, I deserve at least that.