Can it get any worse?
While I’m sure Howard Lincoln is part of the problem, not the solution, let’s call all of Lincoln’s blunders #1 on my list of my Top 5 pet peeves from 2013. Here are the other 4.
The Need for Speed
The Mariners had a number of players on the roster this past season who had more than enough speed to steal a bag and didn’t do so with any amount of consistency to make a difference. Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, and Abraham Almonte all have more than enough jets to press the issue.
These guys were all in the lineup pretty regularly. On the season, the ENITIRE TEAM had 49 steals. That was 28th in the league. Only the Cardinals and Tigers had fewer steals than the Mariners.
As a team that continues to struggle to score runs, I really expected the Mariners to press the issue and force their opponents’ defense to make tough throws. Let them run wild! We are only left to scratch our heads wondering why that never happened.
Trade Deadline Guts
On July 10, 2013 Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said, “We’ll see how this week goes. I’m not going to be the aggressor. I’m not shopping anyone.”
Obviously that week went pretty well given the Mariners went 15-8 in July as of the trade deadline date. They were just 7.5 games out of the wild card chase on July 30, and Jack Z STILL did NOTHING.
This non-committal approach not only is boring to write about, but it also lacks any guts at all. You have to take SOME chances as a GM, one way or another. Either dump your high-priced talent and bring in more young players for next year, or move a prospect or two for some proven talent and try and make a run.
Instead, the Mariners did nothing. No guts, no glory, no pennant, no hope.
Michael Bourn Deal
The Mariners were tied to free agent Michael Bourn all winter long and he wound up not signing in Seattle, opting for Cleveland instead. The price was rumored to be 12 million a season. That’s a relative bargain compared to other players with his talents.
What stopped this deal? Jack Z, valued the 12th overall pick in this past year’s draft, was too much. The Mariners would have forfeited that pick had they signed Bourn.
Bourn wound up hitting .263 on the year including 21 doubles, 6 triples, and 6 homers while stealing 23 bases for Cleveland. The Mariners drafted DJ Peterson with their 12th overall pick, who spent much of the year on the shelf with a broken jaw.
Robby Thompson Brain Fade
Our 2014 Seattle Mariners Manager, Robby Thompson, doesn’t know his left from his right, folks.
This is a move that will forever haunt Thompson. On August 1, 2013 the Mariners had a lead in Boston against the Red Sox. Thompson pointed with his left hand initially before correcting himself.
It was too late, though.
The umpire saw the left hand first and the M’s were forced to bring in lefty Oliver Perez to face switch hitter Shane Victorino instead of having him face Yoervis Medina — a righty.
Victorino hit a two-run single off Perez. Dustin Pedroia came up next, and Perez allowed another run on Pedroia’s single. After retiring David Ortiz, Medina did finally come in the game to pitch and promptly gave up two hits and a walk to end the game. Red Sox comeback complete!
I suppose it’s impossible to know what would have happened had these pitchers been brought in to face the guys Thompson had planned on them facing. But still, what an unbelievably ugly way to lose a game.
Afterward, Thompson had this to say: ”If there’s anything there for me, it’s a lesson learned that if you make any motion with either hand, that’s it. I didn’t realize that.”
That kind of mental lapse makes you wonder about the idea of Thompson as our new manager, don’t you think?
FYI, this is a game that Felix Hernandez started and left with a 7-1 lead after seven innings. YIKES! The manager is supposed to be the guy in your dugout that is unflappable, not incompetent.
Can it get any worse? I don’t know, but it seems like the only way the M’s can go at this point is up.