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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

June 3, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Feierabend delivers

Nice to see a Class AAA call-up finally deliver what no Mariners starter has managed to do in a week — go seven innings. That’s what Ryan Feierabend did today with that 7 1/3-inning performance to help the M’s win 11-6 and keep pace with the Los Angeles Angels at 5 1/2 back. Yes, the Mariners took three of four from the terrible Texas Rangers, who once again couldn’t pitch and booted the ball around in the field, yet Seattle gained zero ground on the AL West leaders. Still think that series finale in Anaheim wasn’t all that big? Just a two-game swing?
Anyhow, the M’s did the minimum they had to do here against a Rangers team that wasn’t all that serious a threat. For my longtime contributor “Lance” you can disagree with me all you want about Miguel Batista. But I have to disagree with you. Is Odalis Perez, the three-win Royals starter, worth some $25-million over three years? Or is Ervin Santana of the Angels, the guy who can’t win anywhere but his home park, an impact pitcher? These are pitchers with a very similar ERA to Batista’s and near-identical peripherals. Only difference? Their teams haven’t been scoring eight runs per game for them the past few weeks.
How about Batista’s walks-plus-hits-to-innings-pitched ratio of 1.63? That’s about what Vicente Padilla of the Rangers, circa 2007, brings to the table. Is he going to impact this year’s division race? And what about the opponents’ batting average of .310 off Batista? You know what? There’s a guy in Toronto by the name of Josh Towers who’s put up numbers similar to Batista’s. Lower batting average against him too. Hasn’t pitched as many innings yet, but the Jays would love to unload him. Think he’ll impact the AL West race?
Sorry, I’m being just a little obnoxious to prove a point. I like “Lance” and the comments he makes here. But please, I beg of you all, don’t get fooled by win totals. When Batista wins a dozen or more in a season, we can talk. But trust me, even Jake Woods would be 8-0, or 9-1 right now if he was up here and getting seven or eight runs per game in offense. Batista has mid-rotation stuff at best. No better, no worse.
As for the pending Mariners “sale” I heard about this a week ago while still on the road with the team. I suspect the Boston Globe “sources” were the same ones that put our paper on it. I thought at the time that Phillies GM Pat Gillick himself was behind some of the talk I kept hearing. Never confirmed it. Just a hunch. We checked it out behind the scenes, with a number of the team’s stakeholders, and came up empty. Not a whiff. All claimed the team wasn’t for sale. The difference between us and the Boston Globe? We didn’t run with the rumor. Do I think it’s true? Maybe, maybe not. A team doesn’t have to be officially “for sale” for ownership to listen to queries about a club from a prospective buyer. In Toronto, I heard rumors for two years that the Blue Jays were for sale before the team was finally unloaded in September 2000.
So, while Howard Lincoln can honestly deny that the team is for sale, here is the reality. If the owner is thinking about selling and a buyer comes forward with the right price, the sale will very often happen whether or not there’s a “for sale” sign in the window. That’s true throughout the business world. Why would the team’s current owner want to sell? Let’s see, he lives in Japan, never comes to games, has a liaison in Lincoln who’s not a hands-on “baseball guy” but has made lots of money for the ownership group. The team is a profit-maker, but attendance is dropping and won’t increase without wins. To win, you need good baseball people running things and Gillick certainly qualifies.
Hence, the grounds for a sale.
Oh yeah, that pending FSN extension? The one that one report said would be announced on April 2? Well, that story’s about two months past its prime, but the deal is still in-the-works. When it’s announced, a new owner could buy-in, knowing that TV contracts are locked up well into the next decade.
So, yeah, all the conditions are ripe for a sale. Gillick just bought his retirement home in Magnolia. He helped front a business group that purchased control of Toronto’s old SkyDome (now the Rogers Center) about eight years ago, so you know he’s into corporate dealings. Sounds about right to me. But is the team officially “for sale”? Probably not. Which is why Lincoln and all the ownership team members can deny, deny, deny with a clear conscience. Nobody is officially lying about anything. Let’s look at this again in 12 months. By then, once the Ichiro question is resolved, we might know whether Gillick truly wants to buy. Unless he gets the Phillies into the playoffs this year, he might be looking for another baseball project to keep him busy.

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