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February 20, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Friday musings

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A couple of former Mariners have checked back in with their takes on the 2008 season that was for their 101-loss team.
Here we see former closer J.J. Putz giving some choice quotes to the New York Daily News. The writer, Bill Madden, describes the Seattle clubhouse this way:
“…the Mariners became the first team in history to have a $100 million payroll and lose 100 games. It was, says Putz, about as miserable a situation as there could be in baseball. Not only were the Mariners a bad team, they were a bad mix. Their best player, Ichiro Suzuki, is reportedly detested by the rest of the team. The pitchers all hated throwing to Kenji Johjima, the team’s other celebrated Japanese import who was inexplicably signed to a three-year, $24 million extension through 2011. And lefthander Erik Bedard, the M’s most acclaimed offseason acquisition last year, alienated himself from most of his teammates by acting like a total jerk and then blew out his shoulder. And the losses just kept on coming, with manager John McLaren fired at midseason.”
Not very flattering, is it?
Putz then is quoted saying: “The way I look at it, it’s a whole lot better not closing for a team that’s going to win 100 games than closing for a team with 100 losses.”
In case you haven’t seen it yet, Raul Ibanez weighed in on the issue with Larry Stone down in Florida yesterday.
“I really think that last year’s club had a problem with accountability,” he said. “It goes hand in hand — in crappy situations, people start pointing fingers. That’s when I think the character of the people on the team is tested. When you start focusing your energy on what other people are doing, then you’re not focusing your energy on what you’re doing.”
Ibanez goes on to praise Ichiro in the rest of the story.
No matter whose side you take in all this, it looks like Ken Griffey Jr. can’t get here quickly enough.
That’s what they were saying in Atlanta Braves camp yesterday as finger-pointing and sour grapes ruled the day. Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, in the “get a clue” moment of the day, actually accused Atlanta Journal-Constitution baseball writer Dave O’Brien of scuttling the deal by reporting that Griffey had chosen Atlanta. Griffey, of course, denied this and eventually picked Seattle.
I think Hudson needs to focus more on his pitching and worry less about the media. After all, the Braves failed to add that veteran bat and now will likely need to keep a few more runs off the scoreboard.
Or, if he really wants to get into analysis of how his team’s front office botched this deal, I’d suggest he could look at the three others that GM Frank Wren allowed to fall through in the past four months. He can look at the added incentives on Griffey’s Seattle contract, which are better than what the Braves were offering and (I suspect) sweetened towards the end.
Players aren’t going to pull out of the most important decision of their careers, in this case one that will impact Junior’s legacy, because a reporter leaked the story. Well, at least the ones who aren’t flakes.
In cases like these, it helps to look for the obvious. That’s why Hudson’s a pitcher and not a reporter. Maybe Chipper Jones can explain it to him, because he seemed to have all the answers a few days ago.
Dave O’Brien is one of the best newspaper baseball bloggers in America. Those of you who enjoy reading this blog should appreciate his work as well and what he’s doing to help advance online baseball coverage in this country. He made a mistake, as did I when I told you Griffey was going to Atlanta as well. O’Brien’s readers should give him a break and stop trying to crucify him for working overtime on a story they were all clamoring for him to get to the bottom of. And I know some of those readers keep logging on here, so pass the word on to your buddies.
If you lose O’Brien, who gives you your daily Braves fix? Get over it. Griffey chose the Mariners, made a whole lot of folks — including me — look bad in the process, but it’s his right to do it and the sun has come up in the morning. At least, for some of us it has.



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