UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: Felix Hernandez has been named AL Pitcher of the Month for June and deservedly so. It’s the first such honor of his career and comes just in time for his start tonight. A good showing in Boston, on a large stage, will likely thrust him into the thick of any Cy Young Award discussion.
Erik Bedard is looking mighty happy these days as he gets set to take the mound again next week. Bedard should figure prominently in any trade rumors surrounding the Mariners, though at this stage, with the team still just 3 1/2 games behind the division-leading Angels, it makes perfect sense to keep him.
The Angels got the performance they needed out of John Lackey last night in a 5-2 win over Baltimore. He was supposed to be as dominant as he’s been in a couple of years. That’s bad news for the Mariners, who now need Bedard to step up and join Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn as a formidable starting trio to counter the Lackey-Jered Weaver combo in Los Angeles.
Both teams could also be active “buyers” as the deadline approaches. But one division rival that won’t be doing anything is the Texas Rangers.
For those who haven’t heard, Major League Baseball is said to have stepped in with a $15 million payout to the Rangers to cover their last payroll. This column in the Dallas Morning News sums it up rather nicely and spells out what it all means.
The money quote:
The Rangers won’t be taking on any significant contracts the rest of this season, meaning no deals for aces or clean-up hitters before the trade deadline.
You heard it. The Rangers will have to get by with the pitching they have. And make do with their offense as is. In case you’d forgotten, the pitching is some of the worst in the American League and the hitting has gone south ever since Josh Hamilton got hurt.
In other words, a Mariners offense that’s had to fight merely to get by on most nights still has the advantage of being able to improve. The Rangers? Forget it. They are what they are and those 100 degree days are about to become a consistent part of their regular calendar.
Will the Mariners go out and improve themselves. Only the team’s front office and ownership knows the answer. But the Mariners do have money. They are not in financial disarray as is Tom Hicks. And they have some serious money coming off the payroll books at season’s end.
In other words, they have a distinct advantage over the Rangers. Will they choose to exercise that advantage? Or, will they hope that Chris Woodward, Ryan Langerhans, Ronny Cedeno and company keep stepping up?
Click right here to listen to the podcast from last night about their contributions..
Time will tell whether the Mariners are prepared to be pro-active. But time’s also a wastin’.