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October 3, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Oakland Athletics at Mariners: Oct. 3 is finally here!

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Our long suffering national nightmare finally ends today. The Mariners will finish either with 100 or 101 losses, but it hardly matters. Considering they had a Cy Young pitcher all season in Felix Hernandez and a Cy-caliber guy in Cliff Lee to go with him for a half season, this was more like a 105-or-110-loss team. And when you consider that the AL West looks like the worst division in baseball, this squad could easily be the worst in franchise history.
I’m serious. The 2008 team would mop the floor with these guys.
A lot of work remains for this squad. It’s not enough to throw a bunch of young guys in there and say “That’s our future! Just wait three more years!” Because no one really knows how the prospects game will pan out. You can keep acquiring depth and sometimes, that’s all you’ve got. Two years ago, Jim Riggleman sat there on the final day and spoke of how his team was playing better baseball. Talked up the young guys like Jeff Clement, Wladimir Balentien, Brandon Morrow and future guys like Carlos Triunfel and Phillippe Aumont.
Bu it takes more than youth to build a winner. It takes commitment from ownsership to fll in the blanks. It takes a clear sense of direction from a front office.
Let me ask you this, if the true goal of this team was to continue a rebuilding process, why was Brandon Morrow traded last winter?
Hey, I understood the rationale. Bring in Brandon League to strengthen the bullpen short-term and take a run at the division. That’s all fine and good, as long as rebuilding is not your ultimate goal.
Because if rebuiding truly was the plan, giving Morrow at least one shot at starting full-time from April onward would seem in order. League is a good reliever, but he’s done after 2011 and this does not look like a team poised to contend before 2013 at best. Johermyn Chavez might emerge into something once he hits Class AA for the first time next season. We’ll see. But he’s still a ways off. So, the logic of it all does confuse me.
Unless, of course, this team’s goal was to contend and it simply flopped. Unless this whole Cliff Lee flip for prospects truly was a Plan B. If so, it seems to have worked out in terms of upgrading prospects. But now, you’ve used up a year in which you had Felix Hernandez under contract. A year in which you had Franklin Gutierrez under contract.
And if the goal really was to contend this year, then why not bolster payroll and try to fix the offense better than this front office did? Not boosting payroll, if this team really was out to contend and meant something when it told fans to “Believe Big” was truly a confusing and almost negligent act. Sure, that extra payroll could have been spent on a bust. Or, the M’s might have acquired Aubrey Huff. Or Johnny Damon. Or multiple pieces that could have changed the dynamic of a season. You never know if you don’t play.
Maybe the goal was to have it both ways: to contend and rebuild. If so, that plan failed on an historic scale.
The M’s will have the winter to decide what their plan is from here. Where the rebuilding is to take them next. For now, the formaility that was another 100-loss calamity in 2010 will today, mercifully for all involved, be put to rest.
So, any of you have a defining moment for this season? For me, it was the Eric Byrnes non squeeze-bunt with Ichiro breaking for home in extra innings back on April 30. When Cliff Lee pitched his heart out and got a no-decision in a shutout loss, I knew in my heart it wasn’t going to happen this year.
Within days, Milton Bradley walked out on his team in the middle of a game, then later spent two weeks on the restricted list getting psychological counseling. Soon after, hitting coach Alan Cockrell was fired. The next day, Sleep Gate hit. It all happened within a 10-day span. For most teams, that’s a season’s worth of headaches. For the 2010 Mariners, just another week.
What’s your defining moment?



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