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Mariners GM May Have Gotten Idea for Trade in Online Chat with Fans

This story is pretty cool and not one you see every day so I figure it’s definitely worth mentioning. The World of Isaac via The Sporting Blog says that a minor trade by the Mariners recently can be attributed to an online chat the team’s GM had with fans last week. Check out this Q&A from the chat on mlb.com:

booxa: We need more LH bats. Have you looked at Ryan Langerhans, currently in the Nats’ organization?

Jack_Zduriencik: Good suggestion.

Well, a matter of about four days later, the trade was officially announced: the Mariners had acquired Langerhans from the Nats for former steroid cheat, Mike Morse. Also adding to this story was the post done at the Mariners blog, U.S.S. Mariner, that suggested they pursue Langerhans. Now obviously I don’t follow the Mariners to the level that I’m suggesting they get a guy who’s with the Nats’ Triple-A team, but obviously they do. And for some reason someone there has a thing for Langerhans that I just don’t get. Cool side is that when the fans talk, the team listens. And even cooler is when they actually respond. Oh yeah, this is not the first time something posted at U.S.S. Mariner has impacted the team.

Mariners Players Supposedly Wanted to Beat Up Ichiro Suzuki

Dude, I know things got pretty bad for the Mariners this year, so much so that Richie Sexson had to do some mound charging to help everyone forget how much he sucked, but infighting? Ganging up on a teammate? Seriously? This tid-bit from the Seattle Times via the wealth of news that is Rotoworld has me extremely concerned:

“I just can’t believe the number of guys who really dislike [Ichiro],” said one clubhouse insider. “It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him.”

The coaching staff and then-manager John McLaren intervened when one player was overheard talking — in reference to Ichiro — about wanting to “knock him out.” A team meeting was called to clear the air.

It was a repeat of May 2007, when Mike Hargrove was in charge and a team meeting had to be called during a series at Tampa Bay because of clubhouse bickering over Ichiro being a “selfish” player.

Now I might not be in that clubhouse, but as far as I can tell, Ichiro’s done a pretty consistent job of performing at a high level ever since he came to the U.S. Raul Ibanez is pretty much the only other Mariner about whom you can say the same. So if there are any concerns about guys not being “team players,” maybe those doing the bullying should have focused on picking up their offensive and defensive games to Ichiro’s level. If they did, I’m guessing the Mariners would be doing just fine. By the way, it’s not to say I couldn’t see where Ichiro would rub people as a selfish player, because I could, but still.

UPDATE: J.J. Putz calls the anonymous source a coward

Jose Guillen Was the Mariners’ Glue

With the Mariners in town to visit the Royals for a weekend series, it gave the Seattle writers a chance to catch up with former Mariner Jose Guillen. And believe me when I say this, I was absolutely floored to read the comments not only Guillen made about the state of the Mariners, but also what fired GM Bill Bavasi had said about him, and what the writer himself felt:

With [Guillen] went the one Mariner who held his teammates to a higher standard. If he needed to get in someone’s face to see the game played right, he’d do it.

This year’s team is missing that.

As Guillen said, “they are a bunch of good guys.” There is no one in the Mariners clubhouse with an edge. Bill Bavasi said as much on June 16, the day he was fired as general manager, saying not having Guillen around hurt the team.

Let’s see, Guillen got in the face of his KC teammates in late May and they’re still 10 games below .500. He left the Angels after 2004 and they did even better the following year. Man, the very idea that Jose Guillen is the missing link to the Mariners this year makes me chuckle. Please.

Fired John McLaren on Mariners Mess

The second of the managers to be whacked this week — Willie Randolph and John Gibbons being the others — spoke out today, one day after being fired. Not unlike Willie who was critical after his firing, McLaren took a small hammer to his former team. Via Mullet’s perm at FanHouse:

”There is tension, friction and a little jealousy. We (the staff) tried to deal with it, but they got to do it on their own.”

”The tension and jealousy has been there, and crystal clear,” he said. ”The only reason I mention that, not to deter any criticism from myself, but to make this team better.

”If they can get in that room and work some issues out, they’ll be better off. Sometimes we get caught up in own world.”

”I am not calling anybody out. I’m not bashing them. Its hard to come to the park when you lose for gosh’s sake. But we’ve had a divide, hitters vs. pitchers. On a good team, those things are overlooked. But (not when) you’re losing.”

Well, gotta say something to make yourself look good, right? Thing is, there’s jealousy and tension on good teams. Remember the fight between Youkilis and Manny in the dugout? I’m sure things aren’t much of a difference on the M’s compared to other teams. The only thing different about the Mariners is they’ve scored the fewest runs in the AL. I’m guessing that’s the main problem; winning obscures mostly everything.

Washburn: Mariners Deserve Boos

First it was Ichiro saying that the Mariners were playing so poorly that he’d be drinking beer and booing the team if he were at the games. Ichiro generally keeps comments to himself, so hearing that carried even more weight. Well, after getting swept by the Nationals — truly an amazing feat — Jarrod Washburn stepped up and admitted what we all know:

Mariners fans have had almost nothing to cheer about this season, and they’ve had plenty to boo. For the most part, the booing has been muted, but Sunday it could be heard in a volume approximating that of a 737 landing at SeaTac.

“When we’ve played like this,” pitcher Jarrod Washburn said, “we should be booed.”

With a .348 winning percentage, the Mariners are currently the worst team in baseball — by a wide margin. Even the worst teams have at least 28 wins and a .400 winning percentage. The Mariners are 24-45, 21 games under .500. I never imagined things could possibly get this bad for them. Last month I was doing a radio interview and was asked which manager would probably be first to go, the obvious choice being Willie Randolph. I didn’t take the bait, instead going with McLaren because the Mariners were underachieving by a ridiculous amount. This team is far too talented to be this pathetic. Maybe they do need a change at the top. And Washburn is right — the fans should be booing a team this bad.

Edgar Martinez Didn’t See Steroids Rampant in Mariners’ Clubhouse

It’s been quite some time since I’ve mentioned Edgar Martinez’s name in any context. I’ve always liked the man; he was a fantastic hitter, and really made you believe there was a science to it. Perhaps that’s why I take his word as being more credible than that of Shane Monahan, who if you remember, gave an interview a few months ago in which he said “he believed that steroids were rampant throughout the Mariners’ clubhouse and the game.” Monahan said all of his teammates used amphetamines, with the exception of Dan Wilson. Well maybe Edgar’s just trying to keep the boat from rocking even further, either way, he disagrees with what Monahan said.

“I was there for a long time, and I didn’t see what he saw. I don’t know why he made those comments.”

“There has been a lot of this going on around baseball. At times, you expect rumors and things like that. It’s been happening quite a bit. So you just take the information. But like I said, I was there for a long time and never saw any of that.”

It’s kind of easy to piece this all together. You take a few looks at cats like Jay Buhner and Bret Boone who displayed strange bursts of power and then were suddenly out of the game, and you can take a guess at what Monahan was talking about. Maybe Edgar’s just like Frank Thomas — a natural hitter who stayed away from that junk and really had no idea about what was going on. Or maybe he’s just trying to protect his name and his former teammates. I’d like to think the former is true, particularly because I think Edgar’s offensive prowess makes him a Hall of Famer.

Peter Angelos Wisely Holding Up Erik Bedard Trade

Jayson Stark has sources saying the reason the Erik Bedard to the Mariners deal for Adam Jones hasn’t gone down just yet is because the big boss — owner Peter Angelos — has yet to approve the deal. Now there’s a rumor floating around that Jones failed his physical with the Orioles and that’s why the trade hasn’t been completed. I’m going to pay that story no mind for the time being. Degenerative hip or not, I just can’t see how trading away Erik Bedard can fit in with the mission of the Orioles.

The Orioles have essentially struck gold by developing a lefty with dominant stuff who’s a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Rather than try and market the entire appeal of the team around this guy, they’re acting like they’re stuck in an inverse universe, eagerly and capriciously trying to get rid of the guy. What the heck for? Do they know something we don’t know? Are they trying to sell high? This is a team that’s flushed money on free agents like Albert Belle and David Segui recently. How can you tell me that signing Bedard to a long-term deal would not be within their best interest?

I’ve heard Arte Moreno mention on the radio in the past when defending Bill Stoneman that the Angels had a deal in place to acquire Miguel Tejada for Ervin Santana (and maybe someone else). When that deal got to Angelos’ desk for approval, it got the veto. (the fact that you’ve never seen Tejada where an Angels jersey probably tipped you off to that tidbit). Now I don’t know what’s going on here, but something tells me that Angelos is probably applying a little bit of common sense and wondering why his people are so eager to get rid of the best thing they have going for them — Erik Bedard. Trading him makes no sense; what they receive in return won’t be as good or valuable as what they have now.