Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Halladay, Lee deal could be done Wednesday; A's involved in trade - MLB - Baseball

Is it too much to hope for?  It sounds very much like the deal will be final today or tomorrow.  I am imagining the Mariners tough bullpen, matched with a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Brandon Morrow and possibly Luke French, Ian Smith, Silva, Vargas, Olson, or my favorite, Doug Fister.  I’d love to see a rotation like this:

1. Hernandez – needs no explanation

2. Cliff Lee – needs no explanation

3. Rowland-Smith – pitched very well upon his return from injury.

4. Brandon Morrow – hopefully with more time throwing his new pitches, he’ll improve on an average year last season.

5.  Doug Fister – I love Doug Fister’s stuff.  His height gives batters a totally different angle and release point than they see normally, and the guy seems to be a very composed player. 

That leaves lots of questions with Luke French and Ian Snell – both of whom may yet improve significantly under the M’s pitching and bullpen coaching -Carlos Silva, Jason Vargas, Chris Jakubauskas (who seems to pitch best in long relief, which is a great fit for this team at this time), Garrett Olson.  That’s pretty good depth, and if Fister isn’t quite ready any of these guys can step in and eat some innings. 

With a bullpen that was very strong last season, having a staff of starters that eat more innings, it will allow the manager to use the pen so heavily.  A great  strength:

Closer – David Aardsma'

Set-up – Mark Lowe

Middle Relief – White, Kelly, Corcoran

Long Relief – Jakubauskas

And if Jack Z can come up with another hitter or two, the team could very realistically contend for the division title.

Ichiro - RF

Figgins  3B

Lopez'  2B

Chavez LF

Gutierrez  CF

Jack Wilson  SS

Platoon DH

First Base

Rob Johnson C

The team sets up with very good pitching, excellent defense and range, and is improved on offense, though I think everyone hopes for another bat or two that can drive in Ichiro and Figgins consistently.  Some have suggested Ichiro in the three hole, but I have a bias against primarily singles hitters hitting third.  It might work, but I’d still rather see a powerful, speedy pair with great on-base percentages at the top of the order getting on base to set the table for the hitters in the middle of the order.  I’d love to see Bay here, even though the home field wouldn’t set up well for him.  He’d be excellent on the road, and can still hit doubles and the occasional homer at the Safe.  So, I’d pull the trigger if we can get Bay.  Nick Johnson would be a great guy at first, and if Branyan’s back is better (a big if) I wouldn’t mind seeing him back.    I suppose that it is possible Bill Hall might have a resurrection season this coming year, or that Tuiasosopo or Michael Saunders might hit their big league stride, but I would really love to see the addition of the kind of player that gets the guy ahead of him some pitches to hit, and can drive in runs with decent power.  Bay would be outstanding.  Even Troy Glaus would be intriguing despite offseason surgery. 

One thing seems certain, at least to me.  Jack Z is not done adding parts to a team he has built in an amazingly rapid and brilliant way.  Not wishing to overdo it with expectations, I do feel that this is now a team capable of 90-92 wins.  Add some power and consistency in the middle of the order and then Mariners could be a contender for a World Series appearance.  I’m not predicting that, but it feels like it is a greater possibility than for some time.

Halladay, Lee deal could be done Wednesday; A's involved in trade - MLB - Baseball

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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