Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mike Holmgren Won’t Be Rejoining Seahawks

If Mike Holmgren is using the Cleveland Browns to build urgency for the Seattle Seahawks and other teams who may have some interest in giving him the reins to their football operations, he is really spending a lot of time in that effort.  Meeting for the second time with Browns owner Randy Lerner, Holmgren is spending a lot of time talking about the GM role in Cleveland for a guy merely building a market and urgency for himself.  It will certainly cause ripples of unhappiness in the Seattle Seahawk fan base if the franchise doesn’t at least speak with Holmgren, so the next week or two should be pretty interesting.  The main issue in Seattle could be that Mike wants to coach and be GM, and wouldn’t feel very good about dumping Jim Mora after one season.  In Cleveland, there is a similar situation with Eric Mangini, but it is dissimilar as well  since Holmgren spent a year with Mora tapped as his successor before he resigned, and I think he’d be reticent to make a coaching change after one or two seasons  for a coach who inherited a 4 win team from Holmgren himself.  Cleveland has been bad for years and I doubt it would be too difficult for The Show to make whatever changes he felt necessary to turn the franchise around. 

I do hope the Hawks talk to him at the least. 

Update:  I guess they did talk yesterday and Holmgren declined to rejoin the team in the structure proposed by CEO Todd Liewicki.  I’m sure we’ll hear more about what was offered soon.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mariners make waves: Figgins in, Lee next?

Last year, with a formula of great defense and squeezing as many runs from an anemic lineup as possible, the Seattle Mariners improved the team’s win total by twenty-four.  Among the challenges faced by first year skipper Don Wakamatsu were the league’s worst on-base percentage and unreliable starting pitching after the Felix.  And imagine HOW unreliable the third through fifth starters might have been without the strong defense.  Already this off-season, we’ve seen Jack Z jettison underperforming, over-compensated players, freeing up room for him to make some serious moves to help the team take another step forward in 2010. 

The addition of Figgins gives the team a second leadoff hitter – one who walked over a hundred times last season – to bat behind Ichiro.  Some have hinted at Ichiro being moved to third with Figgins leading off, but I have my doubts as Ichiro doesn’t hit for extra bases as often as a typical hitter in the three hole.  Something tells me the Mariners are not done adding bats yet, either.

Now to the pitching:  With a rotation that already features King Felix and might end up with Cliff Lee as well, the Mariners remaining arms (Morrow, Silva, Rowland-Smith as well as the trade pickups at the end of the season, and even a possible return of either Bedard or Washburn), the rotation could be a real strength.  And it is a helluva lot easier to attract top pitching talent to the friendly confines of Safeco Field, combined with the outstanding defense the Mariners have been playing. 

Now the main question:  Will the M’s be good enough to challenge for the division?

Local News | Mariners make waves: Figgins in, Lee next | Seattle Times Newspaper

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL GameTracker - Seahawks at Houston

I was looking forward hopefully to the Seahawks game against the Texans today.  Wins on the road have been hard to come by the last two years, but I was hopeful that the progress we’ve seen over the past two games would continue.  Not so much.  The Texans peeled off a nice 64 yard pass for a touchdown to start, then after a Seattle three and out, they popped a nice little drive for a field goal.  Another Seattle three and out and the Texans drove easily for another score.  Seahawks three and out and Houston has the ball back with 0:48 to go in the first quarter.  The defense is in total disarray, and the offense looks like they’ve never played together before.  I can’t watch this, so I have ceded control of the remote to my eight year old, and now it is iCarly on the TV, and I am following the other NFL games online.  End of first quarter:  17-0 Texans.  Opening the second quarter the Texans are driving already, from their thirty-five to another touchdown in five plays.  24-0 Texans, with 12:58 to go in the 2nd.   Blecccchhhh!!!!  Oh, and Hasselback was nailed hard three times on the next aborted drive, fumbling twice for his third fumble.  Ryan punts and pins Houston on their own 3.  Texas ball.

Update 1:  Seahawks manage one TD drive.  Matt Schaub  has nearly 350 yards passing in the first half!  The O line just plain sucks.  Really sucks.  Hard to watch sucks.

Update 2:  Hasselbeck throws an out to the Texas cornerback and BOOM!  34-7.  Hawks drive to the Texans ten before giving the ball back on a fourth down play.  Houshmanzadeh didn’t even jump for the damn thing…then he gets an offensive pass interference.  It sucks how inconsistent the Hawks are.  Now Ray Willis gets his second false start, effectively killing a drive that reached the Houston ten with a first down.  Ray Willis jumps offside   for the third time,  Now at 4th and 16 they go for it.  Hasselbeck has no time and though he completes one to Forsett, it is nowhere close to a first.  I’m  off to eat sushi with the kids.  this is too painful to watch any more. 

NFL GameTracker -

Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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