When Jose Lopez had his option declined Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners maintained control of him for now - he's arbitration eligible - they clearly had hopes of trading him for something rather than merely non-tendering him in December and making him a free agent.
General manager Jack Zduriencik will get what he can, but many Mariners fans must be wondering who'd want Lopez.
Turns out, according to the Denver Post, the Colorado Rockies do. The plan would be for Lopez to platoon at first base with Todd Helton. If that makes sense to you, raise your hand - it makes none to me, but I don't write for the Post. If it's true, the Mariners might get a minor league player or two in return - and Zduriencik and his staff will have checked out the Rockies farm system.
Whether the rumor is legit or not, the truth is Lopez is a soon-to-be 27-year-old with power to left field that Safeco Field hurt. He has no patience at the plate, but can play first, second or third base. Put him in Coors Field, he could probably get back to 15-20 home runs and do so in fewer at-bats. He isn't what the Mariners were forced to make him in 2010: a heart of the order hitter.
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Neither is he a villain. Lopez accepted a position change and gamely tried - and failed - to be the cleanup hitter Seattle lacked. Trying, as much as anything, ruined his swing last year. It doesn't mean he can't or won't have a productive big-league career. Sadly, for all concerned, it won't be as a Mariner.
And now, some links!
- Michael Saunders has spent time in Arizona working with Alonzo Powell, his batting coach in Tacoma, then Seattle. What they're trying to do, and Saunders' plan to play winter ball again, get discussed in Kirby Arnold's story here. Arnold is in the Phoenix area, where he says it's 90 degrees and cloudless. We hope Kirby gets sunburned.
- In case the 2010 season wasn't enough to depress you, Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated.com gives his thoughts on all four teams in the American League West going forward. If you're a Seattle fan, it won't encourage you.
- Former Mariners manager Bob Melvin may lead the league in interviews this off-season and gets another today with the New York Mets. Melvin was considered for openings in Chicago, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, too.
- Catcher Miguel Olivo hit 14 home runs in 394 at-bats with Colorado last year, but as is his history, will apparently be moving on this winter. The ex-Mariner is 32 and has played for the White Sox, Mariners, Padres, Marlins, Royals and Rockies.
- Wondering why Texas declined its option on Vladimir Guerrero - then said it would love to have him return? Evan Grant puts the move in perspective.
- Another former Mariner, outfielder Scott Podsednik, is in an enviable spot today. After hitting .297, with 35 stolen bases last season, he has the option of accepting a $2 million deal for 2011 with the Dodgers or becoming a free agent.