Greeting from above 10,000 feet, gotta love in-flight Wif-Fi. I'm on my way to Atlanta, where I will be meeting up with some buddies to go watch my alma mater, Montana, take on Villanova in the FCS national championship game on Friday. So while I'm watching my buddy and fellow Havre native Marc Mariani (above) torch the Wildcats, I probably won't have any blog stuff on Friday.
Well, I should preface that by saying, there will be no blog stuff unless something breaks. Expect OF Ryan Langerhans to re-sign with the Mariners in the coming days.
Perhaps it's not a good idea to plan to take a day away from the Mariners. You never know what may happen. And it's probably a good thing to be plugged in while on this flight, because "at this point in time," I think we've all come to realize that the Mariners, led by GM Jack Zduriencik, can move and move quickly and move unexpectedly when it comes to transactions. You need to be ready because Jack Z waits for no man, or writer.
Think about how different you feel about the last two years worth of personnel moves in comparison the previous four years under Bill Bavasi.
It's so refreshing to see how Jack Z works. It started with a minor signing like Russell Branyan that paid dividends, an un-heralded swap - at the time - of Fabian Williams for David Aardsma, then it was the blockbuster three-team deal for Franklin Gutierrez at last year's winter meetings. Fast forward to the season where pick-ups like Ryan Langerhans and Jack Hannahan, and Bill Hall to some extent, proved useful. There was the trade to bring in Jack Wilson and Ian Snell. And now the Cliff Lee deal.
These moves are not only smart. But they've inspired Mariners fans. The guy might be the most popular executive in the Puget Sound. You hear it in conversations, you see it comments on the blogs and twitters and call ins on sports talk radio.
Mariners fans love Zduriencik and his approach to building the organization.
Here's a good example ... I had this Twitter conversation (I can't believe how much I'm started to getting addicted to it) with former TNT co-worker Jeff Nusser, who runs the very cool Coug Center blog - a must for WSU and Pac-1o followers.
Jeff (@NussCoug) --The #mariners seriously just added a top 5 pitcher without touching MLB roster or elite prospects. This stuff doesn't happen to us. Ever.
Me (@TNTMariners) - you're telling me Bill Bavasi couldn't have negotiated this?
@NussCoug - Um, yep -- I'm pretty sure that's what I'm saying
@TNTMariners - Billy B would have given up Saunders, Moore, Aumont, Morrow and FX McCrory's to get Lee
@NussCoug - The worst part is that Philly wouldn't have even had to ask -- that would have been the initial offer.And that seems to be the general consensus from Mariners fans. There is a faith and confidence in this front office to make the right decisions to make the team and organization better in the moment and over future seasons.
(Pause for screaming child behind me that my headphones can't even block out, we're only 20 minutes into this flight, it's going to be a long one).
Let's get to the links from yesterday's crazy day of baseball moves ...
Here's my lengthy story about the trade. If you notice at the bottom of the trade, there's a list of the TOP 10 starting pitching duos in baseball compiled by my boss and long-time baseball fanatic Paul Miller. He puts the duo of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee No. 1. Here's the top 3.
1. Mariners: Felix Hernandez (R), Cliff Lee (L)
It’s not really that close ... but probably only for a year
2. Cardinals: Chris Carpenter (R), Adam Wainwright (R)
These guys were the leaders until Jack Z stepped in
3. Giants: Tim Lincecum (R), Matt Cain (R)
A rough couple of days for all SF opponents
Columnist Dave Bolingwrites about Jack Zduriencik
and the job he's doing.
In slightly more than a year of running this team – he was introduced Oct. 24, 2008 – he has acted with a prudent aggressiveness, with both foresight and immediacy. And he’s generally stayed true to the unofficial mission statement he made on the day he was hired: “… when all is said and done, talent wins.”Elsewhere around the Mariners-sphere ...
Gregg Bell of the AP has this story on the trade.
Here's Kirby Arnold's story from the Everett Herald.
Seattle PI columnist and Mount Tahoma grad Art Thiel also writes about Jack Z selling Seattle as only he can.
The club has a long history of acquiring unworthy players. On the occasions when they do have quality talent, they are let go for more unworthy players.
Then there's the business of location: Seattle is so far away from America that Sarah Palin can see Mariners games from her window.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times and of the "It-doesn't-matter-bowl" bound Cal Bears writes aboutCliff Lee delivering a purpose pitch one Mr. Ken Griffey Jr.
Colin Paisley puts together a blog post for the Brock and Salk blog at 710 ESPN. It's filled with audio from Jack Zduriencik, pitching coach Rick Adair, David Aardsma, Rob Johnson M's reporter Shannon Drayer also has a blog post up with audio of Jack Z.
Don't understand WAR? Don't worry, in the coming weeks you will.
(Another pause for the crying baby in front of me, who's dad is now bouncing him up and down on the seat in front me. And now, the mother is ... wait for it ... nursing.)
Besides wondering aloud if Nova has a chance against the Griz, let's see what they are saying in Philly.
From the Philadelphia Daily News, here's Paul Hagen's trade story. Hagen also writes that fans should take some time in evaluating the deal. David Murphy writes that the Phils prospects like Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor weren't untouchable. Columnist Bill Conlin says GM Ruben Amaro is the master of the shell game. Fellow columnist Sam Donellon writes about the decision for Halladay being a family one.
The Good Phight blog is already looking at the prospects the Phils have left and inserting Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez into that mix.
Let's get to some other stuff ...
According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Pirates blog, the first base job is Jeff Clement's to lose.
UPDATES IN PROGRESS