Look, I Get It, But You Just Can’t Call Jarred Kelenic Up To The Major Leagues Right Now

The simple answer is the most appropriate one: if Jarred Kelenic were to start this season with the Seattle Mariners – and not on that famed Taxi Squad down in Tacoma – the M’s would only have control over him through the 2025 season; whereas, if we hold off until a month into the 2021 season, the M’s would have control over him through 2027. That’s according to the terrific article by Larry Stone in today’s Seattle Times, and that’s all you really need to know.

Oh yeah, sure, there are other reasons. Some might call them excuses. Some might call them bullshit. Certainly, Kelenic doesn’t have a lot of minor league experience. Certainly, he’s not even 21 years old until tomorrow. Certainly, if he comes up here and struggles, the ramifications on his confidence can be brutal to be sent down and called back up multiple times. But, how is that any different than if he comes up to Seattle in May of 2021 and struggles?

It’s entirely financial. And, for as much as I’d love to get a look at him right this very season, I have to agree. This is the system Major League Baseball has set in place! There’s no salary cap. There’s no limit to how high baseball contracts can soar. There’s seemingly no end to albatross contracts that can cripple a franchise when the player starts to decline. Teams need to take every advantage they’ve left for themselves to try to win within this system. You could just as easily make the argument that bringing him up to the bigs now would be BETTER for his development, because he’d be going up against real Major League pitching in a season that’s largely meaningless (as opposed to pretend games against other young prospects in his own organization).

But, the bottom line is, if Kelenic is as game-changingly great as we all think he MIGHT be? Then we’re going to want to have that team control over him through the 2027 season. To keep the team’s salary down as much as possible for as long as possible (in hopes that we’re able to effectively build up this team around him with higher-priced studs), and/or to use as a negotiating tactic if-and-when we attempt to extend him on a long-term deal. Because if he IS as great as advertised, then we’re certainly going to want him around for the bulk/entirety of his professional career!

I think for that reason alone it’s worth waiting. Because, again, the Mariners in 2020 are going NOWHERE. The Mariners in 2021 are probably going nowhere as well.

But, in 2022? When he’s had five months to get acclimated to the big league game? Along with some of our other key prospects? Now we might be talking about something officially interesting. For my short-term interests, it’s not ideal. But long-term, it’s what has to be done.

More patience. Great. As if we haven’t been patient enough already!

Quinton Dunbar Is Probably Fucked, Right?

I never did follow up on this psychotic freak-out, because not long after initial reports of Dunbar’s alleged involvement in armed robbing a houseparty of items that may or may not have been stolen from Dunbar and his alleged accomplice (that guy from the Giants whose name I can’t remember because who cares?) – what’s otherwise known as an O.J. Simpson Special (not THAT O.J. Simpson Special, or THAT one either) – we happened upon reports that Dunbar’s attorney acquired written affidavits from people at that party, who were either witnesses alleging Dunbar had nothing to do with it, or were the alleged victims themselves recanting their original statements to authorities.

It all seemed shady as fuck – and I think a lot of reasonable people immediately had visions of bribes and accompanying lies, orchestrated by the perpetrators or their highly-paid attorneys in an attempt to free them up for the upcoming football season (and future prosperous paydays therein) – but as a Seahawks fan, what, am I NOT going to be cool with it? I get my guy back – a guy this defense DESPERATELY needs, as it continues to ignore the very glaring pass rush problem, which puts the onus even more on the secondary to pick up the slack – and no one REALLY got hurt, so what does it matter? BOYS WILL BE BOYS AND WHATNOT!

Now, word is coming out that – indeed – there probably were payouts orchestrated by Dunbar’s attorney, who has withdrawn from the case (along with the other attorney who hopped aboard in recent weeks to help bolster their defense), as prosecutors opted to not just let boys be boys or whatever and dismiss the case like we’d all hoped.

This is a bad sign, right? I’m thinking this is a bad sign.

The excuse is that Dunbar is really the victim here, and people are extorting him, but come on. Don’t shit a shitter! There are better ways to extort money from millionaires than making up a “fake robbery” and going to all this trouble. What’s that Occam’s Razor thing? The first cut is always the deepest? Something like that, you get what I’m talking about.

The good news is, Dunbar’s new attorneys appear to at least somewhat have their shit together. According to the Seattle Times article I read this morning – from the actual newspaper, as I’m not a savage! – they recently got another NFL player’s brother off on a murder charge, so that’s promising. This isn’t anywhere CLOSE to murder! So, Dunbar’s definitely going free, right?!

I was really, REALLY hoping all of this was behind us. I mean, we have enough to worry about; there might not be an NFL season at all this year! Now they’re throwing this wrench back into the mix; it’s more than I need right now, is all I’m saying. I see why reports are ramping back up about the Seahawks being interested in Jamal Adams. You have to figure they know more than we do right now, and what they know is that Dunbar might not be playing football this fall regardless of whether or not everyone else is.

So, fingers crossed, I guess? I would imagine – whatever comes to pass – Dunbar almost certainly won’t be offered a contract extension beyond the 2020 season. Seems like too big of a risk, compared to someone like Shaquill Griffin, who will also be looking for an extension (and who has been a fucking saint, by comparison, in his time in the NFL).

Kyle Lewis Has Dumps Like A Truck Truck Truck

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know about Kyle Lewis when the Mariners originally drafted him. This was back in 2016; have you taken a trip down Memory Lane when it comes to our first round draft picks? I didn’t think it was POSSIBLE for this team to select anyone who’s worth a damn!

Leading up to the Lewis selection, previous GM Jack Zduriencik made eight first round picks across six drafts. They ended up being:

  • Dustin Ackley (2009) – Bust
  • Nick Franklin (2009) – Bust
  • Steven Baron (2009) – Nobody
  • Taijuan Walker (2010) – Just Okay Starting Pitcher
  • Danny Hultzen (2011) – Injury Bust
  • Mike Zunino (2012) – Human Strikeout Machine
  • D.J. Peterson (2013) – Bust
  • Alex Jackson (2014) – Currently a fringe Major Leaguer with the Braves (also probably a Bust)

That was, not for nothing, coming on the heels of the Bill Bavasi regime, which saw us select the following five first rounders across four drafts:

  • Jeff Clement (2005) – Bust
  • Brandon Morrow (2006) – Rushed to the Majors, dicked around between being a starter and a bullpen arm, had great potential but ultimately never panned out in Seattle (also selected him over local kid and future 2-time Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum)
  • Phillippe Aumont (2007) – Bust
  • Matt Mangini (2007) – Who?
  • Josh Fields (2008) – Sigh

So, you know, after that run of drafting incompetence, why should I have had confidence that the Mariners would EVER be able to pull their heads out of their asses? Kyle Lewis could’ve been Alex Jackson 2.0 for all I knew!

Then, in his very first season in the minors, he blew out his knee. Even though he’d only played in 30 games as a rookie, he showed great promise, so OF COURSE he had to suffer a devastating injury that really set him back for most of the next two years! He slowly climbed the ladder in 2017 & 2018, but mostly struggled and couldn’t get past the AA level.

Then, last year, returning to AA, he started to make good on that earlier promise. He showed enough improvement that the Mariners called him up in September to take a look at him. He not only Didn’t Disappoint, he blew the roof off the fucking stadium!

He hit 6 homers and 5 doubles across 18 games, with 13 RBI, including a homer a day in his first three games as a Major Leaguer. He cooled off just a tad over the last week of the season – to lower that batting average closer to his usual level – but the damage was done. On a bad team looking to rebuild through its own homegrown prospects, Kyle Lewis had the inside track to earn a starting job in 2020 (so long as he, you know, didn’t shit the bed in Spring Training … or Summer Camp, as whatever it is this thing we’re doing here is being called).

Much like his torrid September last year, Kyle Lewis has gotten off to just as hot of a start this month, hitting three homers in two intrasquad games at Safeco Field over the last few days. Let me be far from the first person to note the extremely small sample size, and provide the usual warning of not taking these games too seriously (they don’t count in the standings, guys are still building up their throwing arms and yadda yadda yadda), but shit man, how can you NOT get excited for this kid?! These kinds of explosions are what All Stars are made of! It’s too early to start working on his Hall of Fame bust, but we could be looking at a cornerstone of the next Great Mariners Outfield! When you factor in our two seemingly Can’t Miss prospects in Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic (the top two rated guys in the Mariners’ farm system, and consensus Top 20 prospects across the entire Major Leagues), I mean, this is it! This is your outfield! By 2022, these three guys are going to be destroying everything in their paths! Just slot them in anywhere from 2-5 in the batting lineup and let’s fucking go!

My only concern – because I can’t help it, it’s a sickness with me – has to do with the Mariners ultimately figuring out their pitching issues. Kyle Lewis is great. Evan White – drafted in the first round in 2017 – is already locked in with the big ballclub and getting his first Major League action in 2020; he seems like he’ll be fine. But, these last three first round draft picks – all starting pitchers – on top of all the other draftees and trade acquisitions we’ve made to bolster our staff NEED to pan out! Because the last thing we need around here is another desperate General Manager with an itchy trade finger, looking to ship out one of our top-line outfielders to shore up a problem they’ve been bungling for years!

I know it’s hard to preach patience when you’re talking about the Mariners; when you’re talking about a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001; when you’re talking about a team that has never won an American League pennant. But, we just CAN’T screw this up! I don’t ask for a lot, but if we could just have this one elite set of outfielders intact, it would do a lot for my own personal morale. Thank you and goodnight.

The Big Ten Is Eliminating Non-Conference Games; Is The Pac-12 Soon To Follow?

On the heels of the Ivy League suspending all fall sports, the Big Ten has opted to eliminate all of their 2020 non-conference games. Presumably, this will lead to a shortened season (maybe just 8-10 games?) with drastically reduced travel and hopefully a safer experience for everyone involved (not to mention more flexibility built into that schedule, in case there are any necessary delays due to COVID flare-ups).

This is obviously significant for the Washington Huskies because our first game of the season was to be hosting Michigan. I, for one, am glad the Big Ten did this. The whole point of scheduling a Home-And-Home series with a major national school like Michigan is to get eyeballs on the TV screen and asses in the seats. Washington’s home slate this year was pretty meager – with all the best conference games (Oregon, Utah, USC, Wazzu) all taking place on the road – so under normal circumstances, we REALLY could’ve used a massive sellout in the opener against the Wolverines. But, with COVID, there wasn’t going to be anyone in the stands for that game anyway (in all likelihood, there won’t be anyone in the stands for ANY of the games this year), so it would’ve been a total waste (on top of which, presumably when fans are allowed to resume going to games in 2021, only Michigan’s stadium will get the pleasure of a sellout against the Huskies in this 2-game series).

This way – I would hope – the Huskies can reschedule Michigan for 2022 or 2023 and take full advantage of the name recognition that comes with. Plus, by that time, I would hope things are more settled with the new coaching staff (and at the quarterback position), so not only will we see a financial boost, but the cache of playing Michigan (and BEATING Michigan) should drastically improve our standing in national rankings.

I would expect the Pac-12 will follow suit shortly. The longer this COVID thing drags out, the more people ignore the recommendations from the CDC, and the more spikes we see around the country, the worse it looks for professional and amateur sports in 2020. I had hoped by the time football season rolled around, we would’ve been in a better position to at least have games with a minimal number of people in the stands, but even that is looking like a bridge too far.

People are already starting to doubt there’s going to be any football whatsoever this fall. I can’t really blame you for feeling that way! It’s frankly pretty asinine how nonchalantly people are treating this thing. Even if you don’t believe COVID is a big deal – which, in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn’t – don’t you want things returning to some semblance of normal? Don’t you want to stop fighting the same fight about masks and social distancing? Don’t you want sports back, and your favorite businesses to stay IN business, and to keep your jobs? You might not give a shit about the elderly or the infirmed – and you’re well within your rights to be a bunch of irrational pricks – but in your own self-interests, don’t you want all of this to be over? So, why not play along? Why not condescend to all of us mask-wearing, social-distancing libtards out there for a while until we get a vaccine and are able to move the fuck on with our lives? Then, when it’s all over, I promise, you can crow to your heart’s delight about how right you were! When I get football back, you can cuss me out up, down, and sideways!

The Mariners Have A Schedule

The 2020 season officially starts on Friday, July 24th down in Houston. LET’S GO!!!

Fittingly, we kick things off with 20 games in 20 days. Then an off-day, then 10 more games, another off-day, followed by 16 more games. For those doing the math, that’s 46 games in the first 48 days, which means for NO REASON WHATSOEVER, the Mariners have four days off in the last two and a half weeks. Immediately following that initial 46-game blitzkrieg, we have an off-day, a 3-game series, an off-day, a 2-game series, ANOTHER off-day (smack dab in the middle of a homestand, no less), six more games, one more off-day, and a final 3-game set on the road to close out the season.

Why can’t baseball just be normal? Why can’t we have normal schedules, uniformly, across the entire league? There are six off-days built into this 60-game season; there’s a simple solution here. Play two weeks straight, then have an off-day once a week – the same day, every week – and finally wrap up the season with another two weeks’ worth of games. I mean, it’s not rocket science! Some dummy with a laptop just cracked the code!

An interesting wrinkle to how this season shakes out is the fact that we play every team in our division ten times. You might think – in an attempt to be fair, and maybe to cut down on travel – they would institute 5-game series for each of these. Instead, we’re stuck with the usual 3-game or 4-game sets, which leads to an imbalance. Here’s he breakdown among our A.L. West opponents:

  • Astros: 7 road games, 3 home games
  • Angels: 7 road games, 3 home games
  • Athletics: 3 road games, 7 home games
  • Rangers: 3 road games, 7 home games

I mean, forgetting for a moment that 5-game series make the most sense in this scenario, but why aren’t the two road trips to Houston and Anaheim – for instance – both 3-game sets (with the lone homestand a 4-gamer)? It boggles the mind!

To break up the monotony, we get to play 20 games against the N.L. West, under the usual routine of 2-game and 3-game series. Here’s the breakdown, for funsies:

  • Rockies: 3 home games
  • Dodgers: 2 road games, 2 home games
  • Padres: 3 road games, 3 home games
  • Giants: 2 road games, 2 home games
  • Diamondbacks: 3 road games

I don’t really have much to say about this part, other than it’s unfortunate we get saddled with the Dodgers for a fourth game, since they’re a terrific team. But, what can you do?

July is a road game-heavy eight days, obviously. August is split pretty evenly between the road and home. Which makes September not only our most restful month, but severely home game-heavy. This might be an ideal schedule for a great team looking to do great things in the playoffs, but for an inexperienced/bad team like the Mariners, it just seems to be needlessly cruel. We’ll get chewed apart over the first month of the season, and spend the last month languishing in last place, with lots of extra time to sit around and dwell on how we’re so terrible.

But, on the bright side, we’ve got baseball! Finally! I’m going to be counting down the days these next three weeks until an actual live sporting event I give a care about returns to my television screen! Things are looking up, even though *checks calendar* it’s after the 4th of July and we’re still wallowing in perpetually gloomy weather. WHAT GIVES?!

WE HAD A DEAL, SEATTLE! YOU SUCK THROUGH JUNE AND COME JULY 5TH YOU GIVE US WHAT WE NEED!

That’s it, I’m writing my congressman. This aggression will not stand.

Some Baseball Players Are Opting Out

I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t see it coming. Of course, I didn’t put too much thought into it; all the stories I read were about the back-and-forth between players and owners. The owners wanted to mitigate their “losses” as much as possible, first by attempting to drastically reduce salaries, then by actually drastically reducing the number of games played (whether there would have been or will be any real financial losses is up for debate, since owners refuse to open their books and let the public in on all of their various money-making deals we don’t get to be privy to). On the flipside, word from the players’ side hinged on variations of, “We’re baseball players and we want to play baseball!” Players argued for full pro-rated portions of their salaries, and made a case to play as many games as possible in the COVID-shortened timeframe we’ve been allotted (in an attempt to earn as much of their expected salaries as possible, more than their actual desire to play a shit-ton of doubleheaders, or otherwise extend the season well into November). Maybe I’m gullible, but I’d hoped once we finally got an agreement in place, we’d see not only a return of baseball, but a group of happy, grateful players (and owners, I guess, though they’re obviously far more behind the scenes) just glad to be back out in the world and playing the game they love.

Yeah, okay, I see how that sounds. But, before you lump me in with your most loathed Boomer sportswriters of old, I’m going somewhere with this.

Obviously, no one’s happy with a 60-game season. Fans aren’t, but we also have to take what we can get, because our feelings are never taken into consideration. The players sure as shit aren’t, as they’re barely getting over a third of their expected 2020 salaries. I would argue the owners aren’t happy about it either, but they can’t control when or how severe a pandemic will hit. Nevertheless, this is what we get, and we’re starting to see some really big names opting out of playing this season.

Apparently, if you can prove you have a pre-existing condition that would be an increased COVID-related risk, you’re allowed to opt out of playing and receive your full salary. That doesn’t appear to be the case in the names I’m seeing so far; most of the players opting out are exceedingly wealthy. These players are also allowed to opt out, but they don’t get paid, so obviously their wealth plays a large part in their decision. They’re not fringe players looking to make names for themselves; those players – even if they DO have pre-existing issues – can’t afford to sit out, even in an asterisk-season like 2020, because there are always younger, hungrier players coming down the pipeline behind them.

The Washington Nationals, at the time I’m writing this, have three players sitting out the 2020 season. As World Series champs from last year, it’s probably not as much of a disappointment to their fans, who are still likely basking in the glow of such magic; nevertheless, if I were a fan, I’d still be a little irritated (at least). I know how short these championship windows can be – in ANY sport – and if you don’t strike while the iron is hot, it can be another long, lean few decades of futility (as a Mariners fan, we don’t even have a World Series appearance and I know that feeling all too well!).

David Price recently said he wouldn’t be playing in 2020, and he was JUST traded (earlier this offseason) to another championship contender – the L.A. Dodgers – in a blockbuster deal that most hard-luck Dodgers fans had looked forward to as the move to potentially push their Always A Bridesmaid team over the top. He hasn’t been his old, Cy Young self in recent seasons, but Price is still quite an effective starting pitcher and would be of great help to that team. If I were a fan, I’d be totally despondent! Now, they’re so good, they could easily contend for a title without him, but that’s still not something you want to see when you’ve been SO CLOSE to a title these last few years (and arguably cheated out of one by the Astros and/or the Red Sox in 2017 & 2018).

Most recently, Felix Hernandez declared he’s going to sit out 2020. Of course, I love King Felix more than life itself, and so he can do no wrong in my eyes (he was also on a minor league deal and contending for a fifth starter job with the Braves, so he was no lock to make the team anyway, and indeed might have been given a head’s up that it wasn’t looking as good for him now as it was back in March, for whatever reason); still, selfishly, I’ll miss getting to watch his comeback attempt from afar.

So far, no Mariners have opted out yet. But, as I alluded to above, most of the guys in this organization are either not-yet-established prospects, or veterans still clinging to relevance (and potentially looking for substantial paydays from new teams in the very near future), so I don’t know if it makes sense for anyone on this team to sit out. Besides that, the M’s aren’t very good this year, so sitting out wouldn’t make any difference to a team that’s going to end up with a bad overall record regardless.

BUT, if I were a fan of a legitimate contender – or even a team just looking to sneak into a Wild Card pot – I’d be somewhere on the spectrum from Disappointed to Super Pissed, and probably waffling back and forth between those two emotions day by day. Asterisk-Season or not, 2020 presents a unique and fun opportunity for an Out-Of-Nowhere team to jump up and shock the world, earning a championship they might not have otherwise gotten in a full 162-game regular season! I think that’s exciting! It’s a fun way to shake up what’s normally a demoralizing slog, where most middle-of-the-road teams fall by the wayside anywhere from late April to late September (the longer you remain in contention, the more depressed you feel when the rug is ultimately pulled out from under you).

In the grand scheme of things, I don’t really care that much, for all the reasons I said above (especially about how the Mariners are going to be bad regardless, and they’re the only team I actually give a shit about). As a human being, you have every right to take your own safety and the health of your family into consideration. I’m not going to begrudge or belittle anyone for protecting their loved ones (I mean, let’s face it, I know teams are putting in precautions, but they can’t 100% guarantee the virus won’t infiltrate the clubhouse). I just want to watch baseball for a while, read about our upcoming prospects, and boo the Houston Astros. So, players can keep declaring they’re going to opt out all they want.

Maybe, if enough of the biggest stars go away, I can try to talk myself into the Mariners making a splash this season! It’s unrealistic, but nuttier things have happened.

The Top Ten Biggest Seattle Sports Disappointments

It’s a cloudy-ass day in July and we haven’t had any sports that I give a shit about in over three months, so why not kick off the month with a big ball of negativity?!

Once again, in the absence of any decent sports news, I take inspiration from the Brock & Salk podcast, where one of the listeners asked the question of who is on your Seattle sports Mount Rushmore for biggest disappointments? I’m clearly unable to limit my disgust to just four individuals, so you get a Top Ten from me (with an extra Honorable Mention – FREE OF CHARGE – because these disappointments are like my babies, I can’t leave any of them out!).

Being a Sports Disappointment is obviously a nebulous concept with lots of different definitions, so here’s mine (for the sake of today’s argument): these are people who we expected to be great when they came here, and ultimately totally sucked. How they got here is irrelevant, so I’m not factoring in (as heavily) if it was a lopsided trade, a high draft pick, or an inflated contract (with the basis that all of these players were terrible for their respective Seattle sports teams, one would assume a poor trade, draft slot, or contract is a given anyway). Similarly, this can’t be based on someone else that our team passed on in the draft, because there would be inherent disappointment already built into that selection.

Malik McDowell, for instance, doesn’t qualify for this list. He’s certainly one of the most damaging draft picks of the last decade for the Seahawks, but as a second rounder, I don’t think expectations were astronomical that he’d be anything truly amazing. Likewise, trading away Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice doesn’t qualify, because I would like to think most people noted that right away to be a terrible deal, and as such I can’t imagine there were great expectations for ol’ #0.

Without further ado, let’s get to our Honorable Mention: Jesus Montero. The Mariners traded for the former #1 overall baseball prospect early in 2012 from the Yankees. Given Michael Pineda’s career since he left Seattle, this is one of those infamous Lose/Lose deals. Nevertheless, the next ten guys I talk about must’ve been REALLY bad, because Montero was as mediocre as it gets. The main reason why he’s on the outside looking in is because by the time he came to Seattle, there was already a building consensus that he wasn’t long for the catcher position. He just didn’t have the build, the skills, nor the presence with the pitching staff for his defense to measure up. The hope was that maybe he could land at first base with some practice, but ultimately I think most saw him as a future DH. Regardless of that, there was NO QUESTION that his bat would be what provided the bulk of his value, and when you’re talking about those Mariners squads from 2008-2013, a hulking power bat from the right side of the plate was our white whale. Montero was SUPPOSED to be our cleanup hitter for the next decade; instead he hasn’t been in the Majors since 2015, and is more known for his ice cream sandwich fight than his “prowess” on the baseball diamond.

#10 – Danny Hultzen (Mariners)

This is the only real draft bust on the list (not to say there aren’t some REALLY BAD draft picks going forward, but at least those guys played a little bit!). Hultzen was a #2 overall draft pick, considered to be the safest starting pitcher prospect of the 2011 draft, and appeared to be on the fast track to make it to the Major Leagues within 2-3 years. Even if there was a question of his stuff – and his high-ceiling/ace potential – if his arm injuries didn’t totally derail him, we WOULD HAVE seen him pitch for the Mariners relatively early in his career. We’ll never know how disappointing that might’ve been, but I remember being really high on this guy when we got him, and it’s one of the great What If’s in recent Mariners history.

#9 – Justin Smoak (Mariners)

He’s sort of in that Jesus Montero realm, in that he was formerly a very highly-rated prospect, with the bloom starting to come off the rose by the time the M’s were able to acquire him. Oddly enough, when we made the deal in 2010, it’s reported that the Mariners turned down a proposed offer from the Yankees which would’ve included Montero! What did we do to get so lucky as to end up with BOTH when all was said and done?! Again, we’re talking about the Dead Ball Mariners of 2008-2013 or so; Smoak was really the first bite at the apple of trying to turn around our moribund offense. Switch-hitter with power, elite first base defense, good eye at the plate, and a proven minor league track record to hit for average, get on base at a high clip, and impress with his power to all fields. That ended up translating to the Bigs as Warning Track Power, someone who couldn’t really hit from the right side at all, a very LOW batting average, and someone who would consistently roll over on pitches instead of hitting to all fields as advertised. While his defense played, and he had an okay eye for taking walks, he also struck out a ton and didn’t start figuring out how to play at this level until he left for Toronto, where he was an All Star in 2017 (with 22+ homers in the last three seasons, the high being 38 in that aforementioned All Star season).

#8 – Aaron Curry (Seahawks)

As a #4 overall draft pick in 2009, you can certainly point to any number of linebackers taken after him and lament Tim Ruskell’s poor decision-making. BUT! I said we’re not doing that here! So, instead let’s just look at the situation at the time: the Seahawks were coming off of a pretty abysmal 2008 season where the defense just had NOTHING going for it. The offense looked like it MIGHT be salvagable with our aging veterans, but the defense needed an injection of youth and explosiveness. Curry was famously the “safest” pick off the board, as someone who could come in, play right away, and play at a high level. Even then, though, his game started getting picked apart pretty quickly. We soon learned there wasn’t much of a pass-rushing threat to his game, which made him ostensibly a coverage linebacker. The Seahawks have long prided themselves on quality linebacker play, so that checks out. Except, as it turned out, Curry couldn’t even do THAT well! He did, in fact, nothing well, and two years later we traded him to the Raiders in the middle of the 2011 season for draft picks (one of which would turn out to be J.R. Sweezy, which wasn’t too shabby of a return, all things considered).

#7 – Dustin Ackley (Mariners)

Speaking of #2 overall draft picks, welcome to the first pick of the Jack Zduriencik Era in 2009! I wrote pretty extensively on the topic of Dustin Ackley over the years, to the point where the rest of my list today SERIOUSLY conflicts with that post I just linked to. But, I would argue the parameters of the argument today are a little different. I’m trying to eliminate all outside factors and just focus on the players themselves. Yes, Ackley was VERY disappointing! He was supposed to be a guy who hit for a very high average, with enough pop/speed/defense to make him a regular All Star for his Major League career. Instead, he was middling at best and hasn’t cracked a Major League roster since 2016. I would also put part of the blame on the Mariners’ front office, as they continuously dicked around with him. He was a primo first baseman in college, with some experience in the outfield. What did we do? We made him a second baseman, which almost certainly stunted his development. Then, when that failed, we tried to make him a centerfielder, even though he really didn’t have the range or ability to cover that much ground (especially in Safeco Field at the time). And yet, the bat never showed up in Seattle, so that’s ultimately why he’s such a disappointment.

#6 – Chone Figgins (Mariners)

You really, REALLY hate to see it! This was the first big free agent bust of the Jack Zduriencik Era: four years, $36 million in December of 2009. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for this signing! By this point, we’d long realized that Safeco Field – with its configuration, and with our Marine Layer in Seattle – would be death to home run hitters. Guys like Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson, among others, tried and ultimately failed to replicate their prior glories in Seattle. But, Figgins was the opposite of that! He was an undersized Jack-Of-All-Trades type of Swiss Army Knife you could plug in at nearly EVERY position on the field, with zero power hype to speak of whatsoever! And, most importantly, he’d hit for the Angels in a big way (.291 average & .363 on-base percentage in Anaheim across 8 seasons before signing with the Mariners). Slot him in at third base (his preferred position) and at the top of your batting lineup, and watch him hit .300 and steal 40+ bases! He somehow reached that stolen base plateau in his first year here, but his average dropped about 40 points overnight. He couldn’t get along with the Mariners’ management (and, presumably, some of the players) and was deemed the very worst signing of Jack Zduriencik’s career. Smarter baseball people than myself probably saw all this coming, but I’ll admit it was a rude awakening for me.

#5 – Percy Harvin (Seahawks)

If this were a list of my own personal Most Loathed Seattle Sports Athletes, Harvin would probably rank higher. I have no problem invoking his name among the greatest all-time Seahawks blunders because he is SO unlikable (the peak being him punching out Golden Tate before our Super Bowl victory in the 2013 season). Why he doesn’t rank higher here is the fact that we DID win that Super Bowl (mostly in spite of him), on top of the fact that I think most of us realized – when the deal was made – that it was too high a price to pay for ANYONE, even with his ability (at the time). Still, he had proven in his career with the Vikings to be a lethal gadget player on offense, and one of the best return men in the Special Teams department. While we could see the cost in draft picks and contract compensation was stratospheric, it was hard not to dream big about what this offense could be with Harvin in the fold. Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, AND Percy Harvin?! Come on! And, then he immediately got injured upon arrival, and didn’t really end up making any impact whatsoever until we reached the Super Bowl. The highlight of his Seahawks career was the kickoff return for a touchdown against the Broncos. Some thought he deserved consideration for the Super Bowl MVP, but we were already up 22-0 at the time, so I mean. The bottom line is, Harvin dogged it in 2014 – taking himself out of games, refusing to play through anything more than a hangnail – and was traded in the middle of the season for whatever we could get. So much wasted money and potential.

#4 – Erik Bedard (Mariners)

Everyone points to the lopsided deal – that sent the Orioles a ton of quality baseball players – but the true crime is just how bad Bedard became as soon as he got here! He was a bona fide Ace-type pitcher for Baltimore – so much so that he was deemed to be the #1 over Felix Hernandez in his first year here – and the expectation was that our rotation would lead us back to the playoffs with Bedard in the fold. Instead, he was a consummate Five-And-Dive artist who both stunk AND couldn’t stay healthy. Why he’s not higher on this list is because all of those Mariners teams were VERY terrible and would have been regardless, with our without Bedard. Still a bitter pill to swallow.

#3 – Rick Mirer (Seahawks)

The bigger disappointment here is the fact that the Seahawks had the #2 pick at all, and not the #1 (which would’ve guaranteed us Drew Bledsoe). In that Dustin Ackley piece, I had Dan McGwire among the biggest draft pick disappointments in Seattle sports history, but that largely hinged on who we DIDN’T get in that draft – namely: Brett Favre – but I don’t think anyone REALLY expected greatness out of McGwire (except for the inept Seahawks ownership group at the time). Rick Mirer, on the other hand, was very highly regarded. Even if he wasn’t the ideal QB of that draft, he wasn’t supposed to be a bad fall-back option. But, he was worse than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. He nearly destroyed my standing as a Seahawks fan for the rest of the 1990’s! The saving grace for Mirer is the fact that we were able to flip him for a first round draft pick in 1997.

#2 – Jeff Cirillo (Mariners)

I just remember LOVING this deal so much! In December of 2001 – coming off of the Mariners’ 116-win campaign – we were looking at one of the most complete teams in the Major Leagues. One of our main weak spots was third base, where we employed the pedestrian David Bell. Cirillo, on the other hand, had a remarkable 10-year career to that point with the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies, where he hit over .300, had an on-base percentage over .450, hardly ever struck out, and played a quality third base! I mean, on a team with Ichiro, Boone, Olerud, Edgar, Cameron, Wilson, Guillen, McLemore, and the rest, Cirillo was only going to put us MORE over the top! That’s when we got our first big taste of what happens when guys come over from Colorado: the thin air they play in made hitting at home a breeze. Meanwhile, in Seattle, even for someone like Cirillo – who wasn’t a natural power hitter by any means – it seems like Safeco just got in everyone’s heads if nothing else. He hit for a miserable .234 across two partial seasons, and his on-base percentage plummeted to a ridiculous .295! To add insult to injury, those two seasons coincided with two of the most frustrating years to be a Mariners fan, where both teams won 93 games, yet failed to make the playoffs because baseball is dumb and only had one Wild Card team at the time. To add even more insult to even more injury, we traded him away in early 2004 and got essentially nothing back in return.

#1 – Vin Baker (Supersonics)

You don’t see a lot of Sonics on this list, because for the most part – until the bitter end – we were a pretty well-run organization. Sure, you can point to the litany of failed centers we drafted in the 2000’s, but I would argue most fans saw through those duds the minute their names were called. Similarly, everyone wondered why someone like Jim McIlvaine was given such a high-money contract, so to be “disappointed” would mean you’d have to have high expectations for someone who had hardly done anything in his career to that point! Vin Baker, on the other hand, was a multi-year All Star in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks. I almost didn’t want to include Baker on this list, because for some reason I have memories of more good times than actually existed. The truth of the matter is – upon trading for him when Shawn Kemp forced his way out in a 3-team deal, justifiably, because McIlvaine – the Sonics only enjoyed ONE quality year out of Baker. The first year here, the 1997/1998 season, when he maintained his All Star streak and led the Sonics to a semifinals appearance in George Karl’s last go-around in Seattle.

He then immediately fell off the cliff. The strike-shortened season saw Baker’s alcoholism creep in, resulting in a ballooning of his weight that drastically reduced his effectiveness on the court. For some reason, in spite of his fall-off, the Sonics rewarded him with a 7-year, $86 million deal. Yet, he was never the same, with three increasingly-mediocre seasons to follow before we were able to trade him to the Celtics for a bunch of role players. There’s a lot of unfair resentment towards Baker for tanking his career the way he did, but I think mostly people just feel sorry for him. No one in Seattle wanted to see Shawn Kemp leave; indeed Wally Walker & Co. did a remarkable job of destroying a championship-calibre squad. But, I can’t tell you how happy I was that we were able to get Baker here initially! His game – if maybe not his personality – fit this team PERFECTLY! He had a better post-up game than Kemp, could shoot from long range better than Kemp, and overall you didn’t have to worry about the ups & downs. Baker was a steady 20/10 type of guy when he got here, night-in and night-out. Which makes his post-1998 years SO disappointing! His wasn’t the type of game that should’ve deteriorated so quickly. Kemp’s game was more raw athleticism; Baker’s game was fundamental basketball prowess. Yet, when it’s all said and done, two of the great basketball tragedies to come out of that lockout season were Baker and Kemp, both succumbing to being out of shape and never ultimately recovering.

The Mariners Have Their 60-Man Roster

It’s cool to be talking about baseball again. This time next month, we’ll be knee-deep in our delusion that “anything can happen in a 60-game season” and that “crazier things have happened”, so without further ado, why not get things kickstarted? Get ahead of this early, before key guys start succumbing to random injuries and we have to be reminded that – oh yeah – these are still the Mariners.

With all of the focus on the M’s replenishing their farm system’s starting pitching corps through the draft in the last few years, it’s easy to forget that there are some young, semi-interesting arms at the Major League level right now! Word on the street is, the Mariners will be going with a 6-man rotation in the early going. And I find all of these guys pretty compelling, for what they are, even if I have my doubts that few of them will still be around on the next hypothetical great Mariners team.

Marco Gonzales returns as your de facto Ace. Look, I’m on the record with my opinion about Marco: he’s fine. He’s nobody’s ace, but he’s likable, he works hard, he’s the kind of quality leader this team DESPERATELY needs right now (given most of our best veterans of recent years are on other teams now), and he has a drive to continue striving for greatness. You could make the argument that the best is yet to come and part of me believes that, because with experience he’s going to continue to get smarter and learn new tricks of the trade to get guys out. But, his stuff is what it is. He’s got a low-90’s fastball with an improving change up. He’s more pitch-to-contact than he is a bat-misser; more Jamie Moyer than Randy Johnson, in other words. That has value! Don’t get me wrong, but it also comes with a ceiling that’s not very exciting. Steadiness isn’t exciting. Reliability and dependability aren’t sexy. But, they’re important. Even as they fly under the radar, these qualities bring warm comfort to fans who know what they’re getting out of someone like Marco Gonzales every 5-6 days. They might not win you any championships, but they’ll keep you in the discussion.

It’s going to be a big year for Yusei Kikuchi. He got his feet wet last year as a 28 year old rookie from Japan and had the growing pains you might’ve expected. With the proper adjustments in place, we’re going to see if he can make it work as a Major Leaguer. This will, by no means, make or break his career with the Mariners, but it would be a nice stepping stone towards his all-important 2021 season. That will REALLY determine if he’s going to be here long term (as, following that, the M’s will have the option to extend him to a team-friendly deal for the next four years). Ideally, he’ll get a jumpstart on that by really putting together a solid two months of play.

Next up, we’ve got a couple of reclamation projects in Taijuan Walker and Kendall Graveman. Walker is only 27 years old, but somehow feels like an aging veteran! He’s on a $2 million deal to see if he can rebuild his value after two EXTREMELY injury-plagued seasons. It sounds like he’s still got a mid-90’s fastball, which always plays; at this point it’s just a matter of staying healthy. Graveman, similarly, is on a cheap deal in 2020; he’s also coming off of two EXTREMELY injury-plagued seasons of his own. He’s more of an off-speed specialist than Walker, but he nevertheless has a lot going for him IF he can stay healthy. You’d probably expect the Mariners to run a 6-man starting rotation regardless, considering how weird this year has been so far, but employing both Walker and Graveman further necessitates this cautious approach. Even if it’s foolish to expect both of them to make it the entire two months, the hope is that they can at least make it a few weeks, to give the rest of the rotation some time to stretch out their arms.

Another reason to be thankful for the super-sized rotation is the uncertainty around two of our more mature young prospects: Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn. Sheffield was the cornerstone of the James Paxton deal with the Yankees and as soon as we got him it was like the value of a new car the minute you drive it off the lot. Such is the blessing and the curse of being a Yankees prospect: everyone overrates you … until the Yankees no longer want you, then you’re automatically damaged goods. On paper, Sheffield has the stuff that Aces are made of, but as someone who’s had issues with command as he’s raised through the minor leagues, people have started to question if he has that consistency you’re looking for. Considering he’s done everything you can ask of someone in the minors – on top of his 8 appearances in Seattle towards the end of last season – this was always going to be the first real look we had at Sheffield as a rotation piece. If anything, he might actually benefit from the season being shortened to two months, since there’s really very little pressure on his shoulders. The downside, of course, is that if he struggles, there’s less of an opportunity to turn around a slow start. Whereas, in a full season, if he’s bad in the first half (but turns it around in the second half), then at least you can make an argument there’s momentum as he heads into 2021. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope he kills it out of the gate; then he can start next year with his head held high.

As for Justin Dunn, he came over in the Cano/Diaz deal with the Mets. He often gets overshadowed by Jarred Kelenic (who looks to be a future superstar), but Dunn in his own right – if he pans out as a quality starter – could make that trade look even MORE lopsided in the Mariners’ favor than it already appears to be. We took it very cautious with him in his cup of coffee last year, employing him as one of those insufferable “openers” where he’d start the game, pitch an inning or two, and hand the ball off to the real starter of that particular game. That’s probably wise, since he has less minor league experience to speak of than Sheffield (particularly when you factor in he skipped the AAA level to get here). I’m going to be VERY curious to see what he does with a rotation slot this season, as his rapid ascent seems to have him on track as having an even higher ceiling than Sheffield! At this point, if one of these two guys pans out, that’s probably a huge victory for this organization. If both of them pitch well, then the sky just might be the limit.

As usual, I’m going to skip chatter about the bullpen, because I know not who these guys are (for the most part). Like last year, the bullpen figures to be the severe weak point of the Mariners, so don’t be shocked if you see more than your fair share of blown saves once again.

Let’s move on to the starting lineup. I’ll try to guess what that’s going to be, 1-9:

  1. Mallex Smith – CF
  2. Evan White – 1B
  3. Kyle Lewis – RF
  4. Kyle Seager – 3B
  5. Tom Murphy – C
  6. Dan Vogelbach – DH
  7. J.P. Crawford – SS
  8. Dee Gordon – 2B
  9. Jake Fraley/Braden Bishop – LF

I don’t have very strong convictions about this order, to be honest. Evan White feels like a 2-hole hitter. Kyle Lewis REALLY exploded in his September call-up last year. Seager and Murphy are your veteran middle-of-the-order guys for now. Vogey gets one more shot to lock down that DH spot and see if he has what it takes to hit consistently at the Major League level. The rest of these guys – Smith, Crawford, Gordon, Fraley, Bishop – I could see hitting anywhere in the bottom third or leadoff spot, depending on who’s hot and who’s pitching for the opposing team on any particular day. You also gotta figure Austin Nola will get plenty of play, both as our backup catcher, and as a utility player; he proved last year that his bat was too important to sit on a regular basis. Also, you figure Shed Long will see the field quite a bit as a Super Sub, all around the infield and corner outfield spots. With this year almost certainly being Gordon’s last in a Mariners uniform, if Long hits as we hope he does, he could take over the starting second baseman job come September (ideally, Gordon will start the year on fire and be traded by the end of August to a team who needs a quality leadoff hitter type).

The non-pitchers on the Mariners will be fun to watch, but they’re also going to be PAINFUL to endure. The combination of youth and lack of consistency will make for some exciting games where you’ll want to believe this team has what it takes, but then you’ll be smacked back down to Earth when you see this team get shut out on the regular. I would expect to see quite a bit of games where we’re being no-hit for an uncomfortable number of innings (and, I predict at least one time where we DO either get no-hit, or lord help us, have a perfect game put up on us).

I don’t have a lot to say about the prospects who figure to reside exclusively on the Taxi Squad, other than a pretty significant portion are there for development purposes only, and won’t play for the Mariners in 2020. As expected. Nevertheless, there are some in-betweeners who aren’t on the official 40-man roster, but who could see their numbers called if things shake out a certain way. So, I’ll talk about them as they come up. Rest assured, things never go according to plan in baseball. More than a few of the guys I’ve talked about above will fail to pan out for one reason or another. We just have to hope that SO MANY things don’t go wrong, to the point where we have to call up certain prospects a year or two before they’re ready (and before we’re ready to start counting their service time years).

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mitch Haniger, who will start the year on the 45-day Injured List. Of course, as soon as I buy the guy’s jersey, he immediately falls apart; but of course that’s monstrous for me to say, because we’re talking about the man’s livelihood here! He’s had a lot of freaky health problems over the last calendar year, with multiple surgeries to rectify whatever core issues he’s got going on. The hope is we’ll see him at some point in September. Unless, of course, he keeps trying to push himself too hard and suffers further injuries. I’d suggest for him to just take it easy and come back healthier in 2021, but at this point I don’t think he can afford to! His final two Arbitration years are 2021 & 2022; the Mariners need to know what they’ve got in this guy. Whether he’s our Right Fielder of the Future, or whether he’s trade bait to make him someone else’s injury risk. Because, not for nothing, but his replacements are coming. We have Kyle Lewis on the roster right now, with two VERY highly-rated prospects set to join the Mariners as early as next year (probably around mid-season). If Haniger is going to stave off his competition, he needs to put together at least a few weeks of competent play towards the end of this season, if nothing else to boost his confidence heading into an all-important 2021 campaign!

Baseball’s Back! Until It’s Not Again

So, here’s all the facts that I know right now. Spring Training re-starts on July 1st. The Mariners will train in Seattle at Safeco Field (with Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium and Everett’s … Funko Field (tf?) housing some of the minor league training that will go on.

The regular season will start on either Thursday, July 23rd, or Friday, July 24th. It will be 60 games long. Those games – for the Mariners – will consist of opponents in the A.L. West and N.L. West only (40 games against our A.L. rivals, 20 against the N.L.). And the regular season will conclude on Sunday, September 27th.

Fun fact: the 60-game schedule will be the fewest played by Major League Baseball since the 1878 season! That was also a 60-gamer, when the league consisted of a grand total of six teams. The Boston Red Caps (who would go on to be the Boston Braves, who would go on to be the Atlanta Braves) went 41-19 that year. The More You Know …

It’s already being reported that “more than one player” in the Mariners’ organization has tested positive for COVID-19, so that’s fun. I guess it’s better to get it out of the way early? Not that I’m advocating for COVID Parties or anything, but why not knock this out like the Chicken Pox and field a fully healthy team for the couple months we’ll be on the field?!

I’m, like, 50% kidding.

For Spring Training, the Mariners will have their 40-man roster, along with an additional 20 players from the minors. Then, in the regular season, we’ll see a 30-man Major League roster for the first two weeks, then a 28-man roster for the next two weeks, until finally settling on a 26-man roster for the duration. Because, OF FUCKING COURSE, MLB has to cheap out every step of the way. We couldn’t POSSIBLY have four extra players earning a Major League salary for a whopping SIXTY GAMES! Perish the thought! Somebody hand me my fancy hand fan and point me to the nearest fainting couch, for I’ve come down with a case of the vapors something fierce!

The most interesting part of the whole deal is this Taxi Squad I keep hearing about. Since there won’t be a minor league season, we won’t have the usual pool of replacement players to pull from when our Major League players come down with injuries or a nasty case of Ineffectiveness. So, of the 60 total players I mentioned above that are invited to Spring Training, whoever’s not on the active roster will be part of this Taxi Squad. For the Mariners, these players will be stationed in Tacoma – presumably working out on the regular, maybe playing some pick-up type games to stay sharp – and can be called up as you would in any other season.

That, of course, comes with the usual bullshit where if you call someone up, you have to put them on your 40-man roster (if they’re not on there already). Since the Mariners are planning on putting many of their highest-rated prospects on this Taxi Squad – to give them SOME development in this otherwise lost year – that means there’s potential to “start the clock” as it were on guys who might not have been called up to the bigs until 2021 at the earliest. Losing a year of team control for this slapped-together 60-game Asterisk Season feels like a crime against humanity, but it would also be so perfectly Mariners that I’m not even mad.

Of course, Jerry Dipoto is already slapping down the notion that guys like Jarred Kelenic or Julio Rodriguez will actually play for Seattle this year – which you have to say, because to do so would be to RUSH them to the Majors when they’re almost certainly not ready! – but what happens if half the team comes down with COVID-19? What happens if the Mariners truly stink (as we all expect them to do) and they get a wild hair up their asses about taking a look at the future of the organization?

Also, not for nothing, but would giving Kelenic, Rodriguez, and the like some experience in 2020 be the worst thing in the world? Why NOT jumpstart their careers in a season we’d just as soon forget? Especially when we’re looking at 2021 and a BRUTAL fight over a new CBA! I mean, if you thought all the public bickering back-and-forth to get to this 60-game season was bad, just wait until the future of Major League Baseball is on the line! If you thought the players and the owners dug their heels in too much for some bullshit, just you WAIT when billions upon billions of dollars are on the line! I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if the entire 2021 season gets canceled due to players holding out or owners locking them out (you can’t fire me, I quit!).

Other pointless restrictions to roster construction for 2020 include the fact that you can’t just move players on and off of the Taxi Squad. If someone gets injured on the T.S. (fitting initials alert) and you need to replace him, you have to outright or release them, which subjects them to being claimed by other organizations. Also, if someone from the active roster is sent down, they can’t be recalled again until the usual 10 days (or is it 14? who can keep track?) have passed.

Fun new wrinkles include: the DH being played in all ballparks. This has apparently been where the game is heading (it’s expected to be ratified in the next CBA, whenever that’s taken care of) and I am ALL FOR IT! It’s about damn time! I’ve talked about how dumb it is for pitchers to have to bat (because they suck at it and refuse to practice at it, so it’s a worthless automatic out just about every time through the lineup), and I’m glad the sane world agrees with me.

Another one is: in tie games after nine innings, teams will start with a runner on second base, in an effort to end these games quicker. They’ve tinkered with this in the minor leagues in recent seasons, and it makes sense here, with the shortened season and awkward roster construction going on. Nevertheless, I’m a little concerned about this being a long-term change going forward. I don’t know HOW I know this, but I know that this rule change will screw over the Mariners somehow, some way, when it matters most. And when it does, BOY HOWDY will I bitch about it nonstop!

Okay, that’s all I got for now. I’m looking forward to writing about baseball for a while! But I’m also kind of dreading how this will make my life worse in unforeseen ways. Such is life, I suppose.

I Don’t See Why The Seahawks Should Break The Bank For Jamal Adams

This is what happens when there’s no baseball: I feel compelled to write about every nonsense rumor that pops up on the Internet. Get your shit together, MLB!

Jamal Adams is a really good Safety for the New York Jets. I mean, I guess. I’ll take your word for it. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him play, I don’t know if he’s a free safety or a strong safety (I’m, like, 85% positive he IS a safety, though), and even though I just looked at an article about him (with pictures) I don’t even think I could tell you the number he wears!

I would venture to say – based on what everyone is saying about him, and the fact that he’s holding out for more money/demanding a trade to get that money – that he’s one of the best safeties in football. So, yeah, in that sense, WHY NOT?! I’m a Seahawks fan, why wouldn’t I want all the best players to be on my team?

Well, because in the NFL, you don’t have unlimited resources. You’ve got to find a way to fit this new contract in your salary cap without it costing you some of your other best players, and you’ve got to trade a king’s ransom of draft picks just to get him here! The Seahawks have been willing to do that a number of times over the years and even the best-case scenario (being Duane Brown) still set us back pretty severely in how much we had to give up to get him here. At least with Brown, it filled a very specific and dire need; with Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham, they were luxuries this team didn’t need and didn’t even know how to use properly (or could manage to keep healthy). I would argue Adams falls more in the latter camp.

The Seahawks’ secondary is fine. It’s not the Legion of Boom, but it’s good enough. It’s not a liability. Everyone is super down on Bradley McDougald for some reason, as if he’s been a huge liability and not the best, most-consistent player in our secondary since Earl Thomas went down. Paired with Quandre Diggs, I think they give you about 90% of what the L.O.B. safeties gave us in their heyday, which is fine by me.

Also, not for nothing, but Marquise Blair was a second round draft pick last year. Everyone who knows anything about the NFL knows the best way to build your team is through the draft. And yet, everyone seems to forget that whenever one of these hotshots hits the free agency/trade market. Why are we taking Blair so high if we’re not grooming him to be our Safety Of The Future? At some point, you have to trust in your process and not go after every huge name that becomes available!

Duane Brown made sense because we really didn’t have any highly-rated prospects coming up the pipeline at left tackle. Jamal Adams doesn’t make sense, with how our roster is constructed at the moment. If he’d become available this time last year, I’d suggest you’re onto something. But, we have Quandre Diggs, who I like a lot, as well as two competent other safeties and three pretty solid cornerbacks. The secondary is set! Stop worrying about the secondary!

And stop trying to throw away all of our high future draft picks! We need those guys too! A lot more than we need to incrementally improve at safety.

Also, 33. Jamal Adams’ jersey number is 33. I had to look it up, but I couldn’t let this thing end without figuring that out. Also, I guess he’s primarily a strong safety, but can play both? Or really anywhere? I dunno, and I don’t much care. Just don’t join another team in the NFC West and I’ll be relatively happy.