Seattle Mariners Fans, It's Time to Take a Breath and Think

Sam WoodsCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2009

SEATTLE - MAY 2:  Fans eat popcorn while watching batting practice prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2007 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the White Sox 3-2.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Kind of like this couple.

Remember at the beginning of the season, when all of us were ready to suffer through another bad season so that we could contend in 2010 and beyond? It was a time when we were just happy to see a sense of direction and moves that made sense from the front office.

My question is, where has that gone?

Do you not realize that Captain Jack Zduriencik, Sergeant Don Wakamatsu, and Company are the real a few years.

Come 2011 and 2012, this roster will be full of Russell Branyan's, Franklin Gutierrez's, and David Aardsma's. If you think Wakamatsu has done well now, just wait until this team is teeming with talent.

We are on track to become a west coast version of the Boston Red Sox, an organization that gets it. They are an organization that has both a major league product to be proud of and minor league system to look forward to.

We have the stuff to become an organization that uses logic, statistics, and on-the-field observance to determine talent.

We can become an organization that can grow its own talent, but also have the money to retain top players and bring in top players in free agency.

It is the team a city is proud to root for.

The envy of the league.

A continuous winner.

Yet a majority of fans want to blow it all up in hopes of winning now now NOW!!!

The playoff drought in the Pacific Northwest has drawn on long enough that we aren't sure what to do when we have a good team.

Bad team after disappointing team after truly awful team has us thinking that a 46-42 club with little offense is unstoppable.

Suddenly, instead of trading the likes of Washburn, Bedard, and others, we think they're vital cogs in our ability to win now and in the future.

The reality? One is a 3-4 starter with jack of all trades stuff that lives off the fly ball. The other is a strikeout machine and good pitcher when healthy, but can never be counted on because of frequent injuries.

Both pitchers will leave after this year through free agency. How do I know?

Bedard will because he hates it here and wants to flee to the East Coast. Don't even bring up that bullsh*t report about how he likes the city of Seattle. In the words of USS Mariner, "That's nice, but there's still a 0.01% chance he stays here."

Washburn will leave because the Mariners should not, and will not, pay him what he wants or will receive on the open market. Simple as that.

Some desperate team will look at his, I admit, impressive (yet fluky) ERA and throw outrageous dollars his way. Think Carlos Silva, only more money because Washburn has a much better ERA than Silva did.

While these guys do have some value now, they have little-to-no value in the future.

In my mind, to maximize value for these two, trade Washburn for a legit bat that can hit behind Branyan in the order.

The reason for trading Washburn and not Bedard is due to free agency compensation. Both will likely be Type B, but only Erik Bedard will turn down arbitration. Washburn would absolutely go crazy accepting it and clean house with his misleading ERA. This would leave us with a crazily overpaid mid-rotation pitcher on our hands.

Now back to the plan: There are three main matches for Washburn—the Yankees, Twins, and Dodgers.

The Twins have always had a crush on Washburn, and Z could net a Jason Kubel.

The Yankees, once again, need pitching. They also have a logjam in the outfield, possibly sending a Hideki Matsui or Nick Swisher back. I would prefer Swisher, as he is younger and could help us in the future.

The Dodgers also are stuffed with outfielders. They are looking for a No. 5 starter "along the lines of Randy Wolf," according to Andre Ethier is probably the best bet to be on a plane to Seattle.

If Washburn goes to the Yankees or Dodgers, we have now added a bat to the 2009 lineup, as well as one for future Mariner teams.

Where's our friend Washburn? Off posting a 4.67 ERA while making $13 million a year.

The compensation we got from Bedard turns into a serviceable second basemen and spends 11 years with the club before retiring and becoming active in charity work in the Tri Cities (no, I am not from the tri cities).

As for the Mariners, they miss the division title by 3.5 games. Texas dropped out and the Angels caught fire in September to keep the M's at bay before losing in the first round of the playoffs...again.

In 2010, Swisher finds himself again and Michael Saunders has an impressive rookie campaign. The Mariners win the division and lose in the first round in five games.

In 2011, the Mariners reach the World Series but fall short to the Florida Marlins in 6 games.

In 2012, the Mariners falter a little bit and are out in the ALDS.

In 2013, the Mariners win the World Series.

So I may be a little off, but you get the point. The Mariners are not an elite team yet. Yes, they have a chance of winning the West, but it is a small chance. It is not the kind of chance you sell the farm for or hold on to deteriorating veterans for.

I know I'm a little all over the place in this article as I am not a writer and have no plans to become a scribe or journalist. But hear me out—this is only the beginning.

Zduriencik has a long history of drafting well and building teams. There is no reason with the cash he has here that he can't build a year in-year out contender.

This is only the beginning of what this franchise can do. Buy into that, and your reward will be, at long last, a World Series victory in Seattle.


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