But as the trade deadline evaporated, all we got was a strange shuffle of names with negative baggage attached to them. Perhaps the Mariners' GM could not unload any of the stowaways who have been collecting paychecks for doing next-to-nothing this year and, knowing the fans are restless, he tried a homemade blockbuster trade.
"What the heck?", top management probably figured, "most of the fans will be focusing on Seafair, so why not give them a little show like the Hydros at Safeco to entertain them?"
So here is Jack Z's big trade deadline move for 2010: Justin Smoak goes to AAA Tacoma, Milton Bradley goes to the DL, and Sean White and Matt Tuiasosopo return to Seattle!
Yes, that's it folks. The big return for Cliff Lee is a guy who can’t hit in the majors yet, so he will be replaced by Matt Tuiasosopo, another guy who can’t hit in the majors. Sean White, who gets bombed almost every time out, will get one more shot at redemption. And Milton Bradley will get time off for another undefined injury.
I can see the headlines now: “In Jack Z We Rust”
While other clubs add to their already-powerful arsenals, the Mariners continue to slide ungracefully into the lower tier of MLB. I was hoping that the M's would bring up Matt Mangini from Tacoma, where he is playing third and hitting .300 with 12 homers.
Yes, he has 19 errors, but I’m tired of watching Tui boot balls. At least Mangini would be someone new with some pop in his bat. It must be the old belief-system thing again. Don Wakamatsu or Jack Z, or possibly both, must see something in White and Tuiasosopo that the rest of us are missing.
I was caught off guard when I heard that Justin Smoak will be heading down to Tacoma to make room. He looks terrible at the plate, but didn't both Jack Z and Wak say that he would be the everyday first baseman for the rest of the year? Even more disturbing is that the M's traded Cliff Lee early to get this guy, yet he has already proven he is not ready to hit at this level.
Imagine if the M's had held out until the trade deadline: they may have been able to pick up a bona fide Major League Player. Heck, they may have been able to package Lee with Jose Lopez, instead of Mark Lowe.
Looking at the Tacoma Rainiers roster today, I do not see much difference in talent with the big club anymore. However, the Rainiers are actually winning … hmm, maybe that is Jack Z's secret strategy: keep a shadow-team of Smoak, Sweeney, Ackley, and Pineda hidden in Tacoma until he can trade the Mariners' entire starting lineup to get Cliff Lee back.
I don’t know anymore. But I do know that if I drive to Tacoma tonight, I can watch a competitive team play baseball here in the Northwest.