Tag:Ichiro Suzuki
Posted on: June 12, 2008 2:50 am

New England vs. National League in All-Star Game

The fan voting in the all-star game is ridiculous, especially if you're a fan of a team in the American League. Because of the huge markets in Boston and New York for the game of baseball, a deserving all-star player on your team could find himself off the roster. Checking the latest update, if the all-star game started today, the American League would field a starting team consisting of Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki.

For those playing the home game, that's 5 Red Sox players, 2 Yankees, 1 Texas Ranger, and 1 Seattle Mariner. And we haven't even gotten to the pitching staff yet! (which coincidentally, the Red Sox's manager gets to choose this year) Heck, the American League Central isn't even represented in the starting lineup.

Some people might argue that everyone still has a month to vote and that the current results could change....What they don't realize is that Red Sox and Yankees ballplayers are 1-2 in just about every category. Does anybody realize that Mike Lowell is 2nd in the 3rd basemen voting despite having a batting average just above .260? Many of these players, such as Varitek, Pedroia, Ichiro, and Ortiz don't even deserve to start just based on numbers alone. Others at their position have been outperforming them, but will probably miss out on the game. It's not fair to the fans of teams that aren't based in the New England area. In addition, it's not fair to the players as well as many of them have all-star incentive bonuses in their contracts. Should the fans really decide who deserves a bonus or should the play of the actual player? I think it's the latter.

By supporting fan voting, MLB wants you to ignore the strong season that Milton Bradley is having as the DH of the Texas Rangers. They want you to ignore the fact that Joe Mauer is batting .327 or that Kurt Suzuki has thrown out an AL leading 40% of all baserunners. They want you to look the other way when Michael Young or Justin Moneau step up to the plate. MLB wants you to forget about Carlos Quentin and his 16 homers and 54 RBI. No one wants to hear about Jose Guillen tearing the cover off of balls in Kansas City, Nick Markakis leading an upstart Baltimore team or B.J. Upton's ridiculous first half in Tampa Bay. After all, in the grand scheme of things, Joe Crede's 14 home runs, Jack Cust's league leading 48 walks, and Ian Kinsler's 17 steals (0 CS by the way) never existed.....right?

MLB couldn't be more wrong and it's about time for some change.

As a solution, I've come up with two different ideas. Either....

(1) MLB should have the players and coaches vote (as they do for Gold Glove Awards) or....
(2) MLB should create an all-star panel that makes the selections.

MLB has been looking for a way to make the all-star game more attractive and this might just be it. Because as things stand now, I have absolutely no incentive to watch the game. Will a deserving player on your team get snubbed thanks to fan voting? If you're not a fan of the Red Sox or Yankees, my guess is that they will.
Posted on: March 20, 2008 3:56 am
Edited on: March 20, 2008 3:59 am

2008 Seattle Mariners Season Preview

Seattle Mariners

2007 Record:
88-74, 2nd Place in the AL West
Abedi's 2008 Projection: 86-76, 2nd Place in the AL West

Key Additions:
  • LHP Erik Bedard (traded from Baltimore)
  • RHP Carlos Silva (signed, 4 yrs/48 million)
  • RF Brad Wilkerson (signed 1 yr/3 million)
Key Departures:
Projected Lineup:
  1. CF Ichiro Suzuki
  2. DH Jose Vidro
  3. LF Raul Ibanez
  4. 3B Adrian Beltre
  5. 1B Richie Sexson
  6. RF Brad Wilkerson
  7. C Kenji Johjima
  8. 2B Jose Lopez
  9. SS Yuniesky Betancourt
After losing Jose Guillen to free agency and trading away top prospect Adam Jones to the Baltimore Orioles, the Mariners are going to need someone in their lineup to step up. The most obvious player to look to is first basemen Richie Sexson. Last season, Sexson was one of the Mariners worst hitters. Despite hitting 21 home runs for the team, Sexson only managed to bat .205/.295/.399 in just over 430 at bats. 2007 was Sexson's worst career year as a pro which suggests that he will either return to form or continue to decline. I'm sticking with the former. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the Mariners lineup is not going to produce for them. Lopez is a good defensive 2nd basemen, but offers nothing offensively. Both Wilkerson and Betancourt are liabilities on both offense and defense and it remains to be seen how long the team will stick with them. Despite having a gold glover in center, the outfield combination of Ibanez-Ichiro-Wilkerson gives the Mariners one of the worst outfield defenses in the American League. It may not be too long before we see Wladimir Balentien get the call-up to play right. Even though Balentien isn't any better than Wilkerson defensively, at least he provides something with the stick.
The Bench
The Mariners bench isn't that strong, but with Bloomquist and Morse both capable of playing all infield and outfield positions, it does give them a bit of versatility. If the team needs to, they could always call up Waldimir Balentien or Jeff Clement, but I'm kind of surprised the team hasn't added anyone that can help with the outfield defense. A player like Kenny Lofton would be the perfect fit in Seattle as he could be used as a late inning defensive replacement and could be a veteran bat off the bench. In addition his price tag would be very low.

The Starting Rotation
  1. LHP Erik Bedard
  2. RHP Felix Hernandez
  3. RHP Carlos Silva
  4. LHP Jarrod Washburn
  5. RHP Miguel Batista
The Mariners gave up quite abit to have Erik Bedard be their opening day starter in 2008, but the move gives them a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation with Bedard and Felix Hernandez. The team also spent 48 million to bring in Carlos Silva. While the Bedard deal is justifiable, the Silva deal never made too much sense. The team had other options that they could have turned to for the 5th starter role (Brandon Morrow, Cha Baek) and it seems as if the 15 million a season that the team spent on both Silva and Wilkerson could have been better spent by improving the bullpen or bringing in a right fielder. However, there is no doubt that Silva is an upgrade from Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez, so it wasn't too bad of a deal.

The Bullpen
Outside of J.J. Putz, the Mariners bullpen is full of questions. The loss of George Sherrill is going to hurt them. Both Morrow and Lowe could prove to be reliable as they have the better upside, but it still remains to be seen. O'Flaherty is likely to be the M's only lefty, yet the team could still choose to go with Arthur Rhodes over Chris Reitsma. It completely baffles me that manager John McLaren has chosen to go with the 33 year old Rule-5 pick, R.A. Dickey, at long relief instead of Cha Baek. The move likely means that Baek will be released by the team and become a free agent. It is especially surprising considering that Baek has a 0.82 era in 11 innings of work this spring.

Abedi's Take:

While the Mariners made headline this offseason acquiring Erik Bedard, I don't necessarily think it will add wins for 2008 and there are several reasons why. For one, as stated above, the Mariners offense has gotten worse. Jose Guillen was the Mariners 2nd best offensive performer a year ago and the team did not adequately replace him. In addition, most of the Mariners wins last season came from the team being 14-5 against the Oakland A's. Despite Oakland's decision to rebuild this season, a winning percentage of 74% against a team in the same division is unlikely to continue from year to year. Aside from that, the bullpen's decline might be the biggest impact on the team as will decide plenty of games. Quite frankly, I see the Mariners finishing 86-76, which will be 7 games back of the division leading Los Angeles Angels.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com