Catalanotto 1B Ichiro CF Kinsler 2B Beltre 3B Young "SS" Ibanez "LF" Byrd CF Guillen RF Blalock DH Clement DH Botts LF Johjima C Murphy RF Morse 1B Saltalamacchia C Lopez 2B Metcalf 3B Ballgame SS ---------- ----------
Volquez (2-1, 4.40) Weaver (7-13, 6.30)
A lot of Mariner fans have had a problem with Chuck Armstrong for a few years now, but given his fairly limited role in roster management, I never had a reason to dislike him that much, nor had he ever said or done anything that rubbed me the wrong way. That is, until yesterday. Via Geoff Baker:
Armstrong said the disastrous trade that brought Horacio Ramirez from Atlanta for proven veteran setup reliever Rafael Soriano wasn't all Bavasi's fault. Armstrong said, without naming specific off-field incidents, that "a lot of things went on that compelled us to make that move" of Soriano for whatever the Mariners could get.
The implication is pretty clear - that the organization had non-baseball reasons for wanting to dump Raffy somewhere else, to go along with their performance and health concerns (both of which they misevaluated in spectacular fashion). That off-the-field issues kind of forced their hand into making a trade that, on paper, didn't make a lick of sense. This is how Armstrong has decided to explain to fans the rationale behind one of the worst transactions in franchise history.
Here's the problem: Raffy was never involved in any "off-the-field incidents". Not once. I know this to be true beyond a reasonable doubt. If Raffy was guilty, it was of two things - being quiet and shy instead of outwardly social, and having a group of predominantly Latin friends and supporters that made certain people in the organization uncomfortable. You know, the same kinds of friends and supporters that get mentioned on the scoreboard when they're there for Willie, or who're talked about in glowing terms on the broadcast when they're in Anaheim for Jeremy Reed. Somehow Willie's posse is just a bunch of good guys who don't pose any threat, while Raffy's gets stuck with the label of being an intimidating entourage.
I'm not going to jump to the conclusion that I know you're all thinking, but this isn't the first time this has happened to a Latin player on the team, and to use it as a justification for shipping one out of town in exchange for pennies on the dollar - especially so long after the fact - is unnecessary and offensive. Why say this now? Even if you're trying to cover Bavasi's ass at a time when you know a lot of people are upset, it's a total cheap shot taken at one of the last players in baseball who deserves such disrespect.
Yeah, he tended to keep to himself and roll with a group of friends that didn't get the Mariner stamp of approval, but all Raffy ever did in Seattle was go about his job with determination, success, and the utmost professionalism. The same cannot be said of our team president.