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7/31: Open Game Thread

First Pitch: 7:05pm PDT


Figgins 3B Ichiro CF Cabrera SS Vidro DH Guerrero RF Guillen RF Anderson LF King Awesome 3B Kotchman 1B Ibanez Spasming Corpse Matthews CF Sexson 1B Izturis 2B Johjima C Mathis C Lopez 2B Willits DH Betancourt SS ---------- ----------

Lackey (12-6, 3.27)         Weaver (2-9, 5.96)

John McLaren:

McLaren said before the game that he was "absolutely" going to stick with Ibanez and Richie Sexson down the stretch, despite their significant slumps at the plate.

"When you're a professional and you're not having a great year and you're still going out there and giving it your all, and not hanging your head and battling, that means something to your teammates, and that's important to me," McLaren said.

Bill Bavasi:

Just got back up from Mariners GM Bill Bavasi's post-deadline talk with reporters and I can tell you that Adam Jones will likely be here this week. Bavasi indicated that having Jones ready to step up to the big club helped sway some of the decision-making that went on prior to the deadline.

"That's part of the decision-making process,'' Bavasi said. "We certainly considered that.''

Congratulations, John, you've been owned.

Ordinarily I'd be upset right about now, with the Mariners not having made any significant deadline moves despite a roster with several gaping flaws. It's not that they weren't trying - we know Dotel/Wlad was on the table, and we know that they were chasing Mark Loretta as a utility guy (a utility guy who, incidentally, is hitting better than our DH) - but in the end nothing got done, and the Major League roster looks the same now as it did a day ago.

Today, though, I'm not upset at all. In fact, I'm quite pleased, for two reasons:

(1) I'm relieved that Bavasi didn't do anything stupid. His track record of deals is less than stellar, and the limited market was demanding far too much for C- and B-grade additions. Trading a good prospect for a reliever we don't need would've been a mistake. Trading a good prospect for a bad starter would've been a mistake. About the only remotely possible idea I could've gotten behind was Sexson for Matt Morris, and there's no indication that ever came up. This was a tricky market just asking for Bavasi to throw value away for a marginal upgrade, and I wasn't sure if he'd show enough restraint. Thankfully, he did. There wasn't anything out there that we weren't going to regret in a few months, and Bavasi wisely backed off.

(2) The biggest upgrade this team could make happens to be internal, and it appears that it's going to happen before nightfall tomorrow. As soon as it goes down, going from Raul Ibanez to Adam Jones in left field will be arguably the most significant impact move made by any contender in baseball. The guaranteed defensive and probable offensive improvement will be substantial, and kudos to Bavasi for realizing that before swinging a deal for a veteran bat instead. Calling up Adam Jones is the best deadline move this team can make, and while it's going to happen a day or two late, it's no less a cause for celebration. Starting tomorrow or Friday, this will be the closest this team has come to putting its best players on the field all season long, and it's happening at the right time of year.